By on August 7, 2016

About the only plug-in action most Prius owners get. Picture courtesy Toyota.

The short-lived Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid was never a popular vehicle, and the subject of one man’s lawsuit could answer why.

A suit filed against Toyota in an eastern Michigan court claims the plaintiff’s 2012 Prius Plug-in didn’t come close to offering the meager advertised range of the upgraded hybrid, CarComplaints reports.

In its advertising, Toyota claimed the model (built from 2012 to 2015) was good for 13 miles of all-electric driving, after which the vehicle switched to normal hybrid operation. Richard Rosenbaum claims his Prius Plug-in only achieved eight miles of range, and that number sometimes fell to three miles, even with an all-night charge.

Rosenbaum said bought the car to commute 12 miles, and hadn’t expected to use gasoline during the trip. In May of 2015, he took his vehicle to the dealer to address the low range.

According to CarComplaints, “Rosenbaum says a test was conducted and after the test the Prius started getting 10 miles on a single charge, causing the plaintiff to believe Toyota did something to alter the car.”

The automaker denies it did anything to alter the vehicle. However, Rosenbaum’s beef with Toyota goes deeper than just warm-weather range. He claims the automaker never told him the vehicle would burn gas continuously during the winter. Below 55 degrees, the Prius Plug-in operates solely as a hybrid, using the gasoline engine to provide warm coolant for the heater.

Rosenbaum never saw the gasoline savings he had hoped for. His suit alleges the automaker violated Michigan consumer protection and breach of warranty laws, as well as breach of contract violations.

In 2014, the plug-in model’s best sales year, Toyota sold 13,263 Prius Plug-ins to the regular Prius’ 122,776. The model is set to return as the 2017 Prius Prime, offering 22 miles of all-electric range, though the automaker recently pushed back the launch date.

[Image: Toyota]

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76 Comments on “Michigan Man Sues Toyota Over Prius Plug-in’s Awful Range...”


  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Angry nebbish takes a stand.

    Where are temps in the 40s and low-50s considered winter? I want to never live there.

    • 0 avatar
      rodface

      Houston. Only the best of your kind survive here, anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “Below 55 degrees, the Prius Plug-in operates solely as a hybrid”

        I thought maybe that 55 setting was determined in Aichi prefecture. May as well be Houston.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          If temp are in the mid-50s, then you’re probably going to use the heater.

          In a car such as this, that’s going to drain the battery. A standard internal combustion car would use engine heat to heat the interior of the car, but that can’t be done here. So naturally, any car that depends upon batteries to propel itself is going to lose range during colder weather.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “If temp are in the mid-50s, then you’re probably going to use the heater.”

            Yeah, sounds like something Texans or Japanese would do. Here it just means close the windows halfway.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I don’t know if I can support your cold climate addiction.

      I’ve lived in the equatorial parts of Australia. We were inland from the sea and we would still have a few cold mornings when the temperature was 48 degrees.

      But, I don’t know if I would want to live in the snow. I visit my family in the NE and after a few days of snow it becomes a pain in the ass. Parking lots are full of snow pushed up in heaps, slush, wet feet, always robing and disrobing to maintain your body temperature when around and about.

      The cold really sucks, even on a vacation, unless you go skiing or something.

      Sort of like the beach. Pictures of the beach and snow look pretty and inviting, but with the beach you end up with sand up your ass and everywhere.

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        Temperatures below 32 degrees kill insect, bacterial, and plant pests. Areas with cold winters dont have hand-size palmetto bugs, huntsman spiders, killer bees, venomous snakes, Zika virus, kudzu, deadly jellyfish swarms, tarantulas, etc…

        Winter can be a very good thing.

        • 0 avatar
          theonlydt

          We hit -20 or so here, an hour inland it can get as low as -40. (By the way, that’s miserable).

          I can attest to the fact that the northern shore here gets jellyfish, we have ticks, fleas, mosquitos, black-fly etc.

          No malaria, Zika, or West-Nile virus, though.

