Thursday, September 18, 2014

Prius Aerodynamics and Improvements!

When thinking of the Prius, most people know much of it's efficiency is in it's shape, but there are still things one can do to improve its aerodynamics for personal use, even more than an automaker might be able to justify!

A quick search even reveals: "Prius Boat Tail For Sale". While it is a rough looking item - it still gets improvements to the basic cars MPG!

Others use a whole lot of other 'Tricks' to get more MPG - like the story on HybridCars.Com where they exceeded 75 MPG!

I like the Boat Tail idea - for the sake of conversations, attention, and results.
Even Green Car Reports covers this idea!

A Google Search for "prius boat tails" gets a lot of pictures to review, as well as a lot of regular webpages and stories on the subjects.

I also found a recent source of Trailer hitches for the 2004 Prius - rated for 200 lbs tongue weight, (2,000 Lbs trailer weight, but that was the hitch, not necessarily - the cars capabilities!) and if the tongue weight is that much - it would be a strong enough place to slide in a quickly attachable Boat Tail Accessory!
The Google Search lists a lot of relevant pages on the subject, instructions for installation, Examples and growing pains, and similar videos, too.

Weather a full boat tail, or just a light weight air deflector, having a separate hard point like a hitch to connect it to is better than hacking into the car!

Just some thought to think about for a potential future Project!

I would like to do a full flat bottom pan, first, to improve the Car Underbody Aerodynamics, which could be followed by an Airdam improvement to match!

Some of these same improvements could be done to my 2010 Kia SOUL as well!

My Kia SOUL at EV Fest 2012! (The Soul EV is Coming , to Canada, too!)
It already has an Accessories hitch, designed for things like a bike rack! This e-Trailer Bike Rack has a 70 Lbs Limit, but the full on Soul Trailer Hitches have a 200 Lb Tongue Weight Limit! At least we know it won't pull off the trailer hitch!

The Bike Rack could be a core element of attaching the Boat Tail, if that was kept under the 70 Lbs and didn't add too much levering force!

More thoughts later!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

7 Day Sale on EV Fest 2014 Tickets!

I have opened up a special Discount for those who act quickly - and buy their EV Fest 2014  Tickets online before June 7th, 2014 at Midnight!

In celebrating the Exhibitors who have committed to exhibit at EV Fest 2014 - I am giving 1% off for Each Exhibitor Registered! 

Want a Higher Discount? Encourage others to register in this last week - Here are the choices: 

See my announcement here: 
"Over 22 Register #EVFest2014 Exhibitors (Some have multiple Exhibit Registrations!)"

Just use code "22Exhibitors" to get your discount - or use This Link to go directly to the ticket ordering page with the discount applied!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Litres Per Day: My Record - as tallied on Monday, June 3, 2013

Starting from my first Gas Fill of the Prius at 185,750 Kms on the Odometer - and going forward to the latest receipt entered in my new spreadsheet - 2004 Prius Gas Consumption Chart - I see that for the most part my values were in a consistent range average per tank of about 1-2 Litres of fuel per day. There were two spikes - where the Fuel Use per day went way up - one being attributed to an erroneous fuel pump that shut off early - not actually filling the cars tank, and the second - being related to a drive to Detroit to the Auto Show in January.

Unfortunately - the data was not recorded with any significant notes to clarify any issues - and two of the receipts got washed out heavily due to a spill undiscovered until yesterday, and one receipt was only the payment - not the fuel use - which I just discovered! So the Two spikes in the fuel use are best guesses based on the calendar and memory!

 Below is the Chart's Data Source:

So - it can be seen that my typical daily Fuel Consumption in this vehicle comes in at a range of 0.85 Litres per day - to 2.22 Litres per day - not counting the two peaks, with the two peaks at over 9 litres per day.

Taking into account the total data shown above, the average for the given period = 2.57 L/Day, with an average per day driving distance of 24 Kms for the period total.

These Numbers are not total foot print figures - since I also have still the KIA Soul from July 2010, and it is sometimes driven while the Prius sits at home - so that it does not sit out a whole month, and with averages on it in the vicinity of 6.5 - 12 L/100 Km Depending on trip length, efficiency tactics, and traffic issues - with a common figure of about 8.2 L/100 Km - that brings the total foot print up somewhat, but also - in driving the Prius more frequently - means the KIA does not use as much fuel since it is not too often driven on short trips - but is taken out for longer trips, more freeway driving but generally mixed Highway / City driving.

