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Flaw drains gas from hybrid vehicles
Defroster, AC lower mileage

Mark Phelan
Detroit Free Press
Mar. 26, 2005 12:00 AM

There's a loophole in how most hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles work, and countless gallons of gasoline are draining out of them.

Running the front defroster increases their fuel consumption drastically, as I discovered while driving three of them during Detroit's typically cold winter. Setting the air-conditioning on maximum cool has the same effect, so the problem is not limited to Northern regions.

None of the automakers admits knowing how much this increases the hybrids' fuel consumption, but one estimate is that drivers use the defroster or max the air-conditioner 10 percent of the time behind the wheel each year.
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The Ford Escape SUV, Honda Accord and Toyota Prius hybrids all fell far short of the fuel economy figures the companies advertise.

Hybrids, which use electric motors to supplement their gasoline engines, have won wide acclaim for the extremely high mileage they achieve in tests by the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the EPA, the Prius, the best-selling hybrid, gets 60 miles per gallon in city driving and 51 mpg on the highway. The Escape is rated at 36 and 31, the Accord 29 and 37.

The hybrids fell as much as 40 percent below the EPA mileage figures for combined city and highway driving during my recent test, which covered a mix of Detroit-area roads.

The Escape, the largest of the three vehicles, did fairly well, giving me 21.6 mpg. The Accord, which Honda promotes both for its fuel efficiency and the added performance of its electric motor, got 20.4 mpg. The Prius' fuel economy suffered the most, but particularly cold and slippery weather conditions certainly contributed to its 22.8 mpg.

A sophisticated feature that shuts the gasoline engine off when it's not needed is one of the key reasons the vehicles score so well with the EPA, but the Escape, Accord and Civic all lose that ability when the front defroster is on.

Nobody really knows how much of the time drivers use the front defroster or max AC. The best guess comes from Ford, which has 30-year-old research that says it's about 10 percent of the time for all drivers in the United States.

The Prius can operate its front defroster when the gasoline engine is off, but cold weather keeps the engine from shutting down as often and for as long as it does when the defroster is not engaged.

All three vehicles I drove probably got somewhat better fuel economy in my test than if I'd been driving conventional models, but this is just the latest example of hybrids falling short of the hype that surrounds them.

source: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepubli ... brids.html
 

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That article was actually written in February, and the author later published a follow-up that quoted some hybrid owners...
 

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I doubt the writer mentioned has driven a Honda.

Honda runs the air conditioning to dry the air on defrost mode. Since the A/C is not quite proportionately smaller on subcompacts, fuel economy will suffer.
 

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Well everybody knows that if you turn the AC on your milage dips severely on every car ever. You just need to solve for k (some ratio of sweat over gas) where the sum of your sweat leaked out of you is equal to the sum of gasoline consumed by the car used times k. Then you'll know where to draw the line and turn it on and off.

This front defroster problem I have noticed but my dips are in the 5-10mpg (1-3 bars on the display) category not 66% less of what's advertised... guess thats why insights werent tested. I am not too familiar with the electrical system but I imagine the something has to be working (using power) to push the air. So only in hybrids where electricity used * mpg = that pesky k (k would be some max output i guess) again would we notice that using more electricity means less mpg.

are these equations physcially true, i have no idea but if i make them up then use them to make my point they cant be wrong.
 

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This was in the Arizona Republic?

*feh* Moving on to another thread now.

He's probably one of the guys who put a propane barbeque tank in the back of his pickup and claimed the tax break.
 

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Since I am still laughing, I can only assume that rather than being one of the 'Idiotz' he must be a comedian.

Man, what he wrote is so funny that you don't even have to read it to laugh, you can just think about how hard you laughed when you read it the first time, and then you can laugh again without reading it at all!

He unwittingly developed a digital solution to depression, with no pills to swallow.
 

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This joker must have been driving with his parking brake on and beating the crap out of the cars to get such bad mileage. :roll:

A friend of mine who who lives in Minnesota has been driving a new 2004 Prius for about 2 months. She has been averaging 42 miles to the gallon in the winter! She often takes passengers and has done no modifications to her car.
 

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That was printed in the Arizona Republic last weekend. I've already written the author an email. And though the article is pretty negative overall I think at least part of the focus was needed. That being that Hybrids aren't magical machines that will deliver advertised mileage with your foot to the floor. I really wish he would have pointed out that the auto manufacturers are only allowed to advertise EPA ratings though.

BTW, the authors email address is:

[email protected] :lol:
 
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