My PIP Experience So Far

Discussion in 'PHEV or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle' started by wick1ert, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. wick1ert

    wick1ert Well-Known Member

    Before I get started with my post about my experience with my PIP, I'll apologize in advance if this has a tendency to ping-pong around a little or include some off-topic sections. I sometimes have a mine that wanders, and that tends to be the end result.

    I traded my 2010 Prius 3 for a 2013 PHEV Prius back in March. The Prius was still running great, but with the incentives, tax credit, and 0% financing, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to significantly upgrade my vehicle for roughly the same price as what I paid for my current vehicle. For those wondering, and these are rough figures, $33k for car, $4650 incentive, $2500 tax credit, and 0% financing. Given that I had other outstanding loans, I rolled one into the amount financed because it made financial sense. In the end, it will be just under $26k for the PIP.

    In April, my new baby was involved in a car accident. Someone not paying attention rear-ended me, which launched me into the vehicle in front of me. A month later, she's all fixed and has been a champ since then, and hasn't even held a grudge about protecting me as her occupant. Makes me wonder if she's planning something unexpected....

    I just passed the 5,000 mile mark in October. I felt that was sufficient time spent with the car to provide some positives and negatives, IMO, about the vehicle.

    Right now, I'm averaging 75% of my driving in EV mode. I absolutely attribute a good amount of this to being able to plug-in at work to top off, and having paid for the L2 charger at home. 1.5 hour full charge vs 4 hour full charge makes a huge difference. That was $1,200 and I believe there's a $300 tax credit available for that, also. Either way, I consider that preparation for future vehicles, even if it's only the 30 AMP charger (3.3kw, I believe).

    - Obviously, the EV driving to me is a positive, even if right now the cost to "fuel" the vehicle is almost a wash not counting the charge that I get at work. Regular unleaded is roughly 3.25/gal here and retail electric rates around 13c/kw. I know, that can and does fluctuate. Despite having a PV array, I still pull from the grid, so I'm not going to try to spin it at all. Total usage is still total usage.
    - The seat warmers are awesome, considering that I do a lot of short trips. In the regular Prius, I rarely used the heater because it took most of my drive to warm up.
    - I don't really use the Entune stuff, but I do still enjoy having the Navigation and the ability to hook up the iPod in the center console.
    - Overall, the car is very quiet and rides better than the old Prius. The ability to change EV/HV modes is great. If I know that the EV range won't be sufficient for the drive, I'll force to HV mode in the higher speed areas where it's more efficient than EV is.
    - I also like the rain repellent glass on the side windows - at least, I think that's what it is. It does a good job and has a light tint to it!
    - The ability to turn on the A/C when it's plugged in, thus not draining the pack as badly as it only has to maintain not drop temperature.

    Some of the things I wish were better, and I'm sure they'll improve/change in future generations.
    - The annoying flying bridge center console. While I like having those buttons closer to me while driving, there's gotta be a better way to do that. It really limits what you can store in the "under bridge" area, and puts one of the cup holders right in my natural elbow area when driving.
    - Also, I notice a good bit of headlight glare off the front windshield. I didn't have this in the old Prius, and can only imagine there was some manufacturing change that's caused it. I get vertical glare off all headlights.
    - The navigation system, sometimes decides I took an exit when I didn't, or turned on a road when I didn't. I'm not sure why it does this, but it bugs me. I can sort of understand it in areas that under construction with road shifts/new interchanges/etc. but on roads that haven't changed in forever this is annoying. It even starts to re-calculate and then re-calculates again when it realizes I didn't really take that turn/exit. Really, Toyota? I like the graphical aspect better, but this part bugs me. It's like they went with a less reliable GPS chip/sensor/whatever.
    - The 11mi EV range. I really wish this was 15-20mi, and I know it'll get there in future generations. It just seems to me, that the leader in hybrid "half-assed" this aspect just to have a PHEV. I get it, I'm doing 75% EV even with that range and it's a heck of a fit for my typical driving patterns. However, if running the A/C or in cold weather, that drops by about 20% and now I'm using that much more gasoline. I also understand we all have different driving patterns, weather, etc.
    - Another item that could help a lot on the cold range, would be pre-warming of the battery pack for cold temperatures, similar to the A/C remote option when plugged in. I just started messing around with the time delay/end charging option. I have it set to END at 9:00AM which is about 20-30 mins before I normally leave for work. I think I'll try to bump this later, in hopes it will start me off with a semi-warm pack. Otherwise, the ICE will come on around roughly 33MPH on cold mornings. I babied it one morning it was in the 30s here, and made it to 42 MPH before that happened. Luckily, I have a traffic light that always seems to be red in the morning that I can cycle the car on/off and I'm good to go the rest of the way in EV.