          At our temperatures you’re going to eat EV range, just like you destroy ICE’s fuel economy.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            I’ll bail at -20, thanks. Steel already likes to snap at that temp. Can’t imagine dealing with -40.

          • 0 avatar
            theonlydt

            Yeah, #misery

            If it were not for the changes in the materials around, I wouldn’t notice the difference between 0 and -40. They’re both just miserable.

            Funnily enough I snapped door handle off my minivan in higher temperatures, about 20 degrees – enough ice in the seam to stop the sliding doors from opening.

            Dog hates it below 0.

            Exposed skin freezes in about 10 minutes in that -40 range.

            Engine HATES it. You need a decent battery; a battery that’s fine in Florida isn’t okay up here. Large capacity 4s get lots of piston slap (makes the Nissan 2.5 sound like a direct injection diesel).

            I can’t imagine an EV would have fun – reckon it’d be best to keep it plugged in.

            Seen a few Teslas and Leafs (?) around though. Reckon a garage would be a bit warmer. Most commutes here are 25km each way or less, so Leaf works well.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Wow… do you thin engine oil with some other distillate for the most extreme temps? I’ve done that for sustained < -10.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            0W oils work fine for -40 cold starts. Most people plug in the block heater at those temps anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Dint have nothin like dat back den and poor young people got nowhere to plug nothin in. Still gotta drive to work, though.

  • avatar
    theonlydt

    Zero sympathy.

    1. You don’t buy a car with a 13 mile range for an 12 mile drive. Gasoline, electric, hybrid, PHEV, whatever.

    2. He should have done his homework before buying the car re. engine running in winter.

    3. He realised gasoline savings, as 2/3rds of his daily drive (later 5/6ths) was done on electric.

    4. He had options to purchase vehicles with larger electric only range (Ford Energi cars, Volt, Leaf)

    5. Range also depends on the driving style and type of road. If his 12 mile commute involved hard acceleration up an on-ramp to a highway and then a 70mph run (or more) that’s going to eat battery charge. My gasoline car doesn’t do well in that type of scenario either.

    6. He should have brought a Leaf.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      As a former Leaf driver, I agree with every point. He didn’t buy the right car.

    • 0 avatar

      To me, the idea that he’s upset by the EV range of this car is totally laughable.

      Imagine how that suit is going to play out in court. “Toyota’s stated range was 13 miles. You saw that range clearly stated on the window sticker didn’t you?” “Yes.” “And there was an asterisk by that claim?” “Yes.” “And you read the entire sticker?” “Yes.” “So you saw the tiny asterisk at the bottom of the sticker that said Your Mileage May Vary?” “No.” “You are aware that 13 miles isn’t very far?”

      Anyone who buys a car with an EV range of 13 miles is ____. You fill in the blank.

    • 0 avatar
      NickS

      For the second point, I would seriously question how any prospective buyer could possibly know to inquire about the engine mode at various temperatures, let alone have anyone answer authoritatively.

      There are NO salespeople with that knowledge or willing to share it with their customers.

      • 0 avatar
        theonlydt

        On your second point – absolutely. There’s not a chance he received that information, nor could have, from the dealer. Unless there’s some super-dealer in Michigan where the salespeople actually know their stuff…

        Your first point… yes and no. A 30 second check of the owner’s manual gives this:
        In winter: Because the gasoline engine will not automatically
        cut out until the gasoline engine and the interior of the vehicle
        are warm, it will consume fuel

        It seems most prius plug-in reviews are done out of winter months – maybe there’s a nefarious reason for that.

        Maybe everyone should have to answer a test on how their cars work before they’re allowed to buy?

        • 0 avatar
          NickS

          The owners manual is something you read AFTER you have already taken ownership of the car. BEFORE, your only chance is a friend mechanic who just underwent training on the specific generation of the vehicle/platform, or some journo who had access to technical material, engineers, etc.

