Toyota Prius Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am a new Prius owner and have only racked up about 350 miles at this point. As I understand the technology, key to its great mileage is the fact that with initial acceleration and at low speeds, the Prius should run entirely off the battery. I am concerned that in my case, however, the ICE kicks in too quickly.

So far I am averaging only about 34 mpg. A critical factor could be my type of driving. My work commute is just a few miles - about 10 minutes each way, and most of my other driving involves similarly short routes. So certainly this type of driving may be a factor in not achieving optimal fuel economy. However, I've noticed that the engine kicks in almost immediately every time I accelerate. And I will be operating on the ICE or perhaps a combination ICE and battery just about any time I have my foot on the accelerator unless I make an effort to barely touch it and I accelerate very gradually up to at best 12 mph.

Anyone else have this experience? Is it likely there's a mechanical problem with the hybrid drive system?

I plan on contacting the dealer, but I thought I'd first check with the folks who really know what's going on. Thanks all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
you did say 350 lifetime miles on the odometer didn't you????????

you aint really gonna see the best mpg till you get above 7500 miles.....

the engine isn't yet broken in, the battery and ecu's have not yet "learned" you style of driving, and you haven't yet experiences the "many" ways to optimize mpg.


just drive the car, and enjoy and trust me, byt the 4th of july, you'll see closer to or better than combined mpg

sid
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
397 Posts
AndyH said:
I am a new Prius owner and have only racked up about 350 miles at this point. As I understand the technology, key to its great mileage is the fact that with initial acceleration and at low speeds, the Prius should run entirely off the battery. I am concerned that in my case, however, the ICE kicks in too quickly.

So far I am averaging only about 34 mpg. A critical factor could be my type of driving. My work commute is just a few miles - about 10 minutes each way, and most of my other driving involves similarly short routes. So certainly this type of driving may be a factor in not achieving optimal fuel economy. However, I've noticed that the engine kicks in almost immediately every time I accelerate. And I will be operating on the ICE or perhaps a combination ICE and battery just about any time I have my foot on the accelerator unless I make an effort to barely touch it and I accelerate very gradually up to at best 12 mph.

Anyone else have this experience? Is it likely there's a mechanical problem with the hybrid drive system?

I plan on contacting the dealer, but I thought I'd first check with the folks who really know what's going on. Thanks all.
AndyH,
What you are describing sounds perfectly normal to me. I would guess that your relatively short daily commute and quick trips are to blame for your MPG to date--not a mechanical defect. Ten minute drives aren't long enough for the Prius to perform at its most efficient. Keep driving! Soon you'll have longer trips to factor in and you'll see your lifetime average climb into the 45-50 MPG range.
Drive happy,
Moo :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,215 Posts
Andy:

Moo and Ses are right. Give it time. You should also keep in mind that when the AC is above the lowest setting, the ICE will stay on a lot more often. If you live in the South where it's already in the 80's and 90's, or in parts of Cali, where it's over 100 degrees already, you'll see more ICE activity, particularly in the middle of the day. Unless you drive with the AC off and the windows closed. (ugh!)

My first commute after filling up this past Sunday, I got 50.3 mpg! It's a 10-mile trip one way. And that's with about 5 minutes of freeway driving. My secret was to use stealth as much as the side streets (speed limits) and road conditions (other traffic in rush hour) will allow. I've only got about 350 miles on my car right now, so you and I are in the same situation.

My advice is to get the feel for stealth. Practice whenever you have someplace to go. If you really want a challenge, try to get the feel for entering "super stealth", where you use no power at all (no battery, no ice, yet you're gliding along at 35 or 40 mph). I can do the former pretty easily at 38 to 40 mph now. I've been been able to do the latter a couple of times, and because of that particular day's wind or road conditions, I was able to either maintain my speed or at worst...lose only one MPH every 30 to 60 seconds.

"Super Stealth", if you can acheive it, is great because it doesn't deplete your battery and cause your computer to run the ICE. It's "free" driving, in every sense of the word!

A special note: Always be careful of traffic and road conditions. Don't take undue chances with your life or the lives of your fellow commuters by driving decisively too slow.

Of course, since that amazing Monday morning commute, I've had a couple of "rush trips", so my mileage went down. Boy, I've gotta stop those. Stress-wise, they're harder on me than on my car! Right now, my MFD shows 46.7 and about 120-ish miles (on this tank of gas). Not too bad, particularly since my Tuesdays have over an hour's worth of freeway driving at 65-70 MPH (because of today's traffic conditions, I dared not go any slower than 65...it would have been unsafe).

