Prius Plug-in Second Road Trip



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Sunday May 12, 2013 Ė Prius Plug-in Second Road Trip Ė With a short gap between contracts I was hanging around home and taking short trips with the Prius Plug-in.  I was able to charge up at various places around town and for four days in a row the internal combustion engine never came on.  Even with a very limited range, when you drive less than 5 miles per day you can stay in all electric mode with no trouble at all.


Last Sunday my wife and I set of on another road trip to Temecula.  This is essentially the same trip that we did back in November.  This time I left the house with about 6 miles of EV range and made it to the highway without the ICE starting.  With only 3 miles of EV left I decided to go into blended mode and the 3 miles were quickly eaten up.  I drove a little faster on this trip than I did back in November and so for the 96 mile round trip I only turned in 52 mpg instead of the 53 mpg I had achieved in November.


Once again we arrived at the Hampton Inn to find that our room wasnít ready so we took a drive across the road to Marie Calendars where my wife enjoyed a nice chicken sandwich while I filled up on Fish Tacos.


In the evening we went to Pechanga Casino and, as we found in November, all 6 AV chargers were available.  I managed to squeeze close enough to the charger so that I could make the cable reach, but just barely.  Still, the car was full when we left later that evening, and my wife actually came out $5 ahead on the slots so all in all a good visit. 


The charge gave us 11.5 miles of range and after a nice drive back to the hotel, where we hit almost every light on green, I was still showing 8.3 miles after a 4.4 mile trip which I thought was pretty good.


The next day we took a drive out to Murrieta Hot Springs but it started to rain so we just drove around a bit then headed back to the Promenade in Temecula for Lunch and some shopping.  Itís a pity that a mall the size of the Promenade doesnít have any EV charging but I guess they will eventually catch up with the times.


In the evening we went back to Pechanga for a quick charge and to give them back the money we won on the previous evening and then some.  Once again we left with a full charge showing an available range of 11.5 miles.  The drive back was a repeat of the previous evening and this time I landed back at the hotel showing 8.5 miles on the range meter.


Next morning we started back for LA and I still had over 8 miles of range when I got to the freeway.  I switched the car into HEV mode to preserve the EV range until I got back on surface streets.  The drive back was pretty uneventful except for hitting some traffic on the 5 freeway in Commerce.  Once I got off the freeway I switched the car back to EV mode and arrived home still showing over 3 miles of EV range for use latter.


The car showed that the trip home had averaged out to 58mpg which was a little bit less than the 61mpg that I had experienced on the previous trip so it would probably been better to use blended mode on the way home, especially if I could recharge right away after getting back from the trip..


I was able to charge the car again on Wednesday at Century City Shopping Center and Thursday I was able to charge in Beverly Hills although I had to try three different parking lots on Crescent drive before I found on with an available charger.  The lot I usually use had a Nissan Leaf and a Coda Sedan charging and the one next door to whole foods had a Volt and another Prius Plug-in charging.  The third lot I tried, just off Dayton, had both chargers available.


I had a similar story on Friday when we returned to Century City Shopping Center to find both charging spots were occupied.  In the afternoon I went to the Beverly Hills public library and again the two 220V chargers were in use.  The chargers there are dual 110/220V chargers though so I was able to plug in my 110V charger.  When I came back to the car I found that one of the 220V chargers had been vacated, but the Nissan Leaf driver hadnít bothered to holster the connector; it was just lying on the ground.


On Saturday I had one of those Prius moments that are the major annoyance of owning the plug-in.  I was making a left turn and applied just a little too much pressure on the gas pedal and the ICE came on.  Now I had a battery that was 75% full and was less than half a mile from home but once the ICE starts the Prius will run its full warm up cycle so the engine was still running when I got home.  This dragged my mpg from 999mpg (thatís what it shows when you drive all electric) down to 33mpg which is typical for a Prius on a short trip where the ICE doesnít get fully warmed up.


The Prius has been doing well with no problems whatsoever in the 4,800 miles I have driven it so far.  On long trips it gives outstanding fuel economy and the ride is reasonably comfortable.  For short trips around town it can be run in EV Mode most of the time as long as I can find places to charge.


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