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My Rav4 Hybrid is the first hybrid car I have owned and I find myself a little obsessed about trying to get the EC light to stay on as much as possible! My question is, what is the real world difference in this particular vehicle between trying to maximize the use of the EV, and not worrying about it with respect to MPG? Has anyone done a test where one tank they strictly try and see how much they can use EV, and the next tank not pay any attention to it whatsoever and compare the MPG averages? I'm sure there is a difference, but I'm curious just how much of a difference that would be? Perhaps I would be less obsessed with keeping it on if it were a small amount. Thoughts?
 

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Keep the system in ECO mode and drive sensibly. Obviously staying in EV as much as possible is good. But if you discharge the traction battery too far, you expend more gas recharging it.

What works best for you depends on your driving environment and driving style, so you have to work that out for yourself. You don't have to go slower than anyone else on the road.
 

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My question is, what is the real world difference in this particular vehicle between trying to maximize the use of the EV, and not worrying about it with respect to MPG?
I suspect that the EPA ratings reflect just about the best obtainable mileage one could get by maximizing EV mode. I doubt you'd see a significant difference between "normal" driving and driving trying to maximize EV use unless your normal is a very aggressive style.
 

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I suspect that the EPA ratings reflect just about the best obtainable mileage one could get by maximizing EV mode. I doubt you'd see a significant difference between "normal" driving and driving trying to maximize EV use unless your normal is a very aggressive style.
Actually the opposite. EPA numbers are obtained by driving the car the same as any other car. They represent an average, or for the most part a worst-case number. In warm climates its very possible to beat the EPA city numbers by 25-30%. EPA highway numbers tend to be closer to reality.
 

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I suspect that the EPA ratings reflect just about the best obtainable mileage one could get by maximizing EV mode.
After my first tank of gas, I disagree with that. It's been fairly cold and I'm first "learning" how to drive a hybrid. Perhaps 5% highway driving, and the rest is "suburban" driving (which isn't the same as "city" driving.) 38 MPG.

I suspect that when the weather warms up and I get more proficient understanding what the car wants (and I move past the break-in period), I'll probably average closer to 40 MPG.
 

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Since buying my Hybrid 2 months ago I have been obsessed with maximizing my EV travel and I am not sure I could stop cold turkey. But sometimes when on the phone while driving and not paying attention to the EV light or display I normally still see great MPG at the end of my trip. I am amazed by how diff of a driver I am when driving a Hybrid, its like suddenly nothing else matters, I never rush or feel the need to take off, its like I became an old man driver over night. Its all about that silly avg mpg number. My summer ride is a BMW M3 and I fear I will never drive it the same again after driving a hybrid.
 

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I had a Prius for 5 years, and there are many threads on Prius forums about maximizing MPG. I'm sure what applies for a Prius applies to the RAV4 hybrid, for the most part. It can be difficult to increase the MPG, and it's not very intuitive.

I've found that the MPG killers are warming up the engine, driving fast up a long steep hill, and high speed in general. What really helps MPG is rolling hills at modest speeds. This effectively forces you to "pulse and glide."

I've had the BEST MPG when driving slowly up a steep mountain road, and then down the other side on a road that's not steep. Basically all of the gas is used on the way up, with the engine running at peak efficiency. Then the other side going down you're just coasting, using no gas at all.
 

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...what is the real world difference in this particular vehicle between trying to maximize the use of the EV, and not worrying about it with respect to MPG?
This is a common misunderstanding. You get the highest efficiency when you minimize use of the electrical aspect of the car. All of the electricity is generated by the gas engine. The least efficient use of it is to power a generator to charge batteries, which are later discharged to power an electric motor. Each step of that chain loses energy.