          I really don’t understand the “zero sympathy” part. The vast majority of buyers will NOT be experts in hybrid tech, or care about knowing how it all magically works — why should they? I am an exception (I do want to know), but at some point, everyone will have to rely on the manufacturer’s claims of certain performance claims and metrics, and how they are presented. If the car maker manages the performance variations by burying yet one more qualified sentence in a sea of footnotes, a jury will be able to decide the validity of the claim.

          No, a test would be ridiculous. Consumers should be told up front what the limitations of the claims are, not find out the hard way afterwards, when there is no really good way to undo the whole confusion and misunderstanding, or the transaction.

          For the record, I am not saying that owners should be that rigid with the specs of a car.

          The accepted norm of “buyer beware” is a VERY low standard.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @NickS: The owners manual is something you read AFTER you have already taken ownership of the car. BEFORE,

            Most manufacturers of almost everything will allow you to download manuals. I looked over the manuals of the last couple of cars we bought before we even went to the dealer. With the EV, I even spent extra time studying it before I picked up the car since I had to drive it long distance to get it home.

            Just this week, I downloaded a microwave manual before buying it to get details beyond the crappy description in the ads. For me downloading the manual, especially for a major purchase like a car, is part of the research process. You can learn a lot that the ads or salesperson will never give you – especially when it comes to limitations.

          • 0 avatar
            NickS

            @mcs, you (and I) will do all those things BEFORE buying something. Should everyone be REQUIRED to, in order to uncover the limits of a mileage claim?

            If they want to sell to engineer/nerd types like me, fine, but they had better prequalify their customers for technical chops and research abilities. For the general public which will include a little old lady, or a soccer mom, etc, claiming X miles in pure EV mode and making a footnote that spells out all the ways in which the product will not meet that claim is also fine and acceptable disclosure (at least legally). I don’t know exactly why this guy wanted a hybrid that doesn’t use its ICE during his daily commute. For him, it maybe a legitimate and reasonable expectation to have based on all the information he got from the salespeople and the marketing materials.

            But FFS don’t just claim X and then say in a footnote that you will get less under some *unspecified* circumstances. That is utterly disingenuous and sets up an impossible task for the customer. You are basically telling them, “X miles in ev mode, just saying, well, … maybe, and you go figure out what we mean, or where you can find that information”. Again, you are taking for granted the buyer beware mentality, where the manufacturer can claim anything so long as there is a vague disclaimer, and then it is up to the customer to go dig for information.

            If they make some specific claim X in their marketing materials, they had better give all their prospective customers access to all the supporting literature that covers the details and limitations of whatever claim they make. Otherwise, a court will be able to decide if this guy should have known (how?) that EV range is limited by winter temps or AC use. If the owner’s manual contains information that is important for the customer to know BEFORE purchase then they’d better point to it in writing,

            To be frank, the “zero sympathy” comment got to me and made me think how tedious we get here. We take pride in our own knowledge of the industry and how much smarter that makes us at signing time, but are completely unsympathetic to the “mere mortals”, as if they deserve their fate for not being us. Maybe I am reading too much into this and getting carried away but even for someone with my tech background having to do so much research before buying anything is exhausting. And let’s remember, you CAN return the microwave within X days of purchase. But you can’t return a car.

            I get that noone would be able to sell anything if there was full transparency, but the reality is that EVs and hybrids have limitations that are quite different from traditional cars (gas tanks don’t shrink with age), yet those vehicles are sold in traditional car dealerships side by side with gassers, and marketed as plain cars with only a small “fuel tank” while glossing over the idiosyncrasies they have.

          • 0 avatar
            theonlydt

            I check the manual of any car I’m looking to buy before purchase. I even look at a bunch just out of interest, but I’m a sad individual like that.

            Our system is based on an informed consumer. The consumer here had the option to be informed, and did not take that approach. The manual is available online.

            Additionally a PHEV at that time (and really still now) is in “early adopter” territory. They are generally more informed, partly because they need to be because their product hasn’t entered mainstream yet.

            If being able to drive 12 miles on EV was that important to this consumer why was that not raised during the purchase? If the dealership mislead him they’d be in the lawsuit, and they’re not.

