Prius Personal Log  #472

August 15, 2010  -  August 17, 2010

Last Updated: Tues. 9/21/2010

    page #471         page #473         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

8-17-2010

PHV - Back Commute.  This was the fun one, probably the most realistic of my driving so far since it included more than just going to work and back.  I'd take the suburb route, on roads I take in the depths of Winter when snow & ice traffic is horrible.  It's the slowest, but by far the most scenic & enjoyable.  That makes for a nice casual ride to unwind from a long day at work... or when you're about to face one.  I knew that would take the most advantage of EV.  My stops to document the journey with photos took me a little out of the way.  But that's fairly realistic when stopping for food or something on the drive anyway.  There I got a nice photo of the Consumption screen showing 18.5 miles with an average of 99.9 MPG, despite the obvious indication of the engine having been used twice.  For my return trip, I took the back way.  This adds about 10 miles to the drive but brings me by my mom's, the lake (we often walk the dog there), the grocery store, the bank, and several retail stores.  So, it ends up saving me both driving distance and time on the way home.  At 29 miles, that's when the average finally dipped below 99.9 MPG.  At 37 miles, I arrived at the exit to get off the 65 MPH highway and get on to the 55 MPH.  At that point, it said 83.8 MPG.  2 miles down the road is where I stopped to take photos (at the military ruins).  It was a gorgeous day, absolutely perfect for that.  When I finally arrived at home, the drive came to a total of 54.3 miles and displayed an overall efficiency of 73.0 MPG.  Gotta like that.  Maximum RPM was 3,636.  Maximum MPH was 65.  The temperature was an amazing 72 F degrees, so obviously I didn't use the A/C.

8-17-2010

PHV - Acceleration.  One of the most misunderstand (consequently, most greenwashed) aspects of the plug-in design is how much power it can deliver.  Since many of the antagonists have only had brief exposure (sometimes none) to Prius, it's very easy to make assumptions and even easier to simply claim something that isn't true.  So, as you could imagine, having a PHV model to play finally brings a large dose of reality.  Li-Ion batteries alone offer greater discharge opportunities.  The same is true for recharging as well.  That means even without a plug, you'll experience a performance improvement.  It's quite a surprise to see how effortlessly you can accelerate when EV is available without the engine starting.  My initial jump onto the highway repeated itself again today.  I'd get up to about 55 MPH climbing the uphill ramp then notice the engine join as I continued to accelerate.  Needing to get up to 70 MPH for the merge, it's pointless wasting electricity anyway.  You actually want to push the eco-meter into the PWR range.  Just like the others who have driven a PHV, you prefer to use the engine during times of high-demand.  That turned out to be the case for me too.  What I found most interesting though was the reality that performance isn't degraded at all after reverting to ECO mode after the EV sub-packs are discharged.  In fact, at that point it seemed just like my 2010 on the highway.  There wasn't even any indication of additional weight in back.

8-16-2010

PHV - Evening Cruise.  With the EV sub-packs fully replenished, I was looking for a longer distance destination.  My brother welcomed the opportunity to see the PHV model.  Perfect!  He lives out in the country.  That meant a cruise at 55 MPH in ECO mode half of the way there and the entire way back.  It was a bit chilly, only 63 F degrees heading out and 59 at times on the way back.  That was less than the ideal 70's experienced so far, which added to the curiosity.  25.2 miles was the drive there.  Top speed was briefly at 62 MPH.  The fastest RPM was 3,392.  The efficiency measured on my aftermarket gauge stated 127 MPG.  Sweet!  The return trip brought total distance to 50.5 miles.  Engine maximum was 3,405 RPM.  The average displayed on the eco-meter came to 78.5 MPG.  The EV to HV ratio was 23 to 77.  Overall distance traveled to that point: 162.1 miles.  Overall average from that: 82.7 MPG.  I'm obviously enjoying every minute behind the wheel... and then some!

8-16-2010

PHV - MPG Boost.  More than anything else, this is what I wanted to witness firsthand with the PHV... since that's what I've been promoting all along... especially when engaged in impassioned debates with the Volt enthusiasts.  Using EV itself obviously contributes heavily to efficiency overall.  The question was how much of a gain could be acquired from traveling at speeds above the engine-off threshold.  Hmm?  I had no idea the evidence of boosting then would be so blatant.  Driving at a constant 63 MPH on flat highway, the result was undeniable... and way higher than I had anticipated.  Seeing 315 MPG was quite a surprise.  Whoa!  The engine was turning at just 1088 RPM.  It was quite clear that the light load on the engine was caused by a strong electric contribution from the traction motor.  In other words, the purity of EV at speeds above 62 MPH isn't a big deal like some would lead you to believe.  Slow clearly isn't necessary for efficiency well above what the non-plug Prius delivers.