So just give it time. You'll get the hang of it, and your car will come through for you; I'm sure of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
928 Posts
Hey Andy,
Congrats on obtaining such an intelligent car. An early owner, Bill Powell, came up with a great slogan: Prius - Just Drive It. The car's computers have the knowledge of some really smart engineers and physicists built in. The engine is not directly connected to the wheels, so it will start, stop, rev, and idle differently from what you're used to in 20th century cars. So drive for a month or so conciously ignoring the engine so you can untrain your expectations of engine noise.

The computers will choose a combination of engine and battery power that does the best job of avoiding emissions and conserving gasoline.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the low stress drive provided by your amazing new machine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,028 Posts
Sounds like you're driving fine, but the ICE spends very little time warmed up. You could confirm this by taking a longer route to see whether your mileage is greater on that trip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Hey AndyH,
I am new to a Prius, at about 900 miles now, I was the same way. I asked everyone what was wrong and everything, then Finally after 600 miles I started to see improvements. Like, the average just keeps climbing. Don't worry! As Efusco told me, "The mileage will get better" over and over. Just keep driving and don't worry.
Brian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
poor mileage -- why? Thank you

Thanks to all who responded to my question last night (4/4/04) regarding my concerns about low mileage. Essentially, the solid and reassuring advice I took away was: "Give it some time and in the meantime enjoy." This I will do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
130 Posts
In regards to driving in stealth as much as possible: I believe that when we force the car into electric only when it wants to use the engine, we are generally limiting our mileage by increasing the energy needed to propel the vehicle in the long run due to inherent losses in the conversion process. There are some exceptions to this but generally speaking, the most efficient way to propel the vehicle is with the Ice running at it's performance level. This means not demanding output so great that it requires help from the motor or so little that excess Ice output is used to charge the battery. Coast when you can and brake lightly. At around 5000 miles your posts will be to brag about how high your mileage has become. Lot's of tips here and elsewhere, but many are unfounded and some are negligible in their effect. Enjoy your car and try not to drive so slow that other drivers think the Prius is a slow car with poor accelleration. My last tank gave me 637 miles at 59.5 miles per gallon in mixed driving. My first tank gave me around 42 MPG. I expect to average between 55 and 60 when the weather is fair and less when it's not. Good Luck and when your mileage does dramatically improve come back to this thread and let the next people know how much better it gets.
Regards,
Ray
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
397 Posts
Ray Moore said:
In regards to driving in stealth as much as possible: I believe that when we force the car into electric only when it wants to use the engine, we are generally limiting our mileage by increasing the energy needed to propel the vehicle in the long run due to inherent losses in the conversion process. There are some exceptions to this but generally speaking, the most efficient way to propel the vehicle is with the Ice running at it's performance level...
I'm in agreement with Ray. I think stealth is cool, but I've tried driving my car for weeks doing everything possible to maximize stealth and, at other times, letting the ECU do all the thinking. IMO, the latter technique is much more relaxing and in the long run my mileage is the same no matter which method I use. However, I'm a fairly mileage-conscious driver who rarely exceeds 70mph. If you are one of our high-speed cruisers maybe warp stealth will help you attain greater MPG--I say maybe, but I doubt it.
Drive happy,
Moo :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
BIF said:
If you really want a challenge, try to get the feel for entering "super stealth", where you use no power at all (no battery, no ice, yet you're gliding along at 35 or 40 mph).
What you call "super stealth", the rest of the world calls "coasting". Although you can coast in D by pushing the accelerator just far enough to counter the regenerative drag, there's a simpler way: just shift to N! :)

Douglas (2002 Silver, Wisconsin)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,215 Posts
somebody else said:
....I think stealth is cool, but I've tried driving my car for weeks doing everything possible to maximize stealth and, at other times, letting the ECU do all the thinking. IMO, the latter technique is much more relaxing and in the long run my mileage is the same no matter which method I use....
Aaaah, you may be right...except at the end of a drive, when you know you're about to park the car overnight or for more than an hour or two. I figure when I next start the car, the ICE will be cold, and the computer will run it anyway to warm it up while also recharging the battery.

And stealth gives me a challenge...something fun to do. Besides, this car takes care of itself so well, I've gotta have something to do other than washing and waxing all the time! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
A/C must cut significantly into mileage results

Someone wrote an article online saying that just running around with your lights on requires enough HP to cut your mileage noticably.

If you use A/C a lot, as we do where we live, it must reduce your mileage as well.

