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Mk3 Plug-in vs regular hybrid


FrugallyDugally
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Hi

I've had my 2007 Prius T-Spirit for 3 years now and am considering changing to a mk3 plug-in, probably a 2013 model.  The primary reason is of course running costs, especially as I have solar-panels on my house so even the electricity to charge it would often be free.  But can anybody tell me what they are like to drive in the real world?

In particular:

1) For most of my regular journeys, I have to go up a fairly steep hill for the first mile or so.  How much punch does it have in electric only mode?  Does the petrol engine cut-in at the whiff of hill like my mk2 does, or does the larger Battery allow it to cope on electric only?

2) Similarly, most of my regular journey I come back down the same hill on the way home.  In my 2007 Prius the Battery is fully charged by the time I get to the bottom to the point I take it out of 'B' gear and go back to using the brakes to stop the engine screaming so much - this means I'm missing out on free power!  Does the bigger Battery of the plug-in allow it to re-generate for longer?

3) As my daily commute is about 32 miles each way, with half at 70+ mph, am I likely to see much benefit from a plug-in over a my existing mk2 or even a regular mk3 ?

Any other advice re plug-in or regular hybrid please?

Thanks very much

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  1. The electric motor in EV mode is not particularly powerful (80 bhp max?) and even getting up to 30 MPH on very steep hills can be a challenge. You have to push the throttle quite hard to get the ICE to kick-in (going into "PWR" band in the HSI), and on European models there's also "EV City" mode (instead of "Power mode") - in this mode it restricts ICE usage even more and you pretty much have to floor it to get any ICE activity.
  2. The larger Battery will allow much greater regen, although it has been observed on very steep descents that regenerative braking will stop and the ICE will kick in even before the Battery is fully charged - it's suspected this is because something is getting too hot (MGs, inverter, Battery?) rather than being a fixed limit on regen. But I think this is more likely on mountain passes than a "hill".
  3. EV Mode on European models is limited to 85 km/h (about 92 km/h indicated for me) - once you go beyond that speed the ICE will stay on. So you won't benefit much at motorway speeds. Even if you did stick to that speed the range won't be great. The real benefit would be if any of that commute is on slower roads, or in heavy traffic. On a journey like that I'd leave it in EV Mode when going <40 MPH or in traffic, and switch to HV Mode (normal hybrid mode like on a standard Prius) on the motorway sections. If you could do 25% of the journey in EV Mode (assuming you can charge at both ends) then that would make a notable difference in reducing fuel usage.

The only other thing to watch out for is there's no spare wheel with the Plug-in. The European version still has the standard 45 litre tank (US versions are smaller for some reason).

I haven't heard of any battery failures on these, and mine still seems to be giving decent range (9-10 miles in heavy traffic with lots of hills) after 4 years.

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What happens with the plug-in if you never select any of the modes ?

Does it just behave like a normal Prius and save the charged up EV Battery until you decide (select) when to use it or does it use the charged up EV Battery first then behave like a normal Prius or does it decide when to use the charged up EV Battery as and when ?

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4 hours ago, kithmo said:

What happens with the plug-in if you never select any of the modes ?

Assuming its got charge, it'll run in EV mode on start up until the Battery is flat and will then revert to HV mode and drive like a normal Prius.

I'm going to go against what QuantumFireball has said, EV is fine for getting up to 30mph, and I have a fair few hills on my run into Norwich, one even coming out of my village, and the car doesn't struggle imo. Will happy go up them at 50-55mph where limits permit, with passengers. It won't set any land speed records but is more than acceptable in my opinion.

As mentioned, the later Battery will allow you to capture a lot more regenning. Never had the engine force start on mine, even on some long hills in wales etc where I've gained 3-4 miles range.

EV will work upto an indicated speed of about 57/58mph on the speedo before the ICE kicks in. I currently do a 30mile round trip to work (although car share) and that along with local running about averages about 100-110mpg. My longest journeys tend to be 30miles between charging, and at almost 3 years old with 55k on the clock I'm still getting a EV range of 13.5-14 miles in the right conditions, which I'm pleased with :)

Feel free to check out my fully for MPG stats, I also note my EV/HV ratio on nearly all my fills - http://www.fuelly.com/car/toyota/prius/2013/mep/303281

Another thing to mention is that the PiP will also return a better MPG than a standard Prius on long journeys - possibly due to Battery type? Sticking to an indicated 60mph will get me 70mpg real world, and sitting at 85mph where permitted will return about 58mpg, both of which I'm more than happy with and beat my previous 'eco' diesel car.

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9 hours ago, MEP's Yaris GS said:

...Sticking to an indicated 60mph will get me 70mpg real world...

Hmm... my previous Gen 3 Prius (15" wheels) would often do 70-74 mpg (corrected for average computer error) on a 250 mile round trip in fair weather with cruise set to 60 mph on the clock where permitted.  (I suspect T4s & Spirits on 17" wheels would manage a bit less).  Rain, high winds, cold or hot (above 26°C) weather will adversely affect it though.

My Gen 4 on 15" wheels is managing around 80 mpg (corrected) at the same speed (although with the Adaptive Cruise Control set to 60, if I follow something doing up to 5 mph less I tend to stay behind it for a while)

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Interesting thread.  My daily commute is 40 mile round trip with an avereage speed of 35-40mph, and I am wondering what benefit a plug in would give me over my T3 gen3.  The commute accounts for half my annual mileage. The rest is long haul jourmeys. I can charge at home so can set off with a full Battery.   Looking at the prices of used plugins and the age of my gen3, it might be cost effective to switch.  I am pretty sure I won't be able to justify a new mk2 plug in when it arrives at the end of the year.

