Pros and Cons:
Why I bought one Pros: 1. More than twice
as economical as my previous car and larger inside too. 2. More environmentally
friendly. The Prius emits CO2 Emissions of around 104 g/km. 3. Cheaper to service
- Toyota Dealer full service is £195. 4. Cheaper insurance - £260 for fully
comprehensive cover for both my wife and I. 5. Looks - Some people don't like
the look of the Prius, but the car's styling is growing on me. 6. Gadgets -
Boys and their toys - the Prius is quite a gadget:
In-dash touchscreen LCD display.
Good factory immobiliser and alarm.
Good factory radio and CD player.
Electric windows front and back.
Electric adjust rear-view (side) mirrors.
Sat Nav and reverse camera are"upgradeable" options
When the car is cold, setting the heat to Max - powers a 100w electric
7. Very quiet car - stops the engine when halted or reversing. 8. Very economical
- 50 to 55 MPG. 9. Runs on the electric motor only at around 30 MPH (for a mile
or so). 10. Lots of leg-room in the rear. 11. Clever storage spaces in the
car. 12. High seat position and great visibility. 13. Safety - Driver and
passenger airbags and a 5 Star NCAP rating. 14. A Toyota - so reliable.
15. May be 'upgradable' to a PHEV. See below for my EV range extend idea. 16.
Very smooth ride. 17. Extra high roof is great. The shape results in a cd of
.29 18. Cheap Tax. 19. £10 PA congestion charge - a possible saving of £2000
PA. 20. Parts are common, also some Celica, Verso, Yaris, Corrola parts will
fit the Prius too. 21. Has fold-flat (60/40 split) rear seats. 22. Uses
regenerative braking to charge the batteries during braking. 23. Neat planetary
gearbox - very smooth "automatic gear changes". Also mine has a full service
history - 20k miles till the next service. Still has 10,000 miles of battery
warranty left. Cons: 1. Looks rather twee. 2. Rear-view
(external, side) mirrors are not heated and are not (power) folding. 3. Tax
is £115 not £15 - for me as my Prius was registered before 2001 - grr. 4. Mine
is the saloon, not the hatchback shape I would have preferred. 5. My Prius has
cloth seats, not leather - well at least no dead cows were involved! 6. I do
not have the :
Sat Nav system with voice recognition
Bluetooth phone interface
EV mode switch
6 CD changer
Keyless entry (SE or Smart Entry) nor SS (Smart Start) - now known as
As what you read here may induce you to start tinkering with your own Prius,
could the more litigious among you please read the disclaimer?
Carrying out modifications such as I describe here will certainly void your
warrenty and requires working and making electrical connections in the vicinity
of a 200 plus volt battery (or two!) and is inherently dangerous.
Remember - I don't want your widow contacting me!!!
It occurred to me that
although the (High Voltage (HV) battery was a significant 200 plus volts, the capacity
was rather small at 6.5 Ampere hours and that I could effectively double my all-electric
range by adding a 2nd Prius battery in parallel. I read that there were various
parameters (State of Charge, Charge Current Limit etc.) which were monitored by
the ECUs on the car - this meant that basically any extra capacity would be ignored
(as the Battery ECU would have reported that as x amount of amps had been drawn
from the battery, start the engine as the battery must be becoming depleted) as
the battery is monitored and SOC computed. (I think) I've worked out a simple
method to fool the battery ECU that it is dealing with half the current that it
actually is, thereby providing/receiving twice the Ah it would normally (and use
my extra capacity) using a voltage divider (see pic below).
Remember, this will not result in a pluggable hybrid electric vehicle
(PHEV) - that would be an expensive and quite complex achievement - my idea is something
MUCH simpler: Halve the voltage 'seen' via the current sensing wire and add
my battery to the existing one - in parallel. This should give me twice my electric
range. Not a PHEV by a long way, but a good first step. For details see half
way down this page:
sensing wire details (page curtesy of Graham Davies). annotated graphic
As I have a really short commute (just over 4 miles) a proportionally large amount
of my commute distance is spent driving with a cold engine. I decided to do something
about that. I decided to spent $59 on a (Canadian) Toyota block heater. I'll
also need a110 volt site transformer to power it as it's designed to be powered
from 120v. The Toyota part number is C0140-00885.
As it pumps out 400 watts at 120volts, I should realise 366 watts of heat @
110volts. I'll add more details when I get the thing....