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Toyota Camry Hybrid Driving Tips & Tricks

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
This is the place to share the things you're doing to get the most out of your TCH!

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  • willybillwillybill Posts: 83
    I noticed the other day while stopped in traffic for a construction delay that while stopped with the AC running, the Hybrid battery drains fairly quickly. The display was down to two purple bars. :confuse: What happens if you are in traffic stopped for a lengthy time and the battery does deplete. Is the car smart enough to run the engine at that point to charge it up or is the correct procedure to hit stop and open the windows while you wait.
    Just wondering if anybody has the answer. Upon starting up again, it was only a short while until the battery regained it's full charge. :confuse:
  • houtex1houtex1 Posts: 82
    I'm pretty sure the ICE will start up and charge the battery as needed. I think this is the case as long as the car is in Drive or Park. If in neutral, you may very well run into trouble, as I don't think the battery will recharge in neutral.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    The ICE will engage and charge the battery.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    The computer is very smart. It will start up the ICE whenever the battery reaches a low enough point. This feature is what makes the hybrids so great for minimizing air pollution and saving fuel. The ICE runs as little as possible when it's not needed such as sitting in heavy traffic.
  • houtex1houtex1 Posts: 82
    I've only driven my new TCH for less than 200 miles as I went on vacation last week and the car sat in my garage. One thing I have a question on is the Best MPG display on the Consumption screen (for cars that have the Navigation system). My best MPG seems to be stuck in the 20's even though I believe I am consistently getting in the high 30s to low 40s. The ECO drive display always shows your avarage when your current trip is over and I always get the "Excellent!" remark.

    Any idea why the best MPG would be in the 20's? It doesn't make sense to me?
  • I've only driven my new TCH for less than 200 miles as I went on vacation last week and the car sat in my garage. One thing I have a question on is the Best MPG display on the Consumption screen (for cars that have the Navigation system). My best MPG seems to be stuck in the 20's even though I believe I am consistently getting in the high 30s to low 40s. The ECO drive display always shows your avarage when your current trip is over and I always get the "Excellent!" remark.

    Any idea why the best MPG would be in the 20's? It doesn't make sense to me?


    I believe it updates when you refill the tank.
  • willybillwillybill Posts: 83
    My BEST reading was stuck on 36.0 until I got my 3rd tank of gas and hist the lower right reset button. Then the current tank avg. moved to the BEST display. I learned last time, don't reset all it seems to wipe out the BEST display as well.
    WillyBill ;)
  • houtex1houtex1 Posts: 82
    Thanks! So basically, when you hit Reset, the best MPG is updated if the current average MPG is better than the displayed Best MPG.

    When you hit reset all, all history is lost including best MPG
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    For those of you new to the posting, here's a good link to help you understand your TCH operations (note tabs at the bottom of the page for the various parts of the system:

    http://www.hybridsynergydrive.com/en/battery.html
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    That's a great explanatory link. Thanks :D
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    Enjoying the very few miles I have driven in the new TCH since I brought it home a day and a half ago...

    Can someone please explain the "reset", "reset all" and "Best" features of the Consumption screen. There are only dashes --- under "Best" currently.

    The manual is vague, at best.

    thanks!
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    Can someone please explain the "reset", "reset all" and "Best" features of the Consumption screen.

    I believe if you push the reset and there are currently dashes under the best it will simply transfer your current FE to that category. Pushing the reset all will clear all the data including the "best". Pushing reset will clear the current data, including the bars on the consumption screen and if the current FE is better than the "best" it will take the new number under "best".
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    Thanks, wvgasguy! I hope I understand.

    With so many places to see the FE...it gets confusing.

    Can you confirm my understanding???...if you will graciously give me a few minutes....your previous posts have been a significant part of my decision process to buy the TCH! THANKS!!!

    Here's how I currently understand the many guages:

    Left of the Speedometer: an analog guage showing instantanious mpg. This is clear! lol

    Under the speedometer, there is a multifunction guage...among other things, it shows:

    1. A stepped ECO Drive level guage...this is the average mpg for the current trip, in bar graph format. Seems this resets every time the car is started.

