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Winter hybriding

Old 11-25-2004, 07:34 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 32

Hey everybody,

I need to lash myself to the tree of learning that is this community.

I'm just heading into my first winter with a Prius, having purchased my '01 in March of last year, just coming off the winter, and my '04 just a month ago. Over the last eight months, I've seen my mileage performance inch up as I slowly learn from reading posts on here and elsewhere, and as I gained experience behind a hybrid wheel.

But I can see that that trend is about to come to a crunching stop, as the below-freezing temperatures, lousy road conditions and other pleasantries of a Canadian winter arrive in town.

I know that my mileage is going to drop in cold weather -- as it will for everyone else on the roads -- but I'm curious if anyone has any winter-specific driving tips or tricks that they've learned in their experience with their Prius (or HCH, or Insight.... or any vehicle, for that matter.)

So... what can people suggest a driver do to keep from losing his mind and MPG through the long, cold, dark months of winter... aside maybe up and moving to AZ or CA.

Any advice will be much appreciated!
Old 11-28-2004, 06:58 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,672

Near as I can tell there is nothing that can be done to get your mileage as good in the winter as it is in the summer. There are a couple things you can do to help. One thing I learned from my Vette's real time tire pressure sensors is that the cold weather lowers the tire pressure. This is do to the fact that the air is more dense at lower temps in accordance with the formula PV=NRT. Pressure is directly proportional to temperature (measured on a absolute scale). 32F is about 273K and 86F is about 303K making the tire pressure 90% of the summer pressure at freezing temps. Check em and air em up!

Safety note: If you are maxing out your pressure when it is cold you will overpressure your tires if it gets warm. Please be careful.

The other thing you could do borders on cheating but it would help to keep the car or at least the engine warm. Warm up time is greater in the winter, reducing MPGs. You really wouldn't save any net energy by heating the car as it would take energy to do the heating but your numbers would be higher.

There is also such a thing as a warm air mod I've heard the others speak of.

I've been dreaming about a dual intake system that would pre-heat the intake air in the winter. One intake would be just like the stock intake but the other would be double wrapped around the exaust, using the exaust heat to warm the intake air in the winter. As far as I know that is my own idea and no one actually has one for sale. Maybe you could be the first to fabricate such a system?
Old 11-28-2004, 10:43 AM
Stevo12886's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Gainesville, GA
Posts: 808

Lakedude pretty much said it all. They make block heaters that keep the engine warm while parked (like overnight in the garage), but i'm not sure if they make them for the HCH.
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