Learning my Prius C

Discussion in 'General' started by Blackbelt, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    I purchased my first hybrid car last October. I had sold my Fiat 500 in July, and was using my PT convertible since it was summer. I started looking around in Spetember for something to replace the Fiat, since the PT would be going into winter storage.
    After some research, i decided i wanted to try going all electric, and i decided on the Leaf. I was going back and forth between the Leaf and a smart ED, but the issues with the stupid BAP program that M-B has for the smart pushed me to the Leaf. Prices were very good for low mileage cars, so i picked one and ordered it from Carvana.
    The next day as i was discussing my final decision with my wife over dinner, she expressed some reservations about the Leaf. Mostly it was range anxiety, and she was making a lot of sense(damn it). My commute is sufficiently long that winter range could become a real issue, and there are no charging opportunities where i work.
    Although i always liked the abilities of the Prius, i was never a fan of the styling, and neither was she. But she suggested looking at the Prius C. She had seen on on the road a few days before, and liked the styling a lot. So i ended up canceling my Leaf and ordering a 2014 Prius C Two with 22K miles on it for $13K from Carvana.
    I have been working on my hypermiling techniques ever since. I am slowly and methodically increasing my MPG's, but i can see that cold temps are not my friend for good numbers. I love the car, and am happy with the price i paid, as it was jut a little more than a Fit or Yaris, which negates a lot of the hybrid premium and IMO shortens the payback time for said premium.
    A recent warm spell here in W PA has enabled me to hit a milestone goal for my ongoing quest for increasing my MPG. Thursday and Friday mornings, on my 29.1 mile commute (one way) to work, i averaged 70MPG for the trip, according to the FcD! At the 3/4 point of my drive i was actually at 71.1, but the last 1/4 of my commute has some highway stop and go, and that brought it down a little. So my next goal will be 75, and i am hoping to reach it once spring arrives and consistent warm temperatures are here. As of now, the current average for this tank is at 65, but i still have 3/4 of a tank to go through, and the temp is down to the 20's again, so we will see.
    I love my little yellow "sparky"
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  2. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Excellent results, that little car will grow on you every time you stop at the gas pump. :)
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  3. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    ALS considering the sheer number of hills we have to deal with around here, it's a little trickier to get the numbers that flatlanders can achieve. As to fillups, the C has only a slightly larger tank than our smart (9.5 Vs 8.7), so my fillups are reasonable. It's nice to be able to drive 450+ miles on that little tank. I don't like to run the tank down much below a gallon.
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  4. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    My little yellow sparky...I replaced the steelies with some nice light aftermarket wheels in the same 15" size.
    sparky and wheel.JPG sparky.JPG
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  5. kbergene

    kbergene Active Member

    I've owned Toyota hybrid(s) of similar vintage, and have noted a sharp increase in MPG as temperatures rise. ('12 Camry Hybrid 35-40 in winter; 50+ in summer) So the best is yet to come for you.

    Re winter MPG, sometimes the engine runs because its asked to warm the cabin. I find myself turning off the cabin heat at red lights in order to stop the waste of engine idle.

    Re hills, I've practiced the art of gliding with terrain. (i.e., use the engine going uphill and glide downhill) In PA you should have decent opportunity for that.

    Enjoy. Aloha.
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  6. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Right. Hills don't necessarily hurt your mpg at all if you learn to take advantage of them. They definitely do hurt when you're forced (by curves, stop signs, stop lights, speed limits, traffic, ... ) to brake on the downhills, or if you're coasting down faster than you'd normally drive.
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  7. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    I hadn't thought about turning off the heat at red lights to keep the ICE quiet, thanks for that!
    While i do glide down the hills, the fuel consumption going up can be pretty bad. One thing that i do not like about my C is that the ICE kicks on at 46MPH no matter what. Not sure if the Prius does that but my Prius C does. I could be gliding down a long hill but the ICE fores up at 46, so i try to keep the speed at 45 or under and do some regen braking to charge up the hybrid battery. There is a stretch along my commute that is several miles long and if i am careful i can do it all on battery.The topography of Western PA is such that there are a LOT of hills, and a lot of those hills have stop signs and stop lights on both the up and down sides. It's a challenge learning, but it's a fun challenge and keeps the commute interesting. Plus, since hybrids prefer surface streets to highways, i have altered my route and as a result have lowered my stress level, since my previous route (RT 28) is brimming with aggressive douchebags who suck all the joy out of driving. The winding 2 lane i take for the first 35 minutes of my 50 minute commute is much more relaxing and enjoyable.
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  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    I've recently taken to turning the vent system right off at red lights, when the car's (2010 regular Prius) still in warm-up phase. This will often tip it to shut down. As long as I have the H/V system in full "Auto" mode, just hitting Auto will restore the vent system as it was. If I've overridden vent mode it's a bit of a hassle though: I then have to reset the mode, as often as not. There is a trick to hit the fan speed up button, will start the H/V in preselected Mode, but seems to lock fan speed.

