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#1 Old 05-25-2013, 09:03 AM
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Eco vs normal mode - test results

Over my 25 mile commute, I decided to test the fuel efficiency (FE) difference between normal and eco mode. Last year, we did a poll and over 90% of drivers responding said they use eco mode exclusively, including me. These results are based on about 500 miles of driving about 20 commutes. Exactly the same route every time.

Eco mode average: 4.7L/100km or 50 mpg/ 14 celsius / 57.2 km/hr ave speed

Normal mode: 4.8L/100km or 49 mpg/ 16 celsius / 59.7 km/hr

The FE results are surprisingly close. I personally thought there would be more than a 2% difference. Another surprise is that I actually drove faster in normal mode even though I didn't try to. I certainly feels faster and more fun. Actually, I enjoyed normal mode more. I looked forward to the commutes when I put normal mode on. The best commute was 4.4L/100 or 53.5mpg and that was done in both modes, so no clear winner there either. Only a couple days had the a/c on so I'll continue with that to see if the more aggressive cooling of normal mode will take a toll on FE.

Overall, I'm a little surprised by the results and will switch to normal mode as my main driving mode.





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#2 Old 05-25-2013, 09:42 AM
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Your results are not all that surprising. I am convinced that most hybrid owners are accelerating too slowly to get the ICE into the most efficient operating zone for fuel economy. The ECO does not prevent that, but it probably takes a bit more conscious effort to get up into the Power zone when it is in ECO. Others have tested and said it does not affect acceleration in Cruise control, so it appears to be out of the loop there.

On A/C it is said to only limit output, but not temperature setpoint. That is my observation as well. That means that once it reaches the desired setpoint for temperature it will use the same amount of energy as a non ECO mode. The only difference will be during the initial transient cool down phase. It will not reach setpoint as fast as output is limited. On short trips especially that will likely save a little electrical power but at a compromise to driver and passenger comfort.

I really don't have a concern about the ECO throttle response. If I want more speed I just push more. What they have done is similar to tricks played with audio amplifiers. They can give you a linear response to turning up volume. Or they can give you lots of volume early in the turn up and almost nothing toward the end. It is a trick to make the amp seem like it has more power than it really has. Because hearing is a logarithmic relationship to power that means to give a linear volume output the volume control has to be logarithmic. That is probably also more expensive to build. Over the years I have found each vehicle to be a bit different on throttle response, and one quickly adjusts to the latest one you drive.

Will be interesting to hear if you realize a savings in A/C. My observation with A/C is that it does not cost all that much to use. Other benefits of warm weather more than make up for using it.

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#3 Old 05-26-2013, 01:11 AM
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To each his own. I tried the ECO off on a tank of gas just to see when my '12 TCH was rather new. I did drive it like a normal gas-powered car, speeds, acceleration and etc. I got 45 mpg for that tank which was great over a gas powered car. I think that extra 5 mpg I get out here is due to the extra low humidity, warmer temperatures and thinner air due to the 4100 foot desert floor elevation.

I prefer leaving the ECO set to 'on'. I slow down with rather easy takeoffs and can average 55 mpg almost ever tank except during the coldest part of winter which took me down to 48 mpg.
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#4 Old 05-26-2013, 06:11 AM
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Is there much stop and go on the commute?
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#5 Old 05-26-2013, 06:42 AM
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When I drive around town or in stop and go traffic the Eco is alway on, when I am on the Interstate Eco is off unless there is a back up. For me its a safety factor, I need to know that if I have to get away from a car or truck on the Highway to avoid an accident the car is going to respond.
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#6 Old 05-26-2013, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by elias9193 View Post
For me its a safety factor, I need to know that if I have to get away from a car or truck on the Highway to avoid an accident the car is going to respond.
If you put it to the floor there is no difference in response in ECO or no ECO.

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#7 Old 05-26-2013, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Curtis_TX View Post
Is there much stop and go on the commute?
My commute is about 2/3s two lane highway (50 - 60mph) with some stop signs and the rest is "city". The trip has about 15 stops/traffic lights.

It would be interesting to see someone who commutes on a higher speed highway (70 mph) do a comparison. Or even a pure city commute as well.






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#8 Old 05-26-2013, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron AKA View Post
If you put it to the floor there is no difference in response in ECO or no ECO.
There is a real difference in "feel" between the 2 modes. I think it is more than just having a shorter gas pedal with normal mode. I feels more instantaneous, like there is more electric boost as well.

Also, in normal mode, it is more hesitant to into EV and slips out quicker.





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#9 Old 05-26-2013, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by venzoid View Post
There is a real difference in "feel" between the 2 modes. I think it is more than just having a shorter gas pedal with normal mode. I feels more instantaneous, like there is more electric boost as well.
I can't find the link that has the graph but somewhere there is a graph of the actual throttle response vs accelerator pedal depression. Without ECO is is a straight line. With ECO it is a curved line. Half depression does not give you as much throttle as without ECO. However, as you depress further and further the ECO mode catches up until at full depression the result is exactly the same -- full throttle.

