New HS250h owner needs to get caught up on what you all have learned.

Discussion in 'Toyota' started by Pat8635, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. Pat8635

    Pat8635 Member

    I have about 1200 miles on my new hs250h. I have always done better than the epa estimates. I have lots of time in a Prius and that led to the purchase of this car. It was easy for me in stop and go driving, no really long trips to get close to 50mpg all the time in the prius, just using the display that car had. Longer trips, I could get over 55mpg. With 3 adults and luggage for a cruse I got 54.8 driving form Northern VA to NJ. I was happy with that!

    After reading this forum I ordered a scan gauge.

    I got the scan gauge ii today and am not sure what are the most helpful gauges to look at nor what I should be looking for. There are lots of things you all talk about and I can't really figure it out. I have not been able to find a place for a beginner to get caught up.

    People comment on the transition from s3 to s4. I have noticed that the engine is slower to cut off than the Prius, but what gauges are used to tell the stages? and what are they all? RPM is helpful to know when the engine really does cut off as you can't always hear it in this car.

    On the demo I used before my purchase, I got very close to 40 mpg on a mostly highway 770 mile trip... with my hours in a Prius and understand the pulse and glide technique. I can't seem to get the HS to glide. The sg seems to prove to me that there is no middle ground like on the prius. If you are not adding energy it is regenerating and putting drag onto the system.

    Tires...I have upped the pressure to 40psi in each tire. They are rated at 51. As I drive the pressure rises to mid 40's. Not sure i want to go much about this. Ideas on this car and a good pressure?

    Also, I have found that the Eco mode is good if you are not thinking about what you are doing, but have had better results with regular and even the power setting depending on traffic and terrain. Anyone else felt that having more direct control helped? Still can't find a way to get it to glide.

    Hope this isn't too much for one post.
  2. kgenaidy

    kgenaidy Well-Known Member

    Hi Pat,

    Congratulations and welcome!

    On my SG ... I have it set for instant mpg, rpm, ignition advance, and coolant temperature.

    During warm up, I pay attention to coolant temp the most and am looking for 2 milestones ... 140F (most of hybrid functionality works at this point) ... and 160F (s3-s4 transition can be forced).

    When on the highway ... I use the ignition advance to see/extend super-highway mode.

    The HS takes time to get to know and figure out it's personality and how to get it to do what you want it to do. It probably took me about 6 months to feel comfortable with this. Also, it's not a "one size fits all" personality ... I have learned to think of it as 3 distinct types of behavior categorized by: 0 to 40 mph, 41 to 50 mph, and 50+mph. I also think that the HS is a more difficult vehicle to apply hyper-miling techniques to ... but they certainly can be used.

    Pulse and Glide works best in the 0-40 range. I find 41-50 to be very much art and not science (you know the "feel the force Luke"), above 50 again it's predictable (gas only and about 40 mpg).

    As you live with your HS ... you may find times where it isn't behaving as you would expect. An example is you roll up to a stop and the engine keeps running even though you know the engine is warm (and the SG coolant temp proves it) ... this is the computer thinking it's time to go through the s3-s4 transition. I couldn't explain it for about 6 months ... and it just bugged me not being able to figure it out. Finally ... it clicked. The sole reason that I force the s3-s4 transition as early as possible is to insure that I have the most predictable behavior possible from the HS to do what I want.

    Tire pressure is a personal preference item ... I choose to have mine set at the max of 51psi. It took me months of slowly adjusting tire pressure up and "living w/it" to get to where I'm comfortable with it.

    I choose "Eco" mode because this gives me the most ability to control how I want the HS to behave.

    Enjoy your HS!
  3. Pat8635

    Pat8635 Member


    What is the S3 to S4 transition (I am guessing it is the stage of the hybrid system, but can't find out what the stages are???) and how do I know that it has happened.

