ac in hot weather, heater in cold

Old 06-15-2005, 08:53 AM
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Default ac in hot weather, heater in cold

I am thinking about buying a Prius. How does the ac do in hot weather (especially while sitting in traffic)? How is the heater in cold weather? I live in an area where the summers can get hot and the winters fairly cold.
Old 06-15-2005, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: ac in hot weather, heater in cold

I'm not sure what you mean, exactly. It "does" as well as any other car, if not better. The air always works... it's never shut off. If you run out of electricity in the battery, the engine turns on to replenish it. Sure, you'll take a hit with the fuel economy, but that's just the way it goes.
Old 06-15-2005, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: ac in hot weather, heater in cold

Thanks for the reply. Some cars have better ac than others. I have heard, for example, that the ac in regular Hondas does not do well at idle, for example.
Old 06-15-2005, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: ac in hot weather, heater in cold

Yep, even the Prius I chills the interior mighty cold in the hot summer.
Old 06-15-2005, 02:03 PM
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Default Re: ac in hot weather, heater in cold

i find myself turning the AC fan to 'low' after a few minutes because it gets too cold for me!

haven't had to use the heater but since there are a number of canadians who own Prii i think it's safe to assume it works well. otherwise we would have heard them complaining on priuschat about it...

the only thing is that AC does drop your mpg slightly. the AC runs on electric and does not require the ICE to be on all the time, but the increased drain on the battery, say at a stoplight, will cause it to kick in more often. i am not entirely sure about how the heater works.
Old 06-16-2005, 12:12 AM
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Default Re: ac in hot weather, heater in cold

The A/C is great. Every vehicle I have ever had usually doesn't cool very well at lights or stop and go traffic. That is because optimum compressor speeds are not acheived at idile or in slow traffic. However electric a/c removes the drain from the ICE when moving down the road and has the added benefit of operating when the ICE is off. Also, because it is electrically driven the compressor is variable speed, so it runs at a speed appropriate for cooling the vehicle to your setpoint.

Heat is very good. Because of the coolant heat storage thermos, you get very quick warmups and cabin heat during the winter. This is a brilliantly designed auto climate system.
Old 06-16-2005, 07:37 AM
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Default Re: ac in hot weather, heater in cold

Also the heat from the Prius II is electric powered (down at your feet) for the first few minutes while the engine gets up to temp. I believe this is only if you have the climate control set to auto. I've no problems with either heat or A/C, the whole system is wonderful. And we get those days here in S. Dakota, when u use both within 5 hours time!

Last edited by finman; 06-16-2005 at 07:38 AM. Reason: spelling
Old 06-16-2005, 07:51 AM
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Default Re: ac in hot weather, heater in cold

This was a concern for me as well, I'm only comfortable when everyone around me is shivering and blue in the face. So far, so good with the Prius A/C - it's been 95 degrees & humid here lately, and I'm comfortable in the car on all but the shortest trips.
Old 06-25-2005, 07:48 AM
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Default Re: ac in hot weather, heater in cold

I'm in central Florida -- so far, the Prius (2005) seems to have the best A/C of any vehicle I've owned. Haven't tried the heater under severe (under 75 degrees) conditions yet...
Old 07-06-2005, 12:32 PM
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Default Re: ac in hot weather, heater in cold

If you live in VERY hot weather with lots of traffic (Houston, for instance) you may have experienced a conventional car shutting off your A/C because it's overheating and can't handle the extra load. The Prius is much more thermally efficient and produces less waste heat... even in "highway is a parking lot" conditions and Prius frequently running the engine to power the A/C, overheating is very unlikely to occur. Not only does the car burn less gas (making less heat), it more thermally efficient (Atkinson Cycle Engine).

On the flip side, some have complained the car seems to take awhile to get warm in winter, mainly those in extreme cold, like Dakotas or Canada. For most it works fine. The car will run nonstop until it's warm, both for you and the engine. The electric heaters mentioned above produce heat immediately, thou they're small, won't come on if you're drawing too much juice from the 12V systems (motors and AC don't matter), and are meant to supplement the primary heating core. The car also mixes recirc air with fresh air to provide more heat with less waste (like an airplane.) Recirc air blows on the bottom and fresh on top to prevent window fogging. A humidity sensor changes the mix as needed or turns on the AC compressor to dehumidify. If you leave the system in AUTO with AC on in winter, it'll do whatever is needed to make the cabin the temp you say, using as little power as possible (for instance, AC would only come on if it's too humid).

Probably more info than you wanted to know.. but interesting all the thought that went into keeping everyone warm and toasty. Car gets much better MPG in warm temps than cold. In temperature extremes, dead batteries are a nonissue and some Canadians report car always starts up in even the coldest weather (provided fuel lines are stabalized).

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