    2. Tank average: mpg for the current tank (only resetable automatically after a refuel??)

    On the NAV consumption screen:

    1. bar graph showing average mpg by minute, for the last 30 minutes of driving. Bars change color to show the previous trip, until current trip goes over 30 minutes.

    2. "Average" mpg... average for the current tank since refuel? Is this resetable? or only automatically after a refuel? Is this an exact duplicate of tank average display under speedoneter?

    3. "best" ....from your description above, I understand this to be the highest instantanious mpg recorded in the bar graph of the 30 min????

    4. "Reset" restest curent info display, 30 min graph, and best???

    5. "reset all" resets tank average, 30 minute bar graph, "best" and average mpg (on this nav display)??????

    I would like to be able to have a running total for the mpg that doesn't reset at refueling. So...is there a running total mpg that can be kept indefinately...as in "since I have had the car" average?

    thanks for your help..this is one heck of a car!!!

    I will be an active poster here with info on my experiences, here and in the thread "New TCH Owners, give us your report"

    I noticed this morning, there is a blue colored "ring" that shows up around the instantanious mpg guage and speedometer when the mpg reaches a certain level...40mpg???

    Sorry for long post!
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    All yes, with this further information:

    On the NAV Screens, 2( The average can be reset any time you want by resetting the reset button. Trip to the store, red light to red light, trip to mom's what ever you want to measure. I set it on trips I make frequently and experiment with slow starts, steady driving and coasting techniques to see what's the best way to drive a specific route I drive often. It's not for the tank average, it's for the trip and it can be used, I'm 99.9% sure, over the course of several tanks like on vacation.

    The "best" screen will be reset to a higner number when you hit the reset and your trip has a higher average than your previous best. It's probably meaningless to anyone but you. Reset like I just did on a trip to the store and I got 49 mpg. I can use it as a coversation piece I suppose.

    Reset does not change the "best" if the current is lower.

    I don't think there is a running mpg for the total unless you just don't ever reset. That's probably not practical. I keep my running total on an EXCEL spread sheet I keep on my laptop and then I move the same data over to the GreenHybrid.com "COMPARE" page. (Check it out for my tank by tank milage) If you just keep your receipts and enter the milage and gallons there it will keep your running total for you. Since you can go 600 miles on a tank it's not all that often you'll need to do this..

    I believe the blue ring shows up when ever you get to 36 mpg, the same FE where the ECO gage rewards you with an "EXCELLENT" as you shut off the system.
  • spiff72spiff72 Posts: 179
    Actually, I think the blue ring illuminates dimly when you are in the first band (between 25 and 30), and it gets brighter with each step up the ECO level ladder. The band is not there when you are below 25mpg.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    It's good to have a thread specifically for this. I have repeated several tips several times on different threads. Also every month when new shipments arrive new owners are asking the same question. There are already a lot of posts that could be read but unfortunately they are scattered all over the board.

    Several of us have a lot of tips and I'll probably go to the trouble of adding them again, but for now:

    First, If you're new to the TCH experience and you're getting less than 30 mpg, you're not doing it right. Several have blamed their car wanting to take it back to the dealer only to get the hang of it later. Study, practice and don't worry about it for the first tank of learning.

    I'd also recommend going to the station and filling up so that you know for sure you have a "full" tank. Too many people are getting lousy first tank actuals that could be the result of a low fill from the dealer. If you're going to start tracking this the first place to start is with a full tank.

    If you want high FE you will have to drive this different than you past car. To maximize FE it takes understanding how to work the system. With a little practice it's second nature. However many posters have no intention of changing their driving habits and that's OK, they are still getting 34 to 35 mpg for the most part.

    I'm currently over 8400 miles and averaging 38.7mpg. I live in rural hilly central WV. I don't have heavy urban traffic as some but I don't have flat ground either. Unless you become compulsively obsessed with the stive for a high FE number (as many of us are) realize with such a high fuel effecient car as the TCH (and other high 30's cars) there is really very little savings working hard to get a 36 mpg average up to say 38. For you it just may not be worth the effort.