The Total Distance driven since October 18th, 2012 = 5,319 Kms, over 223 days, using 361 Litres of Fuel, costing $447.24 in total - averaging $1.239 per litre overall.

The Average Fuel Consumption - adjusted to remove the two spikes = 5.889 L/100 Kms, and the adjusted Litres per Day = 2.153, with an average adjusted per day driving distance of just 21.8 Kms.

This Might be a bit of a Tip-off - but maybe it will help in deciding what YOU think I will burn going to North Bay - as in my Post Challenge Poll!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Think Litres Per Day vs. L/100 Km, Think: PHEV or EV

Most Canadians are now up to speed on thinking in terms of Litres per 100 Kilometers (L/100 Km), yet some are still thinking in Miles Per Gallon (Mpg), but in Either Case - I suggest a more important figure - or Number - in your search for Fuel Efficiency: L/Day - or Litres per Day; and it's relatives: L/Week; L/Month, and L/Year!

The Reason is simple - everyone experiences the same 24 hours in a day - No more - no less, and the planet spins us once for that 24 hours. In this - we are all equal - not counting those the are among the days dearly departed.

Also - in terms of cleaning up the atmosphere - the planet could care less how much you drive - but it might notice how much fuel you burn! Hence - L/Day.

So - what is an obtainable Figure in terms of L/Day? For that - let's consider 4 examples: Someone who walks to work, but drives the kids 5 Kms to their after school games, just 3 X a Week; A Short Distance Commuter covering just 10 Kms per day; a Mid distance commuter who drives 60 Km Per day, and a Long Distance Commuter that drives 190 Kms per day (IE: Barrie - Toronto - Return).

If the Drivers each have the same vehicle - that delivers 9.0 L/100 Kms average Fuel Burn, what would be the effect of switching to a Vehicle with a 5.0 L/100 Km Average Fuel Burn?

Let's put those numbers into easier forms to work with:
9.0 L/100 Km = 0.09 L/Km; and
5.0 L/100 Km = 0.05 L/Km.

Our Walker - would use no fuel for the commute, and for driving 5 Kms for three times in the week - with the first vehicle - would burn 15 x 0.09 Litres of Fuel = 1.35 Litres Per 5 day Week, or an average per day usage of 0.27 L/Day. With the second vehicle - the numbers would become 0.75 Litres per 5 Day Week, for a daily average of 0.15 L/Day. That is about half, and about what we would expect given the two selections.

Our Short distance Commuter who drives 10 Kms per day - or 50 Kms per week, would use - in the first vehicle 4.5 Litres Fuel per week, or 0.9 L/Day. With the Second Vehicle - the numbers would be 2.5  Litres per week, and 0.5 L/Day.

Our Mid Distance Commuter - driving 60 Kms per day or 300 Kms per week, would with the first vehicle use 27 Litres Fuel for the Week, or 5.4 L/Day. Changing to the Second Vehicle - The Consumption would drop to 15 Litres per week, and that equals 3.0 L/Day.

Our Long Distance Commuter Example above - driving 95.0 Kms each way to work, and back, for 190 Kms per day, when using the first vehicle, would consume 85.5 Litres of Fuel for the week, or just 17.1 L/Day. If they switched to the More economical 5.0 L/100 Km Vehicle - they would still use 47.5 Litres fuel per week, or 9.5 L/Day.

In Summary:

Example           Vehicle 1 @ 9.0 L/100 Kms       Vehicle 2 @ 5.0 L/100 Kms

Walker + Games                    0.27 L/Day                                    0.15 L/Day
Short Commuter                      0.9 L/Day                                      0.5 L/Day
Mid commuter                          5.4 L/Day                                      3.0 L/Day
Long Range Commuter          17.1 L/Day                                     9.5 L/Day

From this quick tally - it can be seen that the Long Range Commuter, even if switching to a vehicle nearly twice as fuel efficient, because of his driving distance - will still burn More Fuel than someone 1/3rd the commuting distance, but with a vehicle with about half the efficiency,

For the Long Distance Commuter to get his Daily Fuel Burn down even to the level of the mid Commuter's worse level, they would have to switch to a vehicle with an efficiency of 2.84 L/100 Km, then it could net a daily consumption of just 0.0284 x 190 = 5.396 L/Day.