    All-in-all frustrating. I've not completed experimenting with it, as yet. Also, tactics like this to shut the engine down are only needed during partial warm-up. So I'm not stressing it too much.

    Main suggestion for faster warm up: get the block heater. Two hour plug-in time, year-round, before first cold-start of the day, is what we do with ours. If you can get it dealership installed for around $250, I'd be inclined to go that route. The part only is around $80, but install is not a lot of fun. Also, dealership install may be better if there's any problems down the road; they can't blame your install technique.

    Secondary suggestion: consider some grill block. It'd be good to know where the smaller radiator for the inverter coolant circuit is, and avoid blocking that area. With temps below 40F, I would try 50% block of the non-inverter zone, see how that goes. If you have horizontal slats on the grill, the slitted foam tube used for inulating plumbing pipes works good: just push it onto the slats. I find securing with velcro tape effective, and easily removable. One thing: if we're doing something extreme, like driving up a ski hill, I'll take out all grill blocking, regardless of ambient temperature.

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
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  9. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    As a general rule , I only use the HVAC if I am on the highway. Except , of course , when I have a female passenger. ;)
    Also , I will use windshield defrost when absolutely necessary for safety.
    I know I need a grille block , but haven't done it yet.
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  10. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    What Mendel didn't mention was this : If you are using a grille block , it's good to have some kind of gauge to monitor your coolant temperature. I have one Scangauge field dedicated to that.
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  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    I was using a ScanGuage, but there's some suspicion it's constant weighing on the obd port was the cause of sporadic "events", involving "check hybrid system" warning, brake warning lights, and brakes reverting to fail-safe mode. After a few of these a dealership mechanic suggested it could be the problem, so I disconnected it about 18 months back, and no further issues.

    And yeah, the one gauge I really miss with the Prius is any sort of coolant temp indicator. Any econobox car has this, but not Prius. :rolleyes:

    Anyway, after a few years watching coolant temp with grill block and ScanGuage, I found as long as I was very conservative in my blocking and the temps/conditions I was doing it, it was fine. I would say use it only below 50F, 50% (of non-inverter coolant radiator zone) down to 32F, and 100% only when it's solidly below 32F. And take it out if you're hill climbing, regardless.
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  12. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    Thanks to all for the tips.
    I do garage my car, so it at least starts off the day at a higher temp than outside ambient. My garage, which is attached to my house and is insulated, tends to stay between 20-30 degrees warmer than the outside temp. The grill block is something i am going to look into. I actually have a few pieces of that foam pipe insulation that i didn't use when i did the pipes in my basement.
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  13. xcel

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

    Hi Blackbelt:

    I did not thank you for your efficient purchase. Of all the gen 3 Prius' and everything available through 2016 up to the Gen 4 Prius', it is the most efficient offering available today. Good price, great low TCO, and I actually liked driving it better than the Gen 3 liftback with the pkg. 3 my favorite.

    When it finally warms up, 70 is going to be your new floor! :)

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  14. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Very easy to put in and take out, if you use pipe insulation as Mendel suggested. Adjusting the degree of grill blocking really should be automated, though. Oh, wait, Toyota did eventually think of that in the next generation.
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  15. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    I haven't seen any such "events," in ~2 years uninterrupted use of ScanGauge.
    I agree about the absent temperature gauge. I equally miss having a tachometer, so RPM uses up another corner of the ScanGauge, leaving only two slots for other interesting variables.
    Yes, that's "very conservative" blocking. I block more and never see any overheating even up long hills on mildish winter days, but do pay attention to the coolant temperature.
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  16. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Yeah I don't the fault is with the ScanGauge, more so the OBD port, something was loose: the mechanic could jiggle the connection and see drop outs in something he was reading in Techstream.
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  17. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    The 46mph limit with engine off is a limitiation of MG1 which will overspeed if you go any faster. You can see this with ea hart's excellent animation:


    Set engine speed to 0 rpm and MG2 to achieve 43 mph and you're at the 6500 rpm limit for MG1
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  18. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    Thanks Wayne! There are days when i second guess my decision to get the C over the Leaf, but for my commute and driving needs, the C does make more sense. I love the looks and the handling, and it has plenty of pep. Based on the purchase price and how long these cars last, my TCO is going to be quite attractive. Since i didn't buy into until the end of October, i am really looking forward to that 70MPG floor this spring and summer! Between my C and my wifes smart(45+ MPG), we are doing OK. I am slowly but surely planting the seed of a future smart ED purchase for her. Her commute is shorter than mine and the ED would work fine for her.
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  19. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's approximately MG1's "backwards" speed limit; its forward speed limit (which you could hit with maximum acceleration from low speed or a stop) is higher, I think.
    Based on the gear tooth counts and tire size, I made a spreadsheet that does those speed calculations.
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  20. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    Thanks Jay, that's really interesting!

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