The most efficient way to drive the car is to power it only by gas, near the top end of the "ECO" range, and to coast at low speeds (where the engine stops turning). This leads directly to the "pulse and glide" technique, used by hyper-milers.
:D
 

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In warm climates its very possible to beat the EPA city numbers by 25-30%. EPA highway numbers tend to be closer to reality.
On my two vehicles, I have never reached the EPA city numbers on one and never exceeded the city rating by more than 10% on the other. The latter consistently beats the highway rating. So my experience is different.
 

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On my two vehicles, I have never reached the EPA city numbers on one and never exceeded the city rating by more than 10% on the other. The latter consistently beats the highway rating. So my experience is different.
Here's the lifetime banner from my Prius-v, which has a 42mpg combined rating: (High of 53mpg)



Averaging around 40mpg on my second tank in the Rav4 in town.
If you can't beat the EPA's rating for city driving, that's down to your driving style.
 

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My wife's RAV is a little over a week old and without doing any other than driving it she got 36.1 mpg on her first tank...and believe me she know nothing about this stuff. Mines 2 days old and todays maiden voyage to work yielded me 35.3 going (very little traffic) and 40.3 coming home (moderate traffic) 19.1 miles each way so it was a decent trip. I had a 2006 Prius so I know how to make love to the gas peddle ;-)
 

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I'm starting to think the best way to drive this rav4 HV is to just drive it... and stop obsessing over dash icons and pretty pictures on the head unit.

Try it...
 

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If you can't beat the EPA's rating for city driving, that's down to your driving style.
I think it's more likely because we live within 3 or 4 miles of every grocery store and retail outlet we visit so our city driving is really mostly short hop stuff. I would says it's our "driving conditions" rather than "driving style." :wink
 

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I think it's more likely because we live within 3 or 4 miles of every grocery store and retail outlet we visit so our city driving is really mostly short hop stuff. I would says it's our "driving conditions" rather than "driving style." :wink
There's a penalty for short trips, but mostly in cold weather. In warm weather, not so much.
 

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There's a penalty for short trips, but mostly in cold weather. In warm weather, not so much.
You're right and we probably come close in warm weather. I haven't calculated the city mileage in a long time but the computer typically ranges from 13-15 in the winter and the EPA city rating is 16. The Rav4 will be a substantial improvement, almost double in the city, based on what's being reported here.
 

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Eager to hear the results of your experiment @Trihard.
Ok, so I just finished my experiment. I did a whole tank where I was very careful to get the yellow car on and keep it on as much as possible. Given this is my first hybrid, I didn't have a feel for hyper-miling that I heard about but I definitely tried not to go to the top of the power zone. I drove 401 miles and the average said 41.3 mpg. The next tank I purposefully moved my dash display so I wouldn't see the average and I just tried to drive without worrying about how hard I pressed the gas or how much I accelerated quickly. I tried my best not to be influenced by the yellow car light. I drove 409 miles and the average was 38.1 mpg.

This is only 2 tanks of sample, but I was pretty pleased that I was able to get 38.1 without worrying about it. Although I like the idea of getting the most of the electric part of the car, being able to accelerate better at certain times while still getting excellent mileage is great!
 

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Ok, so I just finished my experiment. I did a whole tank where I was very careful to get the yellow car on and keep it on as much as possible. Given this is my first hybrid, I didn't have a feel for hyper-miling that I heard about but I definitely tried not to go to the top of the power zone. I drove 401 miles and the average said 41.3 mpg. The next tank I purposefully moved my dash display so I wouldn't see the average and I just tried to drive without worrying about how hard I pressed the gas or how much I accelerated quickly. I tried my best not to be influenced by the yellow car light. I drove 409 miles and the average was 38.1 mpg.

How many gallons of gas for the 810 miles?
 

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Comparing the speed as seen by the 2016 Limited Hybrid computer ( using OBDII ) and speed as seen by GPS



This was from my phone which I believe has very accurate location services. On a flat, straight road.

I need to set the cruise control 1 MPH higher than the posted speed to compensate for the inaccuracy of the vehicle speed sensor.
 
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