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Prius in the snow?

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Posted by tjq on April 3, 2007, 2:03 am

  Wanting some comments on the Prius in the snow with the CVT.  Does
it track good and have enough power to climb hills at a reasonable

  Thank you
  Tom Q.

Posted by Dick Byrd on May 1, 2007, 2:42 am

   The Prius can be really terrible in snow and mud.  You do not want to get
the front wheels mired in.  I had an unfortunate encounter in February with
a terrible muddy, rutted road in New Hampshire with my 2006 Prius. I almost
got really stuck, but I did finally manage to back the car out of the muddy
area. The Prius reacts to being immersed in mud in an unusual and not
desirable way. When the wheels were really mired deep in mud, the car simply
refused to put out power going forward. Really, the ICE would not rev up at
all. With the gas pedal floored, the ICE was barely at idle; it would not
propel the car at all.  It was not that the wheels were spinning and the car
would not move, the problem was that the car would not put out enough power
to even spin the wheels.  However, going backward, which is done solely on
electric power, the car would put out enough power to spin the wheels, and I
could modulate power off and on so as to rock the car and get it moving. I
was able to back the car through muddy areas that the car would not go
through in the forward direction. I got out of this awful mess by backing up
for about 1/4 mile.

This was one trip that I wish I had taken in my Camry instead of my Prius.

Two possibilities.
  Possibility One: if you need really maximum torque from the ICE delivered
to the PSD Planet-Carrier, then MG-1 is overwhelmed, and cannot put out
enough counter-torque through the Sun-Gear to allow this high torque to be
delivered to the Planet-Carrier, and so the computer throttles back the ICE.

  Possibility Two: The Traction-Control algorithm senses that you are trying
to spin the front wheels faster than the rear wheels and the computer says
"No, you can't do that." and so it shuts down the ICE power.

P.S - After I was out of this mess, everything worked perfectly normal.
And - Wow, did the car ever need that wash of hot, pressure-spray of soapy
water sprayed all over the undercarriage, wheels, engine and brakes.


Posted by Elmo P. Shagnasty on May 1, 2007, 3:22 am

The wheels aren't allowed to spin like that in order to protect the
electric motors from over-revving.

Posted by Piper on May 3, 2007, 12:40 pm


Wow!  Thanks for posting this, Dick.  Would have never thought about
it until, like you, got stuck.
Be yourself.  Everyone else is taken.

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