    I guess, while I love the car and what it's allowing me to do, there are some small annoyances and things that seemed to be pushed out a little premature. I know some of these will be addressed in future designs, but I wish they would have done more to start. Anyone else notice some of the things I have? Comments, questions? And yes, here's a picture to prove the 75/25 EV/HV split. It's from when I got the car back from the body shop.

    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
  2. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    Nice write up.
  3. wick1ert

    wick1ert Well-Known Member

    Thank you. I just added another point to both the "positive/negative" sections that I'd forgotten about.

    I'm excited to see the next generation of the PIP and the changes and improvements they make to it. Hopefully, I'll be able to fight off my urge for something new until 2020, unless there's a big financial incentive again and it's not harder on the monthly finances.
  4. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    I found this in a comment in Green Car Reports . about a solar-powered EV prototype that supposedly can go 12 miles on solar power. The article itself was a bit vague , and created more questions than answers , but the Comments section was hilarious. Anyone with a computer and Internet can be an "expert" these days.

    Matt , what do you think your maximum EV range is , for your driving ?

    WWWG ?
  5. wick1ert

    wick1ert Well-Known Member

    Hi Edwin:

    I think my maximum range would put me somewhere in the 14-15 mile range, under optimal conditions. However, starting with a full charge at the start of those optimal conditions is very unlikely.

    The issue for me, is speed limits and traffic lights in my immediate area. I've done a few r/t drives right at 11 miles, and still made it home with a mile or so to spare listed. Most of the surrounding roads range from 40-55 MPH with traffic lights timed so perfectly that you rarely get to keep moving. As I tell people, once you're in the red light cycle, good luck breaking it.

  6. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Matt:

    Glad to see you post this.

    While I do wish 20 miles was the target, it is not a bad effort for Toyota's first. Especially after all the credits and breaks.

    20-miles with both home and work charging brings the average American to 0 fuel used for an average RT commute. I hope the 4th gen will reach out and touch that target.

  7. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    How has the colder temps affected the charge on the PIP?

    The Volt has been hit about 20-25% on range with the temps in the morning in the 30's.
  8. wick1ert

    wick1ert Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Wayne. I forgot to mention to you that I did.

    I agree that it's not a bad effort. And it really did help me evaluate my driving trips, etc. I feel like I've got a very short drive compared to a lot of people, and thanks to charging at work, pulling likely one of the higest amounts of EV driving one would obtain with a PIP.

    Perfect fit for my typical driving. And I would never have purchased back then had it not been for your posts back in March with the incentives, etc.

    It's right around the same hit for me in the morning with temps recently around 40.

    I don't leave for work until 9:30am, and even with the timed charging to end at that time, there's still quite a hit. Granted, I'm only usually charging half the battery, so if it was fully empty, the longer charge time might warm the battery a little more.

    Even using the timed charging, I still need to baby it awhile to warm everything up first. I think I'm going to start going out a minute before I leave, start the car, turn on seat warmer, and give it a brief period to start current flow and some warmth to the lines.