            So yes, zero sympathy. And I don’t give to flying whatsists if you don’t like it – nor consider myself above mere mortals. Consumers have protection that extends so far – it is not buyer beware. However a consumer must make an informed decision for that to work and this consumer did not.

          • 0 avatar
            NickS

            > However a consumer must make an informed decision

            There is exactly zero requirement in law or precedent for a consumer to make an “informed decision”, whatever that means (and left up to a bunch if marketing upstarts an informed decision may even require an advanced EE degree). They should, but that is because we have a buyer-beware system.

            There is no law that requires or expects the consumer to read the online owners manual unless of course the seller points them to it for further clarification of a marketing claim. Also there is no law that requires the consumer to know that having cabin heat in the winter means the ICE will be running, unless once again it was in a footnote or some other linked communication.

            Also, in trade law there is no such thing as ‘early adopter’ type sales that are excluded from the requirement to back marketing claims in fact. If a sales contract was marked as ‘early adopter’ transaction, that would be quite bizarre.

            ‘early adopte’ and ‘must’ are explanations based on personal emotions and feelings but not on trade law.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Actually a hard acceleration run and running at 70 will not cause the EV range to drop because the PiP wasn’t capable of a hard acceleration run or running at 70mph. Once you pushed the accelerator pedal hard enough that the engine comes on it usually won’t go off until it reaches min operating temp, the excess energy from warming up the engine will be used to charge the battery.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I remember when the plug-in Prius was introduced.
    It was termed the “Volt killer” by the internet experts.

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      The big problem was that it didn’t make much sense. The Volt’s strength was as an electric car. The Prius’s strength is as a gasoline car (50+mpg just on gas). Buying a Prius to not use the gas engine doesn’t make much sense.

      I guess they couldn’t keep the costs down, because while this car made a lousy Volt it should have made a great Prius. More powerful electric motor, ability to go on short little runs without touching the gas, and basically doing everything a Prius did a little better should have worked. I’m guessing the weight penalty didn’t help any either.

      The real question is why they can’t put this drivetrain in a Lexus and some serious (Tesla-like) motors in the back. It might not be for everyone, but a Lexus that used [almost no] gas and had Tesla like power would be impressive. I’m thinking both politics (the Prius team won’t let anyone else have their engine) and conservative design (you need to hammer those batteries and be willing to try something new, possibly Fe-ion).

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        wumpus,
        I agree with your comment. If the Prius was bought as a “EV” then the guy has not got a leg to stand on. It’s advertised as a hybrid.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am impressed how Toyota gets a pass for things like this.

    Had GM done something like this it would be front page news, and I am not a GM apologist. Collectively, they deserve the lambasting they receive for their many incredibly stupid decisions. But, Toyota should get some heat for this stupid car.

    Anyway, the guy should have bought a Volt. It is a way nicer place to spend your time than a Prius, plus the old ones really do go 40 miles or so on EV.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The Japanese automakers still have that “our sh*t don’t stink” charm factor. American automakers have upgraded to parity, but the old belief in Japanese superiority dies hard. As long as older Corollas and Camrys keep chugging with minimal maintenance, Toyota will retain the charm factor.

      It’s the opposite of the “junk factor” that afflicted old Chrysler (and now FCA) and used to afflict Ford, but Ford’s reputation recovered quickly for surviving without a bailout, having a competent leader in charge, and introducing attractive new models. Otherwise the reputation trip back up to charm city is long and hard, as GM has discovered.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “Had GM done something like this it would be front page news, and I am not a GM apologist. ”

      I’ll just say my 2013 Volt got 53 miles out of a charge last week running the AC and after I burned through the battery gave me 43 MPG.

  • avatar
    John

    Eight miles is 62% of a thirteen mile range. You better believe this guy has a case, if thirteen miles is what Toyota advertised. Imagine of BTSR had his Hellcat dyno’d, and found the engine made 438 horsepower…

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      When I see lawsuits this trivial, they tell me more about the plaintiff’s character than anything. Even if he is right, what are the consequences – he has to drive 4 miles a day on gas instead of electric? That might be 30 gallons a year. Big whoop.