8-16-2010

PHV - Remote A/C.  I found this particularly amusing.  Seeing daytime temperatures only at 72 F degrees and the night low down to 59, it wasn't exactly the ideal time to test the remote A/C.  I wouldn't know the effectiveness.  But with the opportunity so limited, you try it anyway.  The PHV was plugged in.  That meant the request to start the A/C would be acknowledged by drawing electricity through the cord, rather than using the battery-pack.  I reached in my pocket, pulled out a FOB, then pressed the A/C button.  Nothing.  What the heck?  Being in the garage, I certainly should have noticed any activity.  Hmm?  Then suddenly my own Prius parked at the end of the driveway came to life.  Oops!  Wrong FOB!!  Since I have the solar/moonroof package, that Prius also has an A/C button.  Ugh.  Now I had to walk down there and open the door to shut off the system.  The air blowing out of the vents was already cool.  That was impressive, but not what I wanted to test.  Alright, try other FOB.  This time the correct Prius came to life and responded equally as quick.  I can't wait to try that in the Winter, when heat comes out instead (by running the A/C backward as a heat-pump).

8-16-2010

PHV - Dealer Visit.  I gave my salesperson a heads up that I was going to stop by with the PHV.  Upon arrival, those from the dealer quickly approached.  There was much curiosity.  Answering questions from them was great... except of course, the "how did you get this" ones... since the more I pointed out subtle design differences, the more they wanted to know how I could get such an opportunity to drive one before them.  I do feel quite privileged by the opportunity.  The feedback I get from showing others I casually encounter is priceless.  That's the real thing, not a "what if" scenario.  One person actually had to take a photo in disbelief, after me not saying a word and simply pointing out the factory plug connection.  You can see the profound reality sinking in.  Each of their eyes told the same story.  No more "someday in the future" anymore.  The question has changed to "when can you buy one".  That visit to the dealer certain was memorable.

8-16-2010

PHV - Design Intentions.  It didn't even take 100 miles of driving the PHV model for me to come to the conclusion that it was the intention of the new design all along.  I had always suspected that with the oddity of the EV-button and remarkably "convenient" eco-meter.  Claims of the 2010 being retrofit after release to support a plug fall flat after sitting behind the wheel.  The previous generation demonstrated the ability rather well, but not an actual goal to deliver it.  This one does... the effort to generate & retain heat... the ability to briefly fire up the engine for peak power... the simplicity of efficiency reporting... the easily concealed EV sub-packs... the powerful electric motor... and of course, the price.  All the pieces fit into place.  Though, much of the guess work is gone when there's already one recharging in your garage.  It's clear that Toyota has a well thought out system that the masses will purchase won't much consideration.  The intent makes sense.

8-16-2010

PHV - Slow Commute.  This morning was the commute to & from work on the 70 MPH highway.  This afternoon was suppose to be the commute on 55 MPH highway.  That turned out to be pointless.  10 minutes into the journey, driving up & down hills, accelerating from a dead stop, you name it... none of that caused the engine to start.  Seeing 99.9 MPG throughout the drive makes for a rather uneventful experience.  So, I decided to cut through a neighborhood and take the 70 MPH highway back home while I still had some EV left.  That got things interesting.  Brisk acceleration (specifically 3,746 RPM maximum) merging on fired up the engine.  I knew that was going to happen.  What I didn't know was what would happen when settling down to a cruise at 63 MPH, just above the EV threshold.  To my surprise, the display showed only electricity feeding the tires.  Huh?  Looking at the ScanGauge confirmed it.  The engine was only running at 1088 RPM.  So basically, all it was doing was just idling... at an amazing 315 MPG.  I had no idea spinning with so little load could be so efficient.  Sweet!  Overall, the 13.2 mile drive was 70% EV and 30% HV with 0.9 mile of EV remaining.  On the gauge, that came to 191 MPG for the drive overall.  Gotta love that.

8-16-2010

PHV - Fast Commute.  It was a beautiful Summer morning.  I couldn't believe I was about to embark on a historic voyage.  It was the usual time I leave for work, taking the usual route, but not the usual Prius.  This time, I was behind the wheel of a plug-in.  The PHV model has promised great potential.  In a few moments, I would witness it firsthand.  Yippee!  14 miles of EV capacity were available.  I was about to jump onto a 70 MPH highway (after a 3 block suburb drive) and travel at roughly that speed for about 9 miles.  2.5 miles into the drive, the display revealed 72.7 MPG.  Not bad for a fast acceleration & merge uphill.  By 4.0 miles, the Prius had a chance to glide down the hill... pushing efficiency above the maximum display value of 99.9 MPG.  Reaching the end of the 70 MPH portion of the commute, the engine shut off.  I managed to snap a photo of the ScanGauge reading 58 MPH with 0 RPM.  Sweet!  Just prior to reaching the parking lot at work, the final electron available from the EV sub-packs was consumed.  The system reverted back to HV mode.  I parked, snapped a few more photos, then took a closer look at the aftermarket gauge again.  It revealed 160 MPG so far.  Time to return back home.  At 25.3 miles of my 33.4 mile round-trip, MPG dropped below 99.9 for the first time.  I watched with much anticipation, wondering what that final value would be.  Upon pulling into my garage at home, it stated exact 80 MPG.  Looking at the gauge for a second opinion, it said 76 MPG.  Maximum travel speed was 72 MPH.  Maximum engine speed was 3,917 RPM.  Overall distance I've traveled so far 83.6 miles displaying and overall average of 79.3 MPG.  That's fantastic!

