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Hello,
I might soon buy a RAV4 Hybrid that will replace my TDI Wagon. I am waiting for the buyback that will start not before april.
I mainly use the car during weekend and the car can be parked during 5 days, but still doing 20 000 km per year (about 12 500 miles). In summer, temperature can be 30C and higher (90F) but during winter, often goes below -20C (-4F and lower), sometimes -30C (-22F).

Now the question. Is it ok if I don't use the car during 5 days during winter when temperature drops to -20C? My big concern is the battery of course. Would like your opinion, thanks.
 

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Should be fine. Especially if your car is garaged. Or even better plugged in for a while before driving. Either way though It should start easier than a gas only engine in the extreme cold. Key point is that the 12v battery only starts the electronics, the 244v traction battery actually turns the engine over with one of the hybrid motors.
Also notice I am in winterpeg and just went through my first winter with my first hybrid. No different than any other car I've had. Mileage over winter was about 11.5 l/100 kms at the coldest times and about 6.4 in summer. I got 13.5 in winter in my gas only 14 xle.
Don't expect the engine to shut off much in colder temps and not at all at coldest temps. The engine also runs to produce cabin heat.
 

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The Toyota Hybrid's nickel metal hydride main battery is much less sensitive to cold than are lead/calcium - acid batteries used to start the engine, etc. in most non-hybrid vehicles.
 
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As a fellow Montrealer, I can tell you the battery wasn't affected when parked for a few days at -20C. I tried to park my car in the garage as much as possible. Like any car, the warmer the car is at start up, the less energy it requires to get to operating temperature. Like Nodnerb said, the ICE will run more often at low temps and will effect fuel economy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the feedback. I don't have a garage but I'm planning to install the Toyota bloc-heater (433$CAN, very expensive!), I have one on my actual car and I really like it. I'm sure the car will start in any situation but my concern regarding the traction battery is the long-term durability if the battery gets very cold during a week without usage. So I shouldn't be afraid of that? Thanks!
 

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Thanks for the feedback. I don't have a garage but I'm planning to install the Toyota bloc-heater (433$CAN, very expensive!), I have one on my actual car and I really like it. I'm sure that car will start in any situation but my concern regarding the traction battery is the long-term durability if the battery gets very cold during a week without usage.
Toyota's hybrid batteries are known to handle all climates and situations exceptionally well. Replacement is quite rare and would not likely be linked to infrequent use. 20,000 km a year is more than sufficient to ensure the battery is being charged on a regular basis anyway. Dealers are quite negotiable on the Rav4 Hybrid, I am pretty sure the block heater can be installed at no extra expense to you in the deal plus additional price reductions.
 

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In MB it is mandatory that all new cars sold come equipped with a block heater. Is that not the case in MTL?
 

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In MB it is mandatory that all new cars sold come equipped with a block heater. Is that not the case in MTL?
Nope, it's an option here. In the interest of better fuel economy, Toyota should be including it. $433 dollars is absolute robbery for something that could be done by any mechanic for under $150.
 

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Nope, it's an option here. In the interest of better fuel economy, Toyota should be including it. $433 dollars is absolute robbery for something that could be done by any mechanic for under $150.
Totally! I'm sure the cost is bundled into the price for us as well, just like wheel locks which I didn't want but got charged for.
 

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Nope, it's an option here. In the interest of better fuel economy, Toyota should be including it.
FWIW, the block heater has almost no impact on fuel economy after the first few minutes of driving. On the whole it saves no money at all. Its strictly a comfort option, giving you heat sooner.

I'll add that given the low compression engine with 0-20 synthetic oil, it'll make no difference to the engine either. The ICE is spun up to 1000rpm and well lubricated before it fires.
 

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I'm sure the car will start in any situation but my concern regarding the traction battery is the long-term durability if the battery gets very cold during a week without usage.
A NiCd battery isn't a steak. :D Freezing it is actually good. While sitting unused the battery will discharge slower at colder temperatures.
 

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FWIW, the block heater has almost no impact on fuel economy after the first few minutes of driving. On the whole it saves no money at all. Its strictly a comfort option, giving you heat sooner.

I'll add that given the low compression engine with 0-20 synthetic oil, it'll make no difference to the engine either. The ICE is spun up to 1000rpm and well lubricated before it fires.
I tend to disagree. The warm up times in mexico will be far different than warm up times in the middle of Canada. If it's -20C to -35C I always plug my car in, if possible(and not in a garage). If it's -20 or colder and I don't plug my car in the operating temp doesn't reach the mid guage until 30-45 minutes of driving. In fact the guage doesn't even move for the first 10 minutes of driving. If it's been plugged in, it gets to temp in 5-10 minutes.
 

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I tend to disagree. The warm up times in mexico will be far different than warm up times in the middle of Canada. If it's -20C to -35C I always plug my car in, if possible(and not in a garage). If it's -20 or colder and I don't plug my car in the operating temp doesn't reach the mid guage until 30-45 minutes of driving. In fact the guage doesn't even move for the first 10 minutes of driving. If it's been plugged in, it gets to temp in 5-10 minutes.
You're missing the point. the block hearer is a small 400W unit that consumes electricity. It heats the block to about 80-90'F, depending on ambient temp. The ICE will warm to about the same 80-90'F temp in a couple minutes of run time without the block heater. It has nothing to do with "operating temp".
The real drag on winter efficiency is the cost of keeping the ICE warm while driving, and the cost of heating the cabin. Not to mention the increased drag from cold tires and chassis. None of those things are affected by the startup temp.