      Some people have real problems. This guy just has too much time on his hands.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      No, that’s not the same. There are plenty of Volts also getting shorter EV range than advertised. Electric range is going to be affected by conditions just like fuel economy. This would be similar to me during Mazda because my Miata has never been close to its 22mpg city, 28mpg highway ratings. This guy shows what’s wrong with the legal system today in the US.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I don’t buy it. A rudimentary understanding of how hybrids work would predict everything he describes in his suit. Even if Toyota didn’t tell him personally something, every claim made by automakers about fuel economy is heavily footnoted with disclaimers. The disclaimers all say ymmv, and it will, especially with a hybrid. Besides all that, I’m unaware of an obligation by car makers to detail every operation mode of a vehicle prior to sale.

    This whole thing just sounds like a disgruntled customer putting his foot down. I’m not seeing a broader scandal here.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Ford was taken down following similar claims about the C-Max.

      The guy sort of has a case. Automakers have to be careful with their claims about plugins because the results can be all over the board while still operating within acceptable tolerances. There is simply going to be a lot more variation with cars that use batteries to this extent, and I doubt that most consumers can be easily educated about this.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        Actually, Toyota hits or beats EPA estimates. Ford EPA estimates were just a fraud. Recent reports show Ford hybrids are lots of trouble. Ford should just give up on hybrids and electrics. They have enough issues with their gas products Ford is good at scoring mostly black marks in Consumer Products reliability. They should be focused on fixing that. Ford sales are slowing more than the Japanese, and the reliability problem is a big part of that.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          They let you back in?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          I hadnt noticed with any of my Fords.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          jimmyy,
          I agree with your Ford analysis. Ford with the EcoThirst have not really done well in my mind. You will have the Ford fans supporting the EcoThirst, even here on TTAC.

          The reality is Wards did not test any EcoBoost engines as they considered Ford’ FE figures a joke. The 2.7 EcoThirst was only returning 15.4 mpg average in a F-150. Even Jalopnik did an article on the dismal EcoBoost FE.

          I do believe Wards is a reputable business.

          I drove a 2WD SLT dual cab Ram around for a while in the US and it only averaged 14mpg with the 5.7 Hemi. This is way below the manufacturers advertised FE figures.

          Vehicle are only designed to pass emissions and FE regulations.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          Jimmyy, Have you researched Ford Escape Hybrid owner sarisfaction?

        • 0 avatar

          jimmyy, can you remind me from what planet you came from?

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        Wasn’t the Ford’s issue with the standard EPA test cycle It didn’t get the mileage when driving within the set parameters. If the Prius gets 12 miles of electric range during the standard cycle, but not in the real world, then it basically matches every other cars performance.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          No. Ford’s issue was that the EPA allowed them to use the same mileage claims for the Fusion hybrid and the C-Max hybrid. Which Ford did, using the better of the two’s ratings.

          While legal, it wasn’t consistent with Ford’s image, so they paid off the C-Max customers.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            VoGo,
            The language used by you in your comment is almost apologetic to Ford.

            Ford gamed the system and was caught out. Ford tried to convince the EPA that the similarities between the two vehicle were closer than what they were.

          • 0 avatar

            In SF Bay area almost all Ford Fusions are hybrids or plugin hybrids. And there are lot of Fusions driving around so they are quite popular as hybrids. And no they are not rental.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            No Ford did not try to convince the EPA that the cars were more similar than they were. They followed the letter of the law that says you only have to test a given power train once no matter what it is in. There was no requirement that the vehicles were anywhere near similar.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Ford used the test results for a different PHEV when calculating its figure (which was perfectly legal) and made a math error when calculating the results (not so legal.) The EPA performed its own test after the fact and obtained a different result, which resulted in Ford changing its reported figures.

          Nonetheless, there is an issue of determining PHEV fuel economy, since engine usage could vary considerably, particularly if the battery is large.

