Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas

Prius driving tips for a new user?

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Posted by liu on August 9, 2011, 3:19 pm
I just got a 2008 Prius. Are there websites with information on how to
drive Prius to be efficient on MPG?
I found I accelerate way slower than I used to be. I keep looking at
the energy chart to make sure they don't come from gas as much. If I
need to keep up the pace like other cars, I have to push the pedal
really deep initially.
Also I had the habit to coasting with neutral gear in the past but it
does not appear to be a good idea for Prius as it needs the gear
engaged to generate power for the battery. With gears engaged, the
drag decreases the distance it can go without gas (down hill). What is
the balance?

Thanks for the help,

Posted by DA on August 9, 2011, 4:09 pm
responding to
DA wrote:

liu  wrote:

In short: leave early :) If you're not anxious to get somewhere, your
driving will have less acceleration / braking which kills efficiency (in
any car, not just Prius)

The novelty will wear off soon and you'll just drive normally and probably
judge more by the sound of the engine (or lack thereof) than the display.

I don't believe it's ALWAYS necessary. Just because someone in front of
you is in a hurry, it does not mean you also have top burn rubber. You'll
catch up  with the car in front of you at the top of the speed limit
anyhow (+10MPH most of the time ;) , what difference do 10 seconds make?

Just let the car decide. Since it's a hybrid, the energy isn't wasted
(well, not all of it anyhow). There's always an uphill after that down
hill and then the stored energy will come handy. Switching to neutral is
NOT a good idea.



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Posted by Daniel who wants to know on August 10, 2011, 5:03 am
Sure, for good MPG avoid the use of the traction/HV battery, it only has
about a 70% storage efficiency of watt-hours out to watt-hours in, and the
worst thing for MPG you can do is to try to force the car to run on battery
and then end up with the ICE running just to recharge it.  One of the oldest
Prius tricks is to "Pulse and glide", this means instead of going a constant
speed you alternate between "Pulse" which is accelerating with no arrows to
or from the HV battery on the energy monitor screen followed by "Glide"
which is coasting with the ICE (engine) off and no arrows at all on the
screen.  To do both you have to feather the accelerator pedal position. When
accelerating as you apply more pressure the arrows will start as going to
the HV, then they disappear, then closer to WOT the arrows will be from the
HV.  You want the sweet spot in between.  To glide you let all the way off
the pedal, wait for the ICE to shut off, then reapply just enough pressure
to make the arrows disappear.  Note that above 42MPH the ICE crank never
stops turning, though the fuel injectors do stop pulsing.

ICE= Internal Combustion Engine.

Beyond that, maintain your tire pressures like a hawk, and try 42PSI front,
40 rear instead of the stock 35/33

After oil changes make sure the level on the dipstick is between add and
full, preferably not on full, and NEVER over full.  There is a ~1.5 quart
difference between add and full, the car only holds 3.5 quarts after a
change, and lots of oil change places including some of the dealers see the
3.9 quart from bone dry spec and dump in 4 resulting in an overfill.  The
best advice is to only put in 3 quarts and then check and adjust if needed.

Posted by Leftie on August 10, 2011, 6:04 am
 liu wrote:

    Rather than coasting, get used to pressing the gas pedal *just
enough* to maintain speed. If you are climbing a short grade, back off a
little and lose a few MPH on the uphill. Just don't make yourself a
'rolling roadblock' for cars behind you who just want to drive at the
speed limit. That will have the same effect as coasting, more or less. I
don't know what the 2008 display shows (we have a 2010) but on our car
you can use a bar graph to keep the engine from running more than is needed.

Posted by bwilson4web on August 11, 2011, 10:18 am
I use 'route planning' since the Prius does not suffer the mileage hit
in stop and go traffic that a regular car suffers. So often I'll drive
the access road instead of the higher speed (and sometimes accident
blocked) limited access road. For the first mile or so, I'm driving
through my neighborhood at ~25 mph while the engine warms up. Also,
I'll take a short-cut with lights rather than the longer, light-free
but higher speed route. This type of route planning takes my commute
from just over 15 minutes to about 22 minutes but since I'm listening
to my podcasts, I'm happy.

BTW, the reason I prefer "N" versus trying to moderate the pedal is my
eyes are looking out the windshield, not at the instrumentation in the
car. But then I grew up with manual transmission cars so shifting is
second nature:

There are lots of ways of achieving similar results so try them and
see what works for you. <grins>

Bob Wilson

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