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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
While building a RAV4 Hybrid, I came across possible dealer-installed Exterior Accessories and noted the Block Heater listed for $471 Canadian dollars.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B49jnI2SkaiTQXJwYXVSck4yckU/view?usp=sharing

Block Heater
Installed Price: $471.00

Makes a cold weather start a breeze. A custom-designed system with 400 watts of heating power not only warms the vehicle up quicker but also reduces engine strain and wear. The Block Heater also helps save fuel and battery power during startups and the strain relief electrical cord reduces cord damage.


Because the battery needs to get warmed up to get better fuel savings, does it make sense to go for this option? I live in Canada so we do experience cold to sometimes frigid temperatures.

What kind of dealer installation are we talking about, I thought it was a plug and play type of thing? :)
 

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It's a good idea, hybrid or not, but the installed price is exorbitant. My BIL in AK has one on his 2008 RAV4. The hardest part of the install was finding the hole it pops into.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Over at Prius Chat,
Car cold: Driving tips for short distances especially when its cold outside | Page 2 | PriusChat

I agree that the following which has already been identified in previous posting - that
these strategies will help a Prius' MPG in the winter for trips under 3 mph:

1) minimize the use of the heater ( dress warmly) -
2) minimize the use of the defroster ( by scraping off the ice from the windshield, treating the windshield with a anti fog chemical)
3) use a engine block heater to warm up your car ( 15 minutes t o 45 minutes using a 400w Toyota EBH). --> Seems like it can really make a difference over time especially if heating up will get the RAV4 to EV mode quicker
4) grill blocking helps the Prius retain heat... some like the hobbit have tried adding insulation inside the engine compartment too. --> Will this be possible on the 2016?
5) keep your tire pressure up (or over inflate your tire by 7 psi) will help a Prius coast/glide regardless of the driving temperature. Portable tire air compressors that use 12vdc will more than likely blow the Prius's power adapter fuse. The rubber tubing using in hand operated tire pumps will likely crack and break in temperatures below freezing.
6) drive at a low speed (under 25 mph) while the car is warming up (for the first 5 minutes after a cold start)
7) glide/coast as soon as you can ( in Neutral if it is legal).
8) do short trips in close succession
9) When the outside temperature falls below freezing and there is a risk that my Prius might get stuck in a traffic jam I set my throttle to PWR mode to use the ICE more - to keep the ICE warm.. --> Not sure if this applies to the RAV4
10) if the Prius is going to sit still for longer than 15 minutes in a traffic jam in driving temperatures below freezing - you can save gas by turning the Prius off for 15 minutes or longer and restarting the Prius when you start moving again or when you have to reheat the cabin to avoid freezing to death.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Looks like it really does work,

Block heater analysis | PriusChat
The transition to get stage 4 is 70C (the point it will shut off below 35mph).


engine block heater | PriusChat
After installing the heater, I started getting a 40 mpg bar, followed by steady 50 mpg bars. So for me, the difference was 15-20 mpg during the first 10 minutes of each commute.

So: if you have a 10 minute commute, the change will be HUGE. If you have a longer commute, only the first 10 minutes will improve and they're a smaller part of your overall driving, so the overall improvement will be less.

My commute is about 35 minutes one way, so the improvement covered about 1/3 of my morning commute (no plug in the lot at work, so no help on the reverse leg). Looking at my mileage log, it looks like I got an overall improvement of about 5-6 mpg after installing the block heater.

The benefits of the EBH lies primarly in one place: Allowing you the possibility of reaching stage 4 before you exit your neighborhood...


Another tip I found:
The problem is when the engine is cold, the engine is terribly inefficient with any sort of load. Putting it in "N" during warmup, minimizes the inefficient fuel burn.
 
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