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Are Hybrid Vehicles fun to drive?

mistermemisterme Posts: 407
edited March 21 in Toyota
Are Hybrid Vehicles fun to drive?
If so, why?
What makes them different than regular cars?
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Comments

  • I don't know if I'd necessarily call it fun as much as I'd like to call it interesting and challenging. The Prius (as well as others) have the computer screen that gives very accurate readouts of HOW YOUR DRIVING. This can be fun just to see if you're willing to adapt changes to your driving habits to improve your MPG's. This plus the silent mode of the cars when only the electric engines are in use tell you that it's up to you how well you do.
    Culliganman (hybrids work)
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    It has a much "sportier" feel than I thought it would.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I think the "fun" part of driving a Hybrid is the "MPG game" you can play using the dashboard gauges and feedback.

    You can get real-time info as to what MPG you are achieving at that exact moment in time. (How cool is that?) This way, you can use that info to "teach yourself" the best methods for achieving high MPG for that tank and for the future.

    It's almost, in a slight way, "learning to drive all over again" for some people.

    Now that I drive a Hybrid and have changed my driving style, it's almost comical to see people ZOOM from red light to red light and STILL be sitting right beside me every time, because all they did was ZOOM (wasting gas the whole way) from this red light to the next one, but when I get there, after GRADUAL acceleration and coasting and SAVING GAS the whole way, there they sit waiting for me. They got about 12 MPG and I got about 40 MPG for the same stretch of road.

    It's gratifying and tells me I am doing the right thing for this Earth and the future of it. I spent $23.60 last month on fuel for my car.
  • "I think the "fun" part of driving a Hybrid is the "MPG game" you can play using the dashboard gauges and feedback."

    .

    Agreed. It is like the old video games where you try to score as high as possible. (I've got 90+ in my Insight....with a peak of 120 on a windy day.)

    As for actual driving, I found the Prius to be boring. The driver has no control. There are no gears. Just press the pedal, and the computer decides how fast you will accelerate. Yawn.

    I preferred the stick-shift Civic & Insight Hybrids with 5 gears. The CVT was also cool (it has 3 "gears" - Low, Second, Drive). I love revving my cars to red-line & tearing away from a red light!

    Troy :-)
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    << I love revving my cars to red-line & tearing away from a red light! >>

    I'll bet you don't get 91 mpg when you do that.....
  • The instant MPG bar drops to ~30 mpg when I redline my car...

    ...but it quickly jumps up to 100 mpg once I'm cruising along at 55.

    Remember, my "91 mpg" is the *average*... and I spend a looooong time cruising at 100 mpg (70 miles). So my redlining has little effect.

    .

    Besides, a gasoline engine is most efficient when the throttle is wide-open (redlined). I have to go from 0 to 55 sometime... might as well do it the most efficient and fun way I can!

    Troy
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    "Besides, a gasoline engine is most efficient when the throttle is wide-open (redlined)."

    Take this test:
    Find a patch of unused level highway a few miles long.
    Have a full (90%) pack and engine fully warmed.
    No accessories should be on.
    Reset your FCD at one end and floor it, keeping it floored until you reach 55 then sustain the 55 MPH until you reach a predetermined "finish line".

    Notice your MPG at the end of the run.

    Turn around and return to the starting point, driving carefully as you return so your pack recharges.

    Now reset your FCD and begin again, this time accelerate very slowly up to 55MPH and sustain the speed until you reach your finish line.

    Is wide open throttle the most efficient?

    If WOT is best for economy then why did you just burn fuel at over twice the rate (HCH) given the same top speed and distance?

    My HCH did 16MPG WOT and 36MPG with a very slow acceleration over a mile.

    Try this test yourself and see.

    It sure is nice to have the choice to accelerate quickly or to get great economy in the same vehicle! (Vs. having a car for quick acceleration and so-so MPG, or having a different car for economy)
  • Wide-Open-Trottle, followed by coasting to zero, and then repeating, is how those 1000+ mpg records were set. It's the most efficient state for a gasoline engine.

    The reason Wide-Open-Trottle is more efficient? Because you eliminate the air-intake losses around the trottle.
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    "Because you eliminate the air-intake losses around the trottle"

    Sounds like a nice thoery.
    Still doesn't explanin why it burns twice the fuel.
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    I've heard of hybrid drivers using the WOT method of driving (i.e. really put your foot in it off the line ((thus forcing the battery to do as much as it can while U get higher MPG)) then get out of it when your up to speed, is that what you mean ?
  • Some simple questions:

     

    Is it true that whenever you step on the brake, the gas-engine shuts off? If so, does it automatically start up again once you release the brake or does it wait to see if it's "needed" yet?

     

    Does the engine shut off when going down a big hill?

     

    Let's say you're riding on the freeway for a while and the battery is now fully charged, will the gas-engine ever turn off during the freeway drive?

    thanks in advance,

    -Tim
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Answers to your questions from the owner of a 2004 manual transmission Honda Civic hybrid:

     

    Q: Is it true that whenever you step on the brake, the gas-engine shuts off?