I promise you there are no cost savings from the block heater, its comfort only. For the first minute or so the coolant temp actually drops and levels off from mixing.

This has all been studied at length with the Prius models. The very best you can hope for is a break even when comparing the minimal gas savings with the cost of electricity. The block heater reaches max block heating after 2-3 hours, after that point the heat is lost to the engine compartment and nearby hardware. So leaving it plugged in overnight or longer is pure wasted energy.
 

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You're missing the point. the block hearer is a small 400W unit that consumes electricity. It heats the block to about 80-90'F, depending on ambient temp. The ICE will warm to about the same 80-90'F temp in a couple minutes of run time without the block heater. It has nothing to do with "operating temp".
The real drag on winter efficiency is the cost of keeping the ICE warm while driving, and the cost of heating the cabin. Not to mention the increased drag from cold tires and chassis. None of those things are affected by the startup temp.

I promise you there are no cost savings from the block heater, its comfort only. For the first minute or so the coolant temp actually drops and levels off from mixing.

This has all been studied at length with the Prius models. The very best you can hope for is a break even when comparing the minimal gas savings with the cost of electricity. The block heater reaches max block heating after 2-3 hours, after that point the heat is lost to the engine compartment and nearby hardware. So leaving it plugged in overnight or longer is pure wasted energy.
Well I won't argue but I still respectfully disagree. If your theory was correct my car would warm up just as fast in any temperature. Plugging a car in reduces extreme cold warm up time by up to 20 minutes which indeed improves efficiency. But efficiency aside, the real issue is start up wear on the engine at -20 and below temps (and down to -35C where some of us Canadians live). Despite the oil used, it is far greater the colder it gets. The people who live in extreme cold climates will understand and agree. But I do agree anything over 3-4 hours is a waste and I agree, efficiency is based on far more in winter than just a block heater.

Have to agree to disagree. :handshake:
 

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the real issue is start up wear on the engine at -20 and below temps (and down to -35C where some of us Canadians live). Despite the oil used, it is far greater the colder it gets. :
There is zero "start up wear" on the hybrid system ICE at any temp. The synthetic 0 weight oil flows the same at -40F as it does at +100F.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I totally agree with Nodnerb. The block heater will be very usefull at my second house, up north, where it's much colder when leaving in the morning for alpin skiing. Without block heater at -20/-30, the engine doesn't even reach his temperature after 25 minutes and with the block heater... 5 minutes. It has been proven, specially in very cold climate (under -10C), that the block heater not only makes the engine to start easier, it's better for the mechanics, heat the cabin faster, better mpg sooner (and less pollution). Here in Quebec, electricity is very cheap. As an example, it cost 1$CAN per day to charge an electric vehicule, so you can imagine that a 400W bloc heater running for 2 hours will cost few cents. A big study has been made in 2008 about the block heater (in French): https://www.caaquebec.com/fileadmin/documents/tips/images/Chauffe-moteur_Hiver_2009.pdf

You can read a summary in english : https://www.caaquebec.com/en/on-the-road/advice/tips-and-tricks/tip-and-trick/show/sujet/block-heater-get-connected/

If your commute is 20 km, you can save money. Of course, you don't buy this only to save money because we're not talking about saving hundred dollars per year, but I love the way the engine runs when it's hot. I saw the difference with and without block heater and I'm addict to it. At 433$, I know I will not save enough money to pay the "investment".

Thank to all for all your comments, I appreciate.
 

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^^^ That's all good information, but unfortunately has no bearing on hybrid system operations. People really should forget everything they know about non hybrid systems, because none of it applies here.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
^^^ That's all good information, but unfortunately has no bearing on hybrid system operations. People really should forget everything they know about non hybrid systems, because none of it applies here.
In the document (in French), it says the bloc heater has been tested on a Prius and they also got 15% better mpg with the bloc heater (for a 20 km commute), so it does affect Hybrids also since they use a ICE.
 

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In the document (in French), it says the bloc heater has been tested on a Prius and they also got 15% better mpg with the bloc heater (for a 20 km commute), so it does affect Hybrids also since they use a ICE.
Those numbers won't be matched by a Rav, but for the sake of argument:
Using US figures, assuming a Prius doing roughly 40 mpg in frigid temps and fuel costing $2.50/gal, that's a savings of about 8 cents. (roughly 1c per mile). Assuming you left the car plugged in for more than an hour, you lost money. And beyond that distance the savings are non-existent.

I would use a heater in those conditions too, I just wouldn't claim it was for cost savings or wear savings.

There's some credible Prius research suggesting that it saves just as much fuel to just let the car sit and idle for 2 min before driving. Its the driving in "open loop" mode for the first couple minutes that really sucks down the fuel. Once the system switches to closed loop you lose most of the benefit of the pre-heating.
 
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