          Just compare how much gasoline is used if you drive a Volt over a series of 20 10-mile trips that is fully charged at the beginning of each trip, versus driving that same Volt for 200 miles in one go. The results will obviously be quite different, and that won’t be due to cheating.

          PHEVs are simply going to produce a lot more variation. That’s just the nature of the beast, and it should be obvious why.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Automaker advertising is legally restricted to using EPA mileage estimates. Automakers can’t even advertise that the EPA’s estimates are squirrelly except with the caveat, “your mileage may vary”. That last point is why the guy will lose his lawsuit.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      tedward,
      Wouldn’t a hybrid have its FE rated with the use of both the gasoline and EV components together.

      The guy might not have a case if his vehicle does meet the combined FE target.

      The “battery only” figure might just be a Toyota figure.

      The only way around this is to have three figures for this vehicle. Gas only, EV only and combined hybrid only.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Big al from oz suggested three ‘mileage’ numbers for plug-in hybrids: gas only, electric only, and combined/hybrid operation.

        Though hybrids can be forced to use the gas engine all the time, or close to it, this is an abnormal operation. There’s no good reason to disable what makes a hybrid a hybrid and would yield worse mileage than it would get in normal operation.

        Electric-only operation is already covered by the specification of how far it can go in electric-only mode.

        Combined gas/electric mileage, as people have said, varies a lot depending on many things. For a phev the major one is the length of the drives relative to the ev-only capability. Mileage of regular hybrids suffers from short trips interspersed with time to cool off, and cold weather (and hills, cargo, high speed etc.), but so do ordinary cars.

        This can only be resolved with a standardized test. Just like the parameters for the typical city or highway mileage ratings are standardized. In the same way, personal driving patterns varying from the standard regimes will affect mileage in very predictable ways.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Umm… they do have two relevant sets of numbers, the EV only range and the hybrid operation city/hwy/combined like any other vehicle. the Ford and Toyota hybrids can’t function w/o their hybrid system so there is no “gas only operation” mode.

        The problem with the PiP is that it is a hack job response. The eCVT wasn’t designed with the intention to have the vehicle work as an EV unlike the Volt and Ford Energi cars. So the Traction MG is under powered and the combination of gearing and max speed of the Range MG limits the top speed in EV operation.

        Since it can’t handle high speed and more than moderate acceleration in EV mode it didn’t make sense to further burden it with a significant size battery pack.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I wish my Sonata Hybrid would kick in the gas motor in the winter. It has not problem freezing me out in the winter, but damned if that gas motor doesn’t kick in often to keep me cool in the summer. Maybe I got the special polar bear package without realizing it.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    If this guy is successful I would hope all auto manufacturers must fix their misleading FE figures. I realise the figures for gasoline is set by meeting a certain criteria, but this criteria should be realistic. The same should apply for EVs.

    The disparity is quite large by the looks of it. Diesels by far are the closest at meeting their advertised FE. At least make gas and EVs approach this degree of accuracy.

    Why stop there! I would change the way in which “trucks” are assessed in the US. Have them loaded and towing to their maximum for their FE. This includes all those CUVs and cars classified as trucks.

    Trucks and commercials are for work, so rate them working.

    Boy, I should work for the EPA!

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Sure, Ford could probably claim a small improvement for the Escape Hybrid.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Some makers design to the test. GM did this with the Terrain – no way that vehicle was going to return 29 MPG. Ecoboost engines do well in the test, too. Problem is that the “Boost” is enjoyable to use, and when you do, the “Eco” goes out the window. It is really a one or the other. Still, there are cases where you can exceed the ratings. Cars with larger engines driven conservatively can do just that – I have achieved 32 or 33 MPG with my LT1 on pretty much every road trip if I’m easy on the throttle. Stick your foot in in and 20 is about it.