    Enjoy you car, save fuel, send less American dollars to the Persian Gulf

    Things to know:

    1) The ICE is always on above 41 mph.
    2) When you first start the car expect the ICE to kick on after about the first 7 seconds. If the car is warmed up already it will kick back off if you're sitting stil or pulling away slowly on level ground
    3) It's better to mildly accelerate to speed and then let off the throttle and as the ICE either kicks off or drops to the 60 "instant" gage FE mark, gently apply pressure to maintain speed at a considerably higher FE
    4) If there is a grade you may lose speed to max out FE, if that's acceptable every little bit contributes to a high FE number
    5) This thing coasts very well. Many times before you crest a hill you can let off the throttle and drop the FE to 60 and as you top the hill on the cars momentum you will then gain speed downhill "gliding".
    6)If you have a NAV system you have many extra screens available. Watching them as you learn will help with the understanding. The dash screens that all TCH's have are adequate but not as much details as the NAV (go to info, trip info and there is a Consumption and Energy screen.
    7) ECO mode for A/C appears to provide adequate cooling for most all of the climates and assists with higher FE.
    8) Before you ask, yes (on the NAV models) the battery will show a full charge and when it gets to the next to top bar they turn green. If you drop to the bottom bar it turns violet.
    9) The bottom charge level and top charge level does not mean the battery is fully charged or depleted. The TCH computer in order to maximize the life of the batteries keeps the system charged between 60 to 80%.
    10)If you drive for 200 miles and don't see a full charge and thus don't belive me (like several posters) find a very long down grade and watch the charge. Try to start with as full of a chage as you can and you should be able to "top off" the battery. Actually it's not all that important, but it will assure you that it does go the full range.

    This is a great forum as it has topical threads. I would add that at GreenHybrid.com there is database for showing your milage and seeing milages of other drivers and other hybrids.

    Got to go,

    More postings to come.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    www.hybridsynergydrive.com/en/regenerative_braking.html
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    www.toyotaiguide.com
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    (You'll hear of this soon if you just got your hybrid. I copied this from another website)

    First, Pulse - Getting The Car Up To Speed
    When the car needs to get up to speed, gently accelerate. As much as possible, avoid using energy from the large hybrid battery while accelerating.

    Second, Glide - A Special Kind Of Coasting
    Once up to 40 mpg ease slightly back on the accelerator. Then ever so slightly press down the accelerator again and hold the pedal in that position. On the energy screen there should not be any arrows of energy going any direction. If you press to much, repeat the process of easing up and pressing down again until you get it in the right spot. You will notice that there is no energy flowing in any direction on the Prius’ energy screen and the “arrows” are black. In this state, the Prius is basically coasting, without any energy being drawn away to regenerate the battery.

    Then, Repeat The Process
    Once the car decelerates to the given bottom end of your Glide, usually 30 mph, start the whole process over again. Alternating between periods of Pulsing and periods of Gliding as long as the driving situation allows. The bottom end of the Glide can actually be any speed, but the record breaking drivers generally used 30 mph.

    Pulse And Glide For Everyday Driving?
    It is unlikely that you would be able to do like the record breakers did and Pulse and Glide for an entire tank of gas, but this technique can be implemented, when appropriate, in different parts of your normal driving routine. Every little bit helps when trying to squeeze extra miles out of a tank of gas. When employing this technique, of course, you should always drive safely and not impede other motorist.

    Pulse And Glide In Other Hybrid Cars And Hybrid SUVsThis technique can be implemented in any Toyota or Lexus hybrid car that has the “Hybrid Synergy Drive” (HSD) system. In fact, as a test, I once took a Toyota Highlander Hybrid on a 21 mile drive using this technique and achieved 47.1 miles per gallon. Try that in any other SUV!
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    Hard to remember all the tips and to find them later???

    You need to study the posts here and on other forums. An easy way to do this is to open up a blank word file and with every post or suggestion you see that you like just copy and paste over to the word file and save it, then you can have a fairly lengthy document with a lot of useful information to review at your leisure.
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