To get Anywhere near that low fuel burn - as an average - it would take finding a vehicle with a fuel burn that is one-third as thirsty, and mostly today - that would reach into the territory of Plug-In Hybrids like the Toyota Prius PHV, and the Equivalency Ratings of Electric Vehicles! (MPGe)

Three Things are evident in this quick comparison:
1) Carpooling would increase the Effective, or 'Per Person', or 'Seat Miles Per Gallon' type of efficiency;
2) Moving closer to work is a great way to burn less fuel per day; and
3) Walking to Work is the least fuel dependent (but generally requires a much closer distance to work)

So depending on the options or desires to Move Closer to work so as to Reduce the Commute, the alternatives come down to switching a vehicle (or two - depending on each vehicles usage cycle) - to a more fuel efficient vehicle.

If the bottom line is fuel consumption improvements - not just cost, the lowest fuel burning vehicle is the one that burns no fuel - an All Electric Vehicle! Next to that - and from this example - for all but the longest range commuter - there are choices of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles that offer between about  20 Kms, and those that offer 43 Kms, or even over 55 Kms of All Electric Range*1.

*1. All Electric Range (AER), a Term used in Plug-in Hybrids to define how far they will go before the Electric Only mode is supplanted by the starting of the Engine (Typically Gas, but Diesels are Coming) to generate Electricity or Power to keep moving.

Other Related Stories:
Plug-in hybrid Prius a money saver for urban drivers
Alternative Fuels Data Center - Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles
2012 Toyota Prius PHV Plug-in Hybrid
Ford Fusion Energi (Quietly) Rated at 21 Miles Electric, 43 MPG Extended (21 Miles = ~33 Kms)
Ford Fusion Energy - Wikipedia
Fusion plugs into new motivation
Long drive proves Volt works
First Look: 2012 Chevrolet Volt

Further conversations on this thought will discuss the MPGe or L/100e figures of All Electric of Battery Electric Vehicles with no other Engine or propulsion system, in Future Posts.

I Walked to work today - Instead of Driving my Prius!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Vote on Fuel Used to North Bay, and Back - Highway part of drive

Google Maps Says - that from Downsview/Yorkdale area in Toronto, to North Bay is about 330 Kms:
would take 3 hours 22 mins, driving up the 400 to Hwy 11, and up Hwy 11 to North Bay. I have never been to North Bay, Ontario and am thinking of taking a drive up there with my 2004 Prius. 

What I would like to do - is to get your estimates of what you think I should get for average Fuel Economy for that trip - fueling up to top off the Tank before departing, and fueling up once I get into North Bay! I will put a little poll here to gather your thoughts, as to what you think should be my Fuel Economy.

What Fuel Economy Should I get on the Drive to North Bay, Ontario in my 2004 Prius? free polls 

Please make a selection as to what YOU think should be MY fuel burn - based on what I have shared so far in this blog. There may be a few stops, at rest areas, small towns, etc., for snacks, or what have you - but based on my driving the car so far - each way should be under one tank of gas, but I don't think both ways can be done on one tack (at my current Eco-Driving-Skill Level)!

Hybrids, Plug-in Hybrids, and Electric Vehicles!

While this blog is about my learning experiences with my 2004 Prius - it is also about the pathway of moving from Gas (100%) to Electric (100%) and the steps in between! As this vehicle was bought with the intent to do a personal update and move it from just a Gasoline Fueled Hybrid, to an Electric and Gasoline fueled Hybrid - or - in other words - a "Plug-in Hybrid", it will be undergoing changes along the way, as we move to the Personal Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle state (PPHV)!

Along the way - just a while before I bought this car - Toyota themselves - finally were happy to bring out to the market a Plug in Prius of their own (after a lengthy Test Series across Canada, and a new battery pack)! - and have a Prius Facebook page that covers many of it's points! (July 17, 2012 Announcement!)
2012 Toyota Prius PHV (Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle)
Prius PHV (Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle)

While I am not yet up to the stage of buying yet another new vehicle - The Prius Family in Toyota's Yard is definitely growing! I think the Prius PHV - drive train ideas, could be well received if adapted to the new Prius V! (And Maybe even the new Baby - the Prius C!

Of course - a New OEM purchase would likely be better than an aftermarket Plug-in Hybrid Add-In to my car - but I saved about $30.000 buying this used one - so there is a bit of room to convert it to a PHEV of my own.

Also - as today is the last day of the Canadian International Auto Show - I should mention the Eco Drive Showcase on display there (Click the link - click Features, and scroll down to it for an explanation) - in the South building - 800 Level this year!  - CIAS Facebook Page.

One thing I was particularly looking at was the All Electric Vehicles - following my first interest - began about 6 years ago, with the acquisition of the Electric Firefly - My Electricfly!