    On average with cold temps, I can reach just over 30 MPH, then the ICE kicks on. If I baby it under 30 MPH (doable, as long as no traffic) for the first 1/2 mile or so, I can get up to 40 MPH after that before the ICE kicks in. I think the 1 mile mark would be the distance I need to get to before I'd get full speed range.

    Since I do get to charge at work, I might start the timed later, and just head to work with 80-90% charge, and hope that the pack is a little warmer. I'll try to remember to update as we get deeper into Dec/Jan this winter.
  9. wick1ert

    wick1ert Well-Known Member

    So I've been playing with the charge timer a little bit the last couple weeks. We've had some cooler nights and warmer nights mixed in. I set the timer to end the charge at 9:40am, and was out at the car before 9:30am and it was already done. On a morning around 40 degrees, around 40 MPH, the ICE still kicked on. Same issue at lunch time, despite still charging when I left at lunch. There's gotta be more to it than just the pack temp, I think.

    I need to really play around with a newer version of techstream and try to see if I can get some data for those here smarter than I am to try to analyze. Unfortunately, I'd have to use my small netbook, and I haven't had it turned on in like a year. We'll see if I feel like dusting that off and getting all the updates installed.
  10. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Matt:


    Do you have an open parking lot at work so you can park the PHEV in the open sun? Would help keep the interior at 70 + on a sunny day even if ambient is near 32.

  11. wick1ert

    wick1ert Well-Known Member

    Hi Wayne,

    I actually do that. I park on the exposed, top level in winter unless it's raining/snowing provided there's an open space by the time I get in. The interior is usually pretty warm, which is what leads me to thinking there's more than just the pack temp that's in the criteria. Possibly inverter temp? I also need to decide if I plan to grille block this winter. Any thoughts on that with the PIP?
  12. wick1ert

    wick1ert Well-Known Member

    To give an update on a couple front:

    1) I've been playing with the charging timer, based upon the amount of charge I anticipate needing for the next trip. My work commute is 4.7 miles there and 4.5 miles back (I take a different route coming home). If I start with a full charge in the morning, there's roughly 30% SOC left recently in the really odd weather we've been having. I'll plug in at work, and set the charge timer to start about 1.5-2 hours before I go to lunch, usually leaving me with around 85% SOC. I'll come home for lunch, and plug in on the L2 for about 30 minutes, again getting me back to around 75-80%. I go back to work, and set the charger to start around 2.5 hrs before I anticipate being done for the day (this fluctuates periodically). This gets me to around 85-90% when I start my drive home. I'll start the L2 around 30 minutes before I leave for work again. So far, using this routine the ICE has NOT kicked on during my commute, unless I call for heat or defrost which I don't do unless necessary. Seat warmers work just fine for me.

    2) I updated TechStream on my laptop, and got it connected to the car a couple weeks back. I shut off the annoyingly persistent back-up beep and seat belt beep.

    I'll have to play more with TS when I get a chance, to see what I can/can't log as far as various information. I haven't played much within TS, other than the customizing noises and in the 2010, updating the TPMS when I'd swap my snow tires on/off - which I need to do soon, and will likely lose another 5-10% off the EV range due to the tires.

    Assuming I can figure out the monitoring aspect, any one have any requests as to what I should try to find and monitor?

    So far it does seem like the HV pack temperature is the main driving factor behind the MPH you can get until it kicks the ICE on. And that temperature can drop really fast once the charging slows/ends.
  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Matt:

    Interesting. Yet another reason to use a timed charge for closer to your morning/afternoon departure even if there is no advantage from a cost of electricity perspective.

    Good job.

  14. wick1ert

    wick1ert Well-Known Member

    Just another quick update.

    I just passed the 10k mark on the PIP. I'm still close to the 75% EV, but it dropped a little bit over the winter, so I'm down to 72% now on EV. Mostly due to the fact that in January I drove almost 600 miles in HV mode due to extra trips.