    A: True in a way, but not how the question is phrased. The HCH has a feature called "AutoStop" which disengages the gas engine when the car is stopped, for example at a red light. The car knows you have slowed down to stop, and the electric battery will "take over" imperceptibly and the gas engine will shut off when you apply the brake and stop. Then when it is time to go, you need merely to release the brake and press the accelerator and the gas engine restarts and the car goes again. It happens so fast you never even know the transition took place.

     

    Q: Does the engine shut off when going down a big hill?

    A: No. In my case, I can take the car out of gear and "coast" and the only gas I'm burning is the gas it takes to IDLE at the lowest RPMs.

     

    Q: Let's say you're riding on the freeway for a while and the battery is now fully charged, will the gas-engine ever turn off during the freeway drive?

    A: Not in the Civic hybrid. The electric engine is just an "assist" feature and will assist the gas engine in times of hard acceleration. If you have a fully charged hybrid battery, you will only use it if you "floor it" to pass someone or to get up a hill faster.

     

    Hope this helps you.....:)
  • Thanks to larsb for your answers to my questions.

    I'd appreciate answers to the same questions from a Prius owner if they are different from larsb's hybrid Civic.

     

    I'm definitely going to get one, but still trying to decide which one I should get and if I should just wait for a year or two.
  • Your "test" does not measure the difference attributable to WOT vs part throttle. All other things equal, WOT IS more efficient than part throttle (but high engine speeds incur increasing friction losses). This is one of the principle efficiency advantages of a Diesel, since it is not throttled.

     

    If "saving the Earth" is really one's goal (as opposed to acting "holier than thou"), you would accelerate rapidly not (just) because it might be more efficient for YOUR vehicle but because, if everyone did, it would improve traffic flow and improve the efficacy of the transportation SYSTEM as a whole.
  • stevewastevewa Posts: 203
    Same questions with a 2002 Prius (2004+ is similar, with differences noted below. Any hybrid using a power split device like Toyota or the Ford Escape Hybrid will have the same basic design features).

     

    Q: Is it true that whenever you step on the brake, the gas-engine shuts off?

    A: Depending on conditions, yes this is true. The ICE (internal combustion engine) will continue to run if (a) the battery needs additional charging (b) the engine and catalytic converter are not warm enough to keep emissions down (c) the A/C compressor is needed for cooling or defrosting (the 2004+ Prius has an electric air conditioner so this does not apply).

     

    Q: Does the engine shut off when going down a big hill?

    A: Depends on your speed. Above about 42 MPH the Prius' ICE must turn to keep the RPM of the electric motor from exceeding its redline. However, fuel and spark may be cut off and the engine allowed to turn from the momentum of the car. Some refer to this mode of running as "turbo stealth" since low speed electric running is called "stealth mode".

     

    Q: Let's say you're riding on the freeway for a while and the battery is now fully charged, will the gas-engine ever turn off during the freeway drive?

    A: For the reasons stated above, the ICE will not stop turning, but fuel and spark could be shut off if the electric motors are providing sufficient power to overcome wind and road resistance, etc.
  • "Because you eliminate the air-intake losses around the trottle"

     

    .

      

    "Sounds like a nice thoery. Still doesn't explanin why it burns twice the fuel."

     

    .

     

    It burns twice as much fuel, because the engine is spinning twice as fast, but the specific fuel ratio (gasoline burned/energy produced) is lowest at Wide Open Throttle. WOT, followed by coasting to 0, and then WOT again, et cetera - is what drivers use to set those MPG World Records. Why? Because opening the throttle removes the air-intake restriction & improves efficiency.

     

    Look, I don't have to justify myself.

     

    My 91 mile per gallon lifetime MPG speaks for itself. I wouldn't have that if using WOT was the wrong thing to do.

     

    troy
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    I've heard that theory over at Insight Central as well, that's why I did the test on post #8 myself, to settle once and for all.

     

    I also did the test with a 3 mile run and the outcome was the same.

    WOT will burn twice the fuel over the same distance and finishing speed, vs very light throttle.

     

    Your 91MPG LMPG is fantastic and indeed you should be proud of that achievement.

    I'm also happy with my 59 LMPG in my HCH with my family of 5.
  • Okay I conceed.

     

    But your slooooo-leeeee accelerate to 55 approach is nowhere near as much fun as my burn rubber & full-throttle-to-55 approach.

     

    ;-)
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi ElectricTroy:

     

    ___The batteries from a slow accelerator will last far longer and that is an expensive $4,000 proposition for 15 - 20 seconds worth of fun about 20 X&#146;s a week ;-)

     

    ___Whose Hybrid would you rather buy used? The 30 - 50 second to 60 mph driver or the 12 - 18 second to 60 mph one? The fun as you and I know ;-) is in the long term use of the game gauges, not ramming her home for a 0 - 60 mph sprint in 12 - 18 + seconds. That isn&#146;t all that fast if you know what I mean :-(

     

    ___By the way, welcome back.

     

    ___Good Luck

     

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • "___The batteries from a slow accelerator will last far longer ;-)"

     

    Yeah like I care. My battery hardly ever gets used (I drive a steady speed for 2 hours each day with no battery assist)... my battery will last forever.

     

    When my Insight's engine finally dies at 300,000 miles, I plan to tear apart the battery & use the D-cells to power my electric model airplanes. ;-)
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