  • avatar
    gasser

    If you are going to buy a car, read about it. Years ago I entertained the thought of a Prius, until I learned that the model ran the gas engine when cold, until operating temperature was achieved. The ICE then cycled on/off as needed. Since my commute was 1.5 miles, it would always be on gas, hence no sale.
    I have never achieved the EPA mileage estimates in my cars. I consider myself lucky to get the city mileage. I drive about 90% city, short runs and AC on.
    As to the the old hybrid Edge, everyone I know that has every had one loves it. There are cabs I’ve been in in NYC with 300K and still running. Mileage may not meet EPA numbers, but they are a huge step toward conserving gas and lessening air pollution.
    Whenever I see stories like this one, I just shake my head and mutter “get a grip”.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Just a correction that the Hybrid Ford taxi suv’s that grace the streetscapes of the larger cities are Escapes, not Edges. In that sort of service they use half the gas of equivalent non-hybrids and have racked up an incredible total of gas savings. Which translates into cleaner air for all of us and downward pressure on gas consumption and prices.

      It sounds like a plug-in hybrid wuold be ideal for you. Perhaps a used one to avoid the hybrid premium.

      I have an ’09 Escape Hybrid AWD and it gets better mileage than it is rated for, without hypermiling it. My mileage is typical for them. 34mpg US gallons in the summer. As a vehicle, if it disappeared I would buy another one.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        How’s the power on a hybrid version, especially an AWD one? I’m satisfied with the 3.0 but wouldn’t be against having less in exchange for better MPG as long as it’s not noticeable on the highway.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          The only AWD hybrid around now is the RAV4, I believe.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          You won’t win any stoplight drag races with the Hybrid, but highway passing is fine. The concensus is that the Escape Hybrid is almost but not quite as peppy as the 3.0. All the awd adds is the power transfer unit, driveshafts and the rear differential. The awd is supposed to get about 15% worse mileage than the fwd, but reports from owners say the difference is much less. Your question regarding the performance question is interesting because, come to think of it, I’ve never heard anyone mention any difference in ‘pep’ between the Hybrid awd and Hybrid fwd. The awd is a predictive system. It monitors a bunch of sensors and engages the rear axle when wheelspin is likely rather than waiting for wheelspin. Such as, it engages when you speed up from a stop. I’m used to real 4×4 and full-time awd, and the Escape’s system is very effective yet costs little mileage.

  • avatar
    Keith_93

    I usually roll my eyes at these type of lawsuits, but this guy has a point.

    If this car’s range is consistently off by more than a third, that is way beyond “YMMV.”

    That would be like buying a car that claimed 30mpg highway, and actually getting 18mpg highway.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      EVs and hybrids are different than gas-only cars in that the manufacturer gives you an important tool, regen braking, to increase mileage and range. It’s a skill that you have to work at. The trick is staying off the conventional brakes as much as possible. That means anticipating every stop and stopping/slowing the car with minimal or no brake pedal pressure. Hit the brake pedal too hard, and you’ll get no benefit from regen. Master that skill and you’ll exceed the EPA rating. Smooth driving effects all types of vehicles, but is a bigger factor in electrified vehicles because of regen. Energy economy relies on a certain amount of skill and it’s hard to replicate that in a standardized test.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        True – you’ll generally exceed the stated range if you use regen properly, (or the “B” or “L” setting on the shifter for long downhill runs).

        Climate control will reduce your range by 10% over a single charge, but only if you drive the battery flat.

        If you attempt multiple short drives on the same charge (with stops long enough for the interior to warm/cool), the climate system has to start over at either warming or cooling the interior, so range can suffer considerably under that scenario.

        So, you have to have a “buffer” in mind when you decide on the range you need.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Yes, and not to mention trying to avoid braking to begin with. Regen + electrical boost suffers conversion losses (which is why maximizing ev mode can actually reduce mileage if overdone). And the rear brakes are applied lightly during regen using the brake pedal, which is all lost energy since regen is done with the front wheels only. Regen by downshifting suffers losses fron higher rpm’s, but this wastes less energy than the rear brakes. So downshifting is preferable to braking, which is why newer hybrids start regen braking as soon as you lift off the gas.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Isn’t the entire point of the plug-in Prius to get the solo carpool lane use in California? Think about it. You save about $0.60 by plugging it in.

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