I do wish already that Toyota had built in a smart natural cooling mode, where it picked up outside air with no A/C smoothly and automatically. Maybe I'm a clueless newbie, but the only easy mode I've been able to find seems to be A/C automatic. To do the other requires a lot of manual settings and lots of adjustments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Something I have noticed is that, with the same driving habits I had in the break-in period and now, 710 miles, the mpg's really just want to climb and keep at it. Don't worry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,215 Posts
I did some driving today to run errands, and I'm beginning to think that a "steady" combination of stealth and ICE-powered is the way to go. When I can get into stealth, I seem to be able to go a good half-mile or more at a time, and quite easily, too. It's not a struggle for either car or driver, nor does it take my attention off of traffic. I'm able to maintain it with only an occasional glance at the MFD.

So I'll take it as far as possible.

But when the computer wants to run the engine, I let it...for a quarter mile or so, or until I hit a red light and get an opportunity to regen. At red lights, or when slowing down for "rightie turnies" in front of me, I try to let regeneration work to the max. When the light turns green (or traffic clears), I go ahead and get back up to speed, but I go easy doing so (so that the "assist" isn't being used, but instead the battery is charging). When I get back up to speed, then if it will go into stealth again, I'll go for it. If not, I'll just let the ICE run some more.

The net effect is that I am driving at consistent speeds for longer periods of time. On side streets, I'm able to spend more than 50% of the time in stealth mode. My battery very rarely goes below 50% because of the aforementioned redlight and traffic slowdowns, which present opportunities for regen and subsequent ICE acelleration/recharging.

My driving now has a sort of a rhythm...and it's oddly calming. Very oddly so, because I'm a sportscar driver at heart. My motto is the same as Mazda's: Zoom, zoom! Anyhow, my technique seems to be working out okay for me. I'm at 48.1 mpg for this tank (just over 1/2 left)...and that's with a car not yet broken in, and a mixture of highway (60-65 mph) and side street driving (35-45 mph) with lots of stop-and-go on both.

So I dunno, maybe you're all right. Ignore the MFD. But I'm getting fair results so far. I want to keep trying for now. What the hell, what's it gonna hurt? Maybe my stress level will keep dropping and I'll acheive a more peaceful state of mind, body, and spirit. That would just be awful, wouldn't it? :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
623 Posts
AndyH said:
My work commute is just a few miles - about 10 minutes each way, and most of my other driving involves similarly short routes.
I have a similar situation: 10-minute commutes; the first 5 minutes the engine is warming up. But in addition, I took delivery in the middle of winter: 30 to 40 degrees below zero, hard for the engine to stay warm, and it runs all the time while the cabin heater is on. I was getting 29 mpg at first. Now the weather is nicer, and I've got 2500+ miles on the odo. Still short commutes. I'm at around 43 mpg for the current tank, but there was some colder weather at the early part of the tank. Maybe 44 or 45 now.

A few times, when the weather was nice and I had a slightly-longer drive (15 or 20 minutes) I've seen 75 mpg for a single 5-minute segment.

Some folks have special methods for getting better mileage. Others, including john1701a, who has extensive experience, and LOTS of numbers on his web site, say just drive it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
515 Posts
You'll be quite pleased later when you discover just how brainless efficient driving becomes. It's just like riding a bike or rollerblading (which both benefit tremendously from efficient control) after awhile. You don't even think about the mechanics of it. You just do it.

The amusing part about that is your thinking changes the same way, not just your foot control. A friend of mine, who sat across from me at work, transferred to a different building this week. Right away, he overheard his new coworkers discussing hybrids. The misconceptions were plentiful. That made him very frustrated! After having sat so close to me for 3 years, he had unknowingly become an expert in hybrids! He didn't know that though... until he started correcting their errors. They quickly realized how well informed he was. Now, whether he likes it or not, they'll be asking him for info & advice about hybrids. Hearing that certainly made me feel good. It's proof that subtle, constant exposure to hybrids really does make a difference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,215 Posts
john1701a said:
.....Hearing that certainly made me feel good. It's proof that subtle, constant exposure to hybrids really does make a difference.....
It should make you feel good, John. You've done a fantastic job. And I think your observation is right on the mark: Subtle and constant exposure to anything will make people less ignorant of the "anything" than if they never had exposure to it at all.

People are beginning to approach me at work, with questions, curiousity, and so forth. Knowing that I'm a former sports car driver, they want to know if I really like my car, and how am I getting along with it being slower.

My response, of course, is that 90% of my sportscar driving was "just cruising" anyway; something I can still do in my Prius. The big difference now is that I can throw a bike or some friends in the back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
:?
As a fairly new owner in the UK (April ) and with 2000 on the clock I can appreciate your concerns.
We are getting about 54 mpg on average, althought the best achieved was 58 mpg ???
I have been led to beleive that we can expect about 64 mpg - at the moment this sounds like the Holy Grail !

We tend to reset every time we fill up - is it better to leave it ??
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top