    All the charging and EV driving on such a small battery has me wondering how it'll fare long term. It's a curiosity more than a concern, I guess. I know it's warranted for 8y/100k, and I've never held onto a car for that long.

    The timed charging worked pretty well over the winter, also. Since my electric rate is fixed regardless of when I charge, there's no real concern there for me. The EV range is starting to creep back up now that the temps are warming up and I no longer use the timed charging.
  15. CmaxVsPrius

    CmaxVsPrius Moderator

    I am approaching 11,000 miles this year driving my Cmax Energi PHEV. My car reports a lifetime history of over 9,000 mile in EV mode. And it reports an overall 150mpg.

    1) I estimate over 220 mpg based on the amount of gas I have purchased for those 11K miles. But I am not a fastidious record keeper. Maybe I missed a tank on a trip out of town. Because going out of town is almost the only time I ever have to buy gas.

    The 21 mile battery range of the Energi has surprised me as being plenty for 99% of my in town driving. I have found it quite easy to adjust my driving to take advantage of the many L2 ChargePoint stations that have been installed, including one in the lot I park in for work. And the local utilities company is giving all EV drivers in town free use of ChargePoint nationwide!

    I have not even had to install a L2 at home either. I can easily fill the battery on 110v in about 5 hours. And many times I return home with several miles of EV range left and need less than a full charge.

    I an going out of town next week, and appreciate the dual power mode of my car so that I can hop in and just drive anywhere anytime. Plus I will get to use up some of the stale gas in the tank. And exercise that lazy ICE under the hood. I have wondered what it will be like in several years to have this car have 100K miles on it and only 15-20K on the engine.
  16. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    wick1ert: I am curious about your overall average MPG, and your typical range in EV mode. I am strongly considering buying a PiP and with my spouse driving a Leaf, we can then sell both our Scions.

    CmaxVsPrius: Even the 150MPG sounds like it is dividing the gasoline used by the total miles - and seems like it is ignoring the electricity used. Because a pure electric car would be doing very well to be getting 150MPGe (~225Wh/mile or 4.4 miles per kWh), and if you are getting 50MPG while on gasoline, than would bring the average down from that.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
  17. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Matt:

    Now that the fall to winter transition is upon us, how is your range holding out?


  18. wick1ert

    wick1ert Well-Known Member

    Hi Neil, sorry for the delayed response here. I must have missed the email notification to my sub on this thread. My typical EV range averages 10 miles over the year. My overall MPG is pretty high. I averaged over 400MPG during the summer, usually around 100-150 winter, and 200-250 spring/fall. I'm still hovering at 73% of my miles on EV, and almost all the non-EV miles are highway. In fact, I put 5-6 gals in yesterday, only because I was already at the gas station filling the 2gal jug. My previous fill up was 9/22, and roughly 1100 miles (I don't drive very far, very often)

    Hi Wayne,

    Indicated on dash is 9.0 miles right now. It usually dips down to 8ish during the winter months. My biggest hurdle is the cold pack start, which usually kicks the ICE on at >35mph when it's had a really cold soak (overnight). I've started using the timed charging for the morning, so that I start with a warm pack and sufficient range to get to work. Once the day temps drop into the 20s and below, I'll start having to be more conscious on the daytime charging.

  19. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Matt:


  20. CmaxVsPrius

    CmaxVsPrius Moderator

    My Cmax Energy is down to about 15-16 mile range on a warm pack and 13-14 on a cold pack. That includes running the HVAC some for defrosting and heat. I also use the seat heaters, but they don't draw much.

    I have to be careful with defrost. If I tap full defrost, the ICE kicks in no matter what. Temps outside are in the 20's around here during this cold snap.

    This winter will be different when I leave work. I have an L2 charger here. So even when the Energy is outside and the temps go below zero, I should be able to preheat before unplugging. I might just be able to get home on battery. Last winter, the ICE kicked in for a few miles going home.

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