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11 hours ago, MEP's Yaris GS said:

I'm going to go against what QuantumFireball has said, EV is fine for getting up to 30mph, and I have a fair few hills on my run into Norwich, one even coming out of my village, and the car doesn't struggle imo.

According to Google Maps the kind of steep hills I'm talking about are greater than 8% gradients - I cannot make good progress going up these in EV Mode. If you're getting 13-14 miles EV range then I suspect you have a lot less hills than I do - Cork city is all hills! :)

I'm averaging 77 MPG but that's including a couple of cross-country trips (very little EV usage). With more local driving I'm getting over 100 MPG.

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16 minutes ago, johalareewi said:

Is there a spare wheel well for a space saver spare (like on the gen3 prius)?

Nope!  You lose the under floor storage area too.

There is a small hatch just inside the tailgate for the leads, and it's possible to wedge a space saver in it, but it sticks well up and needs removing if anything large is put into or out of the boot.

Some people buy a spare (if they can find a dealer that doesn't refuse to sell them one!) and leave it loose in the boot, but that would be no fun in a crash!

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9 hours ago, johalareewi said:

Interesting thread.  My daily commute is 40 mile round trip with an avereage speed of 35-40mph, and I am wondering what benefit a plug in would give me over my T3 gen3.  The commute accounts for half my annual mileage. The rest is long haul jourmeys. I can charge at home so can set off with a full battery.   Looking at the prices of used plugins and the age of my gen3, it might be cost effective to switch.  I am pretty sure I won't be able to justify a new mk2 plug in when it arrives at the end of the year.

My previous commute was 50mile round trip, and I averaged about 75-85mpg depending upon the time of the year.

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9 hours ago, QuantumFireball said:

According to Google Maps the kind of steep hills I'm talking about are greater than 8% gradients - I cannot make good progress going up these in EV Mode. If you're getting 13-14 miles EV range then I suspect you have a lot less hills than I do - Cork city is all hills! :)

I'm averaging 77 MPG but that's including a couple of cross-country trips (very little EV usage). With more local driving I'm getting over 100 MPG.

Thats fair play, on really steep hills then it may struggle.

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23 hours ago, PeteB said:

Nope!  You lose the under floor storage area too.

Drat.

Quote

Some people buy a spare (if they can find a dealer that doesn't refuse to sell them one!)

I was thinking of hanging on to the one in my gen3 if necessary.

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Good thinking Alan, as Pete B says that our present space savers  will fit the Gen 4......and the hassle of getting another would sap the will to live

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1 minute ago, barrycoll said:

...and the hassle of getting another would sap the will to live

not from my dealer, they're very enlightened for a Toyota dealer!

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Maybe enlightened dear Pete B, until a Gen4 with 17"s,  number plate is put into the dreaded computer, which will inevitably say "No Space saver for this vehicle"

 

But if this is not the case, then maybe a service trip to your T dealer might be woorthwhile?

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I've had the same service manager (and engineer) for over 14 years now, and they are surprisingly able to think for themselves - and apply common sense.  It's a wonder Toyota hasn't fired them!  :biggrin:

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I'm with Barry. I've been with my Toyota dealer for many years and would say the staff there are both helpful and sensible, nevertheless the company system would not allow them to sell me a skinny spare.

I tried lots of other Toyota sources in the UK without success and eventually got one from a very large taxi firm in Germany that services its own vehicles and sources it's own spares directly from corporate Toyota.

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Mine certainly didn't. It had 15" alloys with 195/65R15 and full wheel cover. No spare wheel of any kind.

I have a copy of the Prius Plug-in sales brochure printed in July 2012 and it specifies under Tyres and Wheels:-

15" alloy (195/65R15) with full wheel cover.

Tyre repair kit

Either they have made a mistake or there have been some additions/modifications. If they really do have skinnies, I would be interested to know where they are stored.

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I think the dealers are particularly bad at ticking the right boxes when putting used cars on their system. Some of the specs are hilarious! 

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I think it is a bog standard Toyota default specification for a used plugin prius.  The dealers don't seem to make any changes to the detailed spec on the toyota.co.uk website.

There is sometimes some specific data on the dealers own website (the non-toyota one) if they have one.

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23 hours ago, PeteB said:

I think the dealers are particularly bad at ticking the right boxes when putting used cars on their system. Some of the specs are hilarious! 

Yes! 

There are an amazing number of HYBRID Aurises on Autotrader that are claimed to have 6-speed manual gearboxes!

Makes me want to question every other specification detail listed. 

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Saw a plugin yesterday which ticked all my boxes and got a decent px on my gen3 prius.  The plugin has got a lot of kerb rash on the wheel trims.  I still have the plastic wheel trims from my gen3 prius (2009 15inch wheels) which are unused.  Does anyone know if they will fit the plugin wheels?

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On 9/1/2016 at 10:41 AM, johalareewi said:

I think it is a bog standard Toyota default specification for a used plugin prius.  The dealers don't seem to make any changes to the detailed spec on the toyota.co.uk website.

There is sometimes some specific data on the dealers own website (the non-toyota one) if they have one.

When a dealer loads a car onto the system, it uses CAP or Glasses data, so he only has to input the Reg number and all the CAP/Glasses data is loaded automatically, this data can often be suspect. This is not just a Toyota thing, any used car from a dealer on Autotrader or wherever will be using this exact same data system, you should always check the spec of a car yourself before committing to purchase it.

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