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#10 Old 05-27-2013, 06:00 PM
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As an old Engineer, I would love to see that graph.
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#11 Old 05-31-2013, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venzoid View Post
Over my 25 mile commute, I decided to test the fuel efficiency (FE) difference between normal and eco mode. Last year, we did a poll and over 90% of drivers responding said they use eco mode exclusively, including me. These results are based on about 500 miles of driving about 20 commutes. Exactly the same route every time.

Eco mode average: 4.7L/100km or 50 mpg/ 14 celsius / 57.2 km/hr ave speed

Normal mode: 4.8L/100km or 49 mpg/ 16 celsius / 59.7 km/hr

The FE results are surprisingly close. I personally thought there would be more than a 2% difference. Another surprise is that I actually drove faster in normal mode even though I didn't try to. I certainly feels faster and more fun. Actually, I enjoyed normal mode more. I looked forward to the commutes when I put normal mode on. The best commute was 4.4L/100 or 53.5mpg and that was done in both modes, so no clear winner there either. Only a couple days had the a/c on so I'll continue with that to see if the more aggressive cooling of normal mode will take a toll on FE.

Overall, I'm a little surprised by the results and will switch to normal mode as my main driving mode.
At those temperatures, I'd go in normal mode.

Spring and Autumn are when I stay in normal mode for a few weeks and enjoy the peppier response of the accelerator. I stay in ECO mode once A/C or the heater is required as my trips are usually within town so I don't need it cooled that quickly (and the solar panel ventilation system in the Prius helps in the summer). I'll switch to normal road on the open road. If your commute is mostly on the highway, I'd say normal mode is probably fine since you can keep the battery charged while the A/C is running (vs. in the city where you're in EV more often or at least gliding so the engine isn't charging the battery hence the opportunity to slowly drain the HV battery is greater).

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#12 Old 06-04-2013, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Tideland Prius View Post
At those temperatures, I'd go in normal mode.

Spring and Autumn are when I stay in normal mode for a few weeks and enjoy the peppier response of the accelerator. I stay in ECO mode once A/C or the heater is required as my trips are usually within town so I don't need it cooled that quickly (and the solar panel ventilation system in the Prius helps in the summer). I'll switch to normal road on the open road. If your commute is mostly on the highway, I'd say normal mode is probably fine since you can keep the battery charged while the A/C is running (vs. in the city where you're in EV more often or at least gliding so the engine isn't charging the battery hence the opportunity to slowly drain the HV battery is greater).
Interesting. You seem to be saying that there are better driving environments for eco mode versus normal mode. Do you notice worse mileage in the city on hot days with normal mode?





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#13 Old 06-06-2013, 02:22 PM
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I much prefer driving in Normal mode, because I accelerate quicker and the car is simply more responsive and enjoyable to drive. It feels more like the turbo cars I owned for over a decade (Saabs), which also have great low end torque and feel snappy when you touch the gas (and get pretty good mpg too).

Unfortunately, my MPG here in this hilly area has been suffering in Normal mode, by about 3-5 mpg, so I may have to revert to ECO mode or simply bite the bullet and enjoy the car

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#14 Old 06-06-2013, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRB_NW View Post
I much prefer driving in Normal mode, because I accelerate quicker and the car is simply more responsive and enjoyable to drive. It feels more like the turbo cars I owned for over a decade (Saabs), which also have great low end torque and feel snappy when you touch the gas (and get pretty good mpg too).

Unfortunately, my MPG here in this hilly area has been suffering in Normal mode, by about 3-5 mpg, so I may have to revert to ECO mode or simply bite the bullet and enjoy the car
Maybe get off the throttle more often. Take your foot completely off the pedal briefly and then reapply just enough throttle to maintain the speed you're trying to maintain. You'll get the benefit of rapid acceleration with the reduced ICE useage.

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#15 Old 06-09-2013, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by venzoid View Post
Interesting. You seem to be saying that there are better driving environments for eco mode versus normal mode. Do you notice worse mileage in the city on hot days with normal mode?
Well environments that don't require heavy use of the A/C or the heater.

I wouldn't notice because I'm not normally in normal mode on hot days (unless I am carrying passengers). Normal mode will drain the battery faster because of the A/C compressor working harder. I'm ok with taking a bit longer to cool the cabin, hoping that I would be out of the slow traffic to keep the battery charge up. Today, it wasn't too hot (20C at that time of day) and I was hitting every traffic light on each block. I had to go 5 blocks, make a left (couldn't turn due to heavy traffic) and then move down several blocks thereafter in bumper-to-bumper traffic. My battery drained to 2 bars and the engine had to come on. I'm early in the tank but that idle cost me my average (4.0 to 4.1L/100km) and now I'm stuck between 4.1 an 4.2L/100km to end the day). This was on ECO mode. I'm sure the battery would've dropped faster in normal mode.

If you aren't using the A/C, just the fan, I'd say go in normal mode.

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