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Old 01-21-2010, 01:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Getting the most out of your hybrid?

Drivers of hybrid cars often complain about not getting as much out of the vehicle as originally expected. I know that a lot of people don't take into consideration driving style - which can often impact things like mpg, overall wear and tear on the car, how much maintenance is required at your next tune-up, etc.


As a driver of the Prius, do you guys have any tips or recommendations on getting the most out of your hybrid vehicle?

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Old 01-21-2010, 01:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First, welcome to the forums.

We have many topics that discuss this issue about hybrids.

However, your photo actually illustrates one of the biggest concerns hybrid vehicle owners have right now! If we could turn these into true PLUG-IN vehicles then there would be little to no need for oil changes/belt replacements/air filter replacements.

Think about all the costs that we pay at local dealerships for these routine maintenance tasks. Now, remove the gasoline engine in favor of a short 30 mile all electric commute and most of us would only visit the local tire shop for new treads every 50,000 miles!
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Old 01-21-2010, 02:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Don't drive a Prius, I have an 02 Insight with a CVT and have averaged 64.8 MPG for the last 19k miles, about 20 MPG over current EPA combined for that model. That is also on 10% ethanol which is all that available here.

Accelerate briskly to your desired speed, about 40% of max acceleration rate.

Conserve momentum by anticipating traffic patterns and avoiding brake applications whenever possible.

Choose routes that have fewer traffic lights.

Stay at or below posted speed limits.

Inflate tires to sidewall posted maximum.

Avoid accessory loads whenever practical.

Lots more info here but those basics will get you significantly over EPA highway, or in case of the Prius EPA city.

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Old 01-21-2010, 03:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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BBCTopGear -

Welcome to EM! I don't have a Prius, but I have heard that there is a city-speed "sweet spot" where you can slowly pulse up to 39 MPH and then coast down to X (25?) MPH. This creates a pulse and glide mode where the engine is off much of the time. I think this is how some people get 80-90 MPG in a Prius. I apologize if I am not describing it correctly (only ever read about it).

If most of your driving is freeway, then it will be harder to get better-than-EPA MPG. This is because (as you probably know) the Toyota hybrid design is better suited for the stop-and-go of city driving, aka more regen opportunities for the battery pack.

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Old 01-21-2010, 06:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My car is a 2000 Honda Insight, stick-shift. I could give you plenty of tips on how to drive one of those efficiently. One surprising bit of advice: try to avoid using the hybrid system. It's much better to coast to a stop with the engine off than to do regenerative braking, and it's generally more efficient to accelerate using the gas engine alone, no electric assist.

On the highway, the same advice applies for all cars: if you want better fuel economy, then drive slower, and/or make aerodynamic improvements to your vehicle.
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Old 01-29-2010, 04:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks guys, you've definitely given me some new insight (no pun intended) on the subject, haha!

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