I rode in a friend's Prius and he showed me that the engine started up
before he hit 5 mph even under mild acceleration. I thought the
difference between the "full" hybrids like Prius and "mild" hybrids
like the Civic was the ability of the former to operate as a pure
electric over a modest range of conditions. It would seem that the
Prius' all electric performance is very modest indeed. Is this
I believe that the Prius could theoretically start up and mildly accelerate
with the battery powered electric motor alone (assuming it was charged) but
there would not be enough horsepower in the electric motor alone to satisfy
people (and it might not be safe to accelerate so slowly in high traffic
situations). If not accelerating, then the electric motor can sometimes do
The electric motor has plenty of juice to run the car. There are a LOT of
other factors here...was the heat on? Air Conditioning? lights? Also, the
US models are set up differently from the models used in the rest of the
world...they run on gas more often in North America. This can be changed
by hacking the ECU (and voiding the warranty...)
Also, was the car fully charged? If not, the engine turn on to run the
generator, while the electric motor provides the locomotion. The display
will show you what's happening...
I have and drive a Prius. It is just how it is set up. My Prius will
start up in electric when the battery is charged enough and accelerate up
to maybe 40 or so on electric alone - but it is painstakingly slow. One
cannot do this in traffic, thus the need to press down a bit harder and
engage the gas engine. I too would very much like for this car to rely on
the electric much more than it does now.
I've heard of Prius people adding another battery pack(in addition to the
stock one) and 120VAC charger to get better use on the electric side,and
reduce gas usage.Then you can plug it in at night or when you have access
to an outlet.
Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I am really just curious about
the state of the technology. Not really interested in purchasing any
current hybrid but I would consider it if the right one existed.
Electric performance is not an issue in this regard - like I said, I
am just curious.
More info on the experience I opened the thread with:
The OAT was about 30F/0C. The engine should have been up to temp at
this point. Lights were on and there were three people in the car. I
don't know the state of the battery but he generally drives like an
old man. Also, the car is a new model, about 2 years old with 7000(!)
miles on it. He mostly drives it to the train station and back. He
indicated that it almost never ran on electric alone and showed me
this by gently accelerating from an electric creep. As best I could
tell, the schematic showed power coming from the engine the moment his
foot hit the gas.
On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 18:34:51 -0600, Gordon McGrew wrote:
Hmmm...I drove a 'classic' for about a week (1999...hey, how'd he do that
when the 'first' year was 2000?) and got to where I could control the gas
engine with my left foot.
Sad thing was, I got better economy for my type of driving with my '95
Year number applied in the previous calendar year, maybe?
Quite possible. Driving style is so important. Too many folks
think a hybrid doesn't benefit from being driven properly. Not
true. It's like any other vehicle, that way.
Is the Tercel a small car? The Prius is not. USian Mid-sized,
almost. I see Toyota FWDs being advertised, with mpgs horribly
lower than the Prius, despite related hybrid tech. (Maybe good
for FWDs, though.) Body mass must count for a lot, although of
course FWDs have the extra transmission bits to power.
The first Prius was available in calendar year 1997 as a 1998 model
year (the NHW10 model). The 1998-2000 model year Prius was only
available in Japan. Beginning with the 2001 model year (available in
2000 calendar year), the Prius was redesigned and available for sale
internationally (the NHW11 model). The 2001-2003 model year Prius is
what is usually referred to as the "Classic" Prius.
A small handful of the original Japanese Prius were brought out of
Japan for some testing, to see what updates were needed for an
international release. Was this one that you had tried in 1999? It's
best identified as a compact sedan, no rear spoiler, the center
display is all in Japanese, and had dash buttons for the display
rather than a touch-screen. Oh, yeah, and it's RHD. (The NHW11 added
the rear spoiler, a touch-screen, and has a more powerful engine and a
more powerful (different design) battery pack, so better fuel economy
To my knowledge, there has always been just the brake pedal and the
accelerator pedal... So how were you controlling the gasoline engine
with your left foot?
On Fri, 16 Feb 2007 11:51:02 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
It was a dealer 'teaser', that was available for show before actual sale.
It was LHD, but this one was at the dealership months before they were
actually available for sale here. One side was white, due to an accident.
The other side was a huge billboard "PRIUS 60MPG Hiway Mileage Hybrid"
If you want a high performance, all-electric automobile (which seems
to where the thread was going) you might check out:
It is based on the tZero:
and uses many Lotus parts and basic chassis.
There are to Honda or Toyota bits in either that I know of so this is
an off-topic post.
Itinerant astronomy teacher
I am betting that the engine/exhaust system was not warmed up yet. It
needs to warm up to get the emissions stuff hot, then it goes into its
normal mode. This is another of the ways that it is set up by design.
There was a Web site a couple years ago where a guy who is an Electrical
Engineer hacked into the ECU via the ODBII connector, changed the mode,
and then wrote a program in order to control the ECU from the interior
Real Time with a Toshiba Libretto.
You can find more expertise at alt.autos.toyota.prius. They will also want
to know what year, since there are significant differences between the
Classic (2001-2003) and the second generation (2004+). Ours are both
Classics (2002), so I'll go from that perspective.
As the others indicate, there are a lot of variables. Cold weather makes it
much more prone to run the engine in order to produce heat, which passengers
seem to enjoy :-) The state of hybrid battery charge will affect it, too,
including the entirely counter-intuitive behavior of restarting the engine
periodically to bleed off extra charge if the state of charge is high.
Cold weather, particularly as the temperature drops below freezing, will
take the edge off fuel efficiency. I'm barely managing 30 mpg with mainly 3
mile trips in subfreezing weather right now, but when the weather warms up
it will go back into the mid-40s. OTOH, what other car would provide 30 mpg
under those conditions?
Mostly, the hybrid system knows what to do. There have been reports of
misbehavior - especially shuddering when the engine shuts down - that have
been corrected by disconnecting the 12 volt "aux" battery for a few minutes.
Maybe the car should have ctrl-alt-del keys ;-)
A driver is a total weenie if he or she cannot get > 50 MPG
from a Prius, even in cold weather.
I've been getting high 50s lately, and am looking forward to
summer-mix gasoline (non oxygenated) with 5% higher energy content
so I can cross 60 MPG per fill-up.
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