Currently - the best pick for me in the new EV's is starting to look like the Mercedes Smart ED! (ED=Electric Drive) The Display at the Eco Drive Showcase shows a range of 138 Kms. for it, and my longest local drive loop is generally about 85 Kms! It fits me in size, I don't have to concern myself with low height back seats, the range is about right, and the price seems spot on!
2013 Mercedes Smart ED - Electric Drive

Listed in terms of the posted EV Range - were the Mitsubishi iMiEV at 100 Kms, the Nissan LEAF at 117 Kms, the Smart ED at 138 Kms Range, and finally the Ford Focus EV at 153 Kms Range!

In the Plug In hybrids - I did not get pictures of their marketed numbers - but from memory - They go about like this: The Prius PHV has about an 11 mile EV Mode Range, the Fords (Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi) are in at about 21 Miles EV Range, the Chevy Volt at about 38 Miles EV Range, and the Fisker Karma at about 40 Miles EV Range! After these distances - they become Gasoline Engine Driven Hybrids, in one way or another (Series, Parallel, and mixed modes).

The Smart ED now seems to be a much better vehicle - suited well for City Drives, and while not 'Cheap' (Lists at $26,900 Basic Hard-Top Model) - in Ontario - with the current Incentives - comes in as what I call - an 'Almost Cheap Electric Car!" I have more research to do yet, but it is looking like a strong contender for the class - mostly because I am not in the budget territory for the new Tesla Model S! (Which can now be seen in person at Yorkdale Mall - if you can beat back the crowds!)

As a Summary - I expect the Toyota PHV, a Tesla Roadster and a Model S, among the cars at Electric Avenue 2013! Come on out and support the May 26th, 2013 Event!

Have Fun, Drive Safe, and Keep Learning!
(Can't Go Electric Yet? Get a ScanGaugeII Trip Computer and see how well your are driving Efficiently today!)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Small Tank - Goes Long!

The Previous Tank - was draining a bit faster than I hoped for on the way to the Auto Show in Detroit, due to big, cold headwinds from the west on January 18th, 2013!

It was filled up in the Hamilton Area at Dundas & Hwy 6 Petro-Canada, after attending the Golden Horseshoe Electric Vehicle Association (GHEVA) meeting on Jan. 15th, 2013, at the North Wentworth Community Centre, and was reading a nice low figure of just 4.7 L/100 Kms (That is the reading on that tank of gas average) at the drive home (69 Kms on the tank, and 10:30 PM).

I used a bit of a blend between Coasting (big hill going down to Highway 403 from Hwy 6 & Dundas),  Gentle Driving, Route planning for the least hill climbing (took 403 to QEW to 427 to 401 - skipping the 403 north from the Ford Plant in Oakville), and Regenerative Braking to balance the battery and distance needs to get this figure.

By the time I got in 122 Kms on the tank, when I started the trip to Detroit - it was up to 5.5 L/100 Km (Short-Cold drives to work, and the like). We Stopped for a snack with a reading 5.6 L/100 Km and 266 Kms on the tank, at 6:54 PM on the 18th! I ended up stopping for Gas at Tilbury North OnRoute with 430 Kms with a reading of 5.9 L/100 Kms at 9:24 PM! We made it into Detroit and had driven 63 Kms by 10:56 PM, getting about 5.9 L/100 Kms.

I filled up in the Tilbury, Ontario, Service Centre, on my way to the opening day of the NAIAS - North America International Auto Show - Detroit, Michigan, and the same tank is still in use, after returning home and driving the last two weeks! (It is down to the last bar, but it is not yet flashing to tell me to fill up!)

A good thing - except - I could have filled up the tank when I got home and save about 8 cents a litre - since the price this last week popped up from ~ $1.22 a Litre to now at $1.30 a Litre (an increase of about 30.2 Cents per US Gallon in one week!)

The last shot I took of the Current tank when I got home, it was at 436 Kms, and reading at 5.2 L/100 Kms. With the Drives to & From work it has now risen to 5.5 L/100 Kms.

(An interesting aside - these On Route Service Centre Locations are designed by a Toronto Firm, Quadrangle Architects Limitedand Certified LEED Silver! No direct answers yet by any, on the aspect of installing Electric Vehicle Charging (level 2 or level 3) at any of the Centres. I would think - they could begin to justify adding level 3 chargers now with the CHAdeMO interface - if they take the new NISSAN QC Model - now available for a much lower price than previous chargers at this level! While the US is against the CHAdeMO interface and propose their own Enhanced J1772 Combo Plug, CHAdeMO is still the largest DC Level 3 quick charge player.)