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Q: Does very cold weather affect your MPG and/or hybrid's mechanics?

Q: Does very cold weather affect your MPG and/or hybrid's mechanics?

  #1  
Old 01-31-2006, 09:44 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 7
Question Q: Does very cold weather affect your MPG and/or hybrid's mechanics?

I'm curious as to the effect that sustained very cold weather (as in: Minnesota) has on MPG? In speaking with a car salesman this area - he indicated that most of the benefits of a hybrid would disappear during sustained cold weather (where it stays below or at freezing for months at a time). Has anyone made note of a noticeable difference in their area during the winter months?

Also - has anyone experienced a noticeable change in how their hybrid operates mechanically in really cold weather (switching from gas to auto-stop and back again....)?

Thanks!
 
  #2  
Old 01-31-2006, 10:55 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Raymond, NH
Posts: 47
Default Re: Q: Does very cold weather affect your MPG and/or hybrid's mechanics?

Couple of Answers:

Could weather milage for my '06 HCH has been about 43 mpg. I can get higher than that, but driving through the snow/slush/ice tends attenuate any gains in milage. It warmed up for a day to the high 30's and I had to drive 400 miles, ended up with about 48 mpg. Not sure how it would have done in colder weather since I have not taken many long trips in the car yet. Considering that Motorweek got 34 mpg in the normal civic (warm weather driving, so winter is probably a little lower), I am still 10+ mpg better than if I had gone with the ICE only.

One thing you will notice in the milage database is that most of the people getting high 40's low 50's are currently living in sunnier warm locations. I expect the same results once spring hits. Expecially since I always achieved better than EPA milage in my previous '97 civic.

I find that it takes the car about 5-10 minutes to warm up enough for the battery regen and autostop to work (a bit faster than this on the highway.) I haven't had any problems with this since I am always at > 50% battery life in the mornings.

Otherwise the car operates EXACTLY the same as any front wheel car I have ever driven in the cold/snow.

DKeane
 
  #3  
Old 01-31-2006, 04:36 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Vermont
Posts: 54
Default Re: Q: Does very cold weather affect your MPG and/or hybrid's mechanics?

It hasn't been a very cold winter here - I've only driven the car in sub-zero weather on two occasions since I got it on 06-Jan - but I'll pass on my observations thus far (for the record: Burlington, Vermont has about the same climate as Minneapolis - so not as cold as, say, Duluth).

First, from an FE standpoint this car isn't any worse in the cold than any non-hybrid that I've driven (Pathfinder, various Subarus, Volvo...). I've been tracking my mileage in the Pathfinder for years, and I know that I'll range from ~17 mpg in the winter to ~21 mpg in the summer. If you figure that I'm getting ~48 mpg in the HCH right now at 30F, and that I'd be getting about 18 in the Pathfinder, that puts me on target for ~56 mpg in the HCH come summer (applying the same 3/18, or 17%, increase). This seems reasonable when I look at what people are already getting in the warmer climes. (It also says I'll probably drop a couple more mpg if we ever get 'real' winter temps again). That kind of difference (a 10 mpg drop vs a 4 mpg drop) satisfies the naysayers, but they're not doing the math (and sometimes just conveniently ignore that 4 mpg drop on the non-hybrid altogether). Because when you do that (the math), you'll find that as you apply higher-percentage drops to the hybrid and non-hybrid (ie reduce each by the same percentage), the hybrid actually looks like a *better* deal than it did before you applied the reduction. So don't let the big 'absolute' numbers turn you off.

Mechanically, all I can say is that most things mechanical do not like cold, and this one is no exception. By that, I just mean that the **** things don't go as fast or as easily as you want them to go. On the plus side, it does seem to warm up faster than my other vehicles (and I don't mean idling in my driveway ).

Much has also been made in these forums about how Auto-stop doesn't work for the first 5-10 minutes of driving. That is true, but as my first full stop on my way to work doesn't usually come until 45 minutes into my trip, I'm not bothered much by that .

One other point about snow - I've said this before, but I just haven't seen a big FE hit when I'm driving on snow. This doesn't surprise me though as most people slow down from 60 to as low as 40-45 when it's really bad, and it just seems logical that the decreased wind resistance offsets the increased rolling resistance.
 
  #4  
Old 01-31-2006, 04:54 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Eastern Washington State
Posts: 443
Default Re: Q: Does very cold weather affect your MPG and/or hybrid's mechanics?

Every vehicle suffers a FE drop during cold weather. With a lot of things like this, everything is relative. Let's say that cold weather will drop FE by 10% in late model vehicles regardless of powerplant, which is a pretty safe number to estimate against. And let's say your summer FE is 45 mpg. In the winter you will probably average out at 40.5 mpg. Let's take a Taurus and let's say it gets 20 mpg in the summer. It will drop to 19 mpg. So, the drop is more significant on the hybrid because the average FE is higher, however the hybrid benefit is not lost during the winter. It is just relatively lower because of ambient temperature conditions and other weather conditions.
 
  #5  
Old 01-31-2006, 05:20 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Leominster, MA
Posts: 2,161
Default Re: Q: Does very cold weather affect your MPG and/or hybrid's mechanics?

Duplicate thread. Please continue this in the general forum thread of the same name.

Please don't cross post
 
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