8-16-2010

PHV - Superiority.  Before getting too deep into my plug-in adventures, a comment needs to be made about the Volt enthusiasts.  Their reach doesn't extend much beyond just that daily blog; nonetheless, they've still been a royal pain in the backside.  Rather than just accepting Prius (or Leaf, for that matter) as a fellow plug-in vehicle, it's been nothing but a superiority yelling match.  If you post anything they don't like, even if it is related directly to Volt, you get a bunch of negative votes.  All many want is just a place for cheerleading, leaving the constructive part to just a few who post in the form of one-way information dumps.  Discussions simply aren't welcome.  They've set the stage.  Rather than risk the burning of a bridge later, they didn't allow any to be constructed in the first place.  Well, I did want a clear stance from them prior to rollout beginning.  They feel Volt is the only valid choice and a vehicle such as the PHV is like... as they so eloquently put it: "spitting into the wind".

8-15-2010

PHV - Battery.  My desire to explore the new technology I had just acquired was usurped by the reality of darkness quickly arriving.  Preparation with cameras and planning a drive-strategy to capture as much as possible, as quickly as possible, while learning as much as I could, delayed the close look I had yearned for.  Now, I had a chance.  The false floor in back is now a real one.  Rather than a storage area underneath and a spare-tire below that, it was all battery.  In fact, it was about 2 inches higher.  Laying the seats down to expose the entire hatch area brought a nice sight into view.  It basically works out to an overall flat surface, since the hinge of the seats is lower than the folded down part anyway.  Interestingly, there are 2 new vents I hadn't expected... at the base of the seats by both back doors.  There's a bottle of sealant and plug-in compressor in compartment shared by the 12-volt battery, should you have a small puncture type flat.  There's also a long, then storage area for items like an umbrella.  Anywho, it appears well thought out.  There's no hint of extra weight being supported in back either.  I like it.  The 3-wheel recumbent bike will fit inside just fine... along with all the other cargo I routinely take up north.  Fitting that bigger battery isn't a big deal.

8-15-2010

PHV - Exploration.  That opportunity earlier in the day was a rush out the door.  There was little time with the sun quickly disappearing and not even enough charge to make it to my destination using only electricity.  Oh well.  That's what this next trip was for.  It was late in the evening and the Energy Monitor showed there was 14.0 miles of EV available.  That was my time to explore.  What an amazing opportunity!  There was little traffic and the darkness would make photo taking easier.  My decision was to take a drive that included a long suburb climb up, a long stretch of flat suburb, a long suburb decent down, then a jump onto a 65 MPH highway.  That was good variety to give me the chance to quickly familiarize myself with the finer points of this enhanced hybrid system.  I hadn't reset the trip-meter.  So only 3 miles into the drive, the average consumption showed 78.5 MPG even though the engine hadn't started since leaving my garage.  Seeing that actually frustrated me.  I ended up resetting a few miles later.  That worked out well.  I got a great shot of the Consumption screen showing lots of 100 MPG segments with two dipping just below 50 MPG for the acceleration on the the highway.  It was my first chance to see the RPM still at 0 even though the Prius has exceeded 46 MPH.  Eventually, the EV sub-packs both became depleted.  To my delight, each following minute segment confirmed efficiency was pretty much identical to the 2010 at that point.  Statistics from the ScanGauge revealed the 33.8 mile trip averaged 84.6 MPG.  That really makes me wonder what the overall average will be in the few days when I have to return the PHV.

8-15-2010

PHV - First Drive.  My first drive with a PHV model Prius started with 3.7 miles of EV available.  That's all the time I had to recharge.  After all, how long could you wait?  They delivered it with both EV sub-packs drained and the sun was already starting to descend.  So, that's at least some electricity to play with.  Of course, my destination decision would put the plug-in to the test immediately.  The voyage to mom's required a climb out of the valley.  That starts with a 30 MPH section, a short gap before the stoplight, then gunning it up the 45 MPH hill.  It's pretty steep.  The 2010 loves showing off there with the PWR button, especially when a slowpoke turns right before you.  I often zip by them.  No need today.  I had the road to myself... and zipped right along.  Until that moment, the entire climb had been with electricity.  That dropping of the pedal fired up the engine.  It shut off as soon as I hit the summit.  Down the other side was fun.  MPG was amazing.  Then the EV ran out.  The system reverted back to hybrid mode.  MPG was still amazing.  In the end, the round-trip was 15.5 miles of suburb driving.  That usually results in MPG of low 50's.  With the plug boosting efficiency, I ended up seeing a value of 66.6 MPG.  That's great, though a bit disturbing if you are superstitious.

 

back to home page       go to top