    My HS today spent lots of time today operating sub par. After a 45 minute drive and a short stop, I couldn't get car to stay in ev mode... when it would at 20mph the ice would kick in regardless. Drove me nuts. Later in the day the tapping gas with brake on worked and things were fine. This tank is good gas, I am getting 42+mpg right now and half way through tank, but it was a ton of work and driving in a way that I am sure bothered some other people on road. The only thing different is that today is cooler.

    Can you explain how to is sg with ign advance...what do I need to look for to know I am getting best benefit?
  4. kgenaidy

    kgenaidy Well-Known Member

    Here's a thread about Super Highway Mode (SHM) that will explain much better than I can about ignition advance (it for the TCH which is similar) :

    Staying in SHM (18-20 IGN) is difficult on the HS ... but when there ... the mileage is quite good.

    Here's a thread about a TCH (which has a similar HSD system) worth reading:

    I can't find the thread where I learn about the s1-s4 modes. I know it's here somewhere. Btw ... the behavior you described sounds like the computer thinking it's time for the s3-s4 mode transition. All predictable behavior goes out the window while this going on.

    I re-read these threads several times over several months as my understanding of the HS improved and my knowledge about hypermiling techniques. It takes time to learn all this stuff. I found it to be much more involved that I originally thought it would be.

    Learning about the HS requires a bit of connecting the dots with information from the Prius and TCH.
  5. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Kgenaidy:

    Thanks for helping Pat out. I must have been on the road when this one appeared but am so glad a fellow HS driver is here to provide the support needed ;)

    Pat, welcome to CleanMPG and one of the keys to great FE on the highway is learning to how to stay between the limits in the right lane without causing trouble to others and they in turn not causing you the same. Having those 80 mph limits on the I-10 near you is not conducive to the big numbers but you are in one of the quietest cars I have ever driven for when the speeds are ramped up as I am sure you are well aware.

    In heavy stop and crawls, open up a buffer and expand and contract it to maximize the HS’s P&G capability. Do not bury that SoC in that condition however because the rebuild is painful. As traffic begins to move in front, let the buffer expand and get the ICE running, when you see brake lights ½ mile ahead, get into a Glide and hold it all the way back down to 0 mph if need be all the while collapsing the buffer.

    In the city with stop and go or slower speed boulevard’s, the HS is an nasty mean bear ready to be let out of its cage. It will eat up everything up but a TCH/FFH and of course the Prius. A good driver in the IMA equipped Compacts can keep up but they will be working their tail off while you are enjoying the extremely comfortable ride and amenities that your HS provides and simply manipulating the accelerator pedal for the 60 to 65 + numbers the HS has been known to breach :D

    Good Luck

  6. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Just in case all the acronyms threw you off:

    P&G = Pulse and Glide
    ICE = Internal Combustion Engine
    TCH = Toyota Camry Hybrid
    FFH = Ford Fusion Hybrid
    IMA = Integrated Motor Assist (in Honda Hybrids)

  7. Oainac

    Oainac Well-Known Member

    RPM (to see when you're running in EV mode)
    Battery SoC
    Water Temperature

    The max sidewall pressure is when the tires are cold (not while driving). So you can safely go up to 51.
  8. Pat8635

    Pat8635 Member

    I have left tires at 41 and even with the lower pre sure i am getting over 40mpg one day I got over 50 for about 100 miles. Thanks for the great info. I'm a realtor and have the new name from friends and coworkers of granny. The time in the prius has served me well. I took mostly short trips and still kept over 50mpg in that car. If I could get 45 in my hs I will be elated Later today I will bump tire pressure up a bit.

    I am off to look for description of modes again....

    Thanks again for the great info
  9. Pat8635

    Pat8635 Member

    I got 41mpg driving 250 highway miles at 75 plus mph. I was shocked and very happy. Thanks again for the help.

    Oainac ... How do you get soc on your sqii?
  10. kgenaidy

    kgenaidy Well-Known Member

    Way to go on the mpg's.
  11. hyperme

    hyperme Well-Known Member

    Congrats on your HS and welcome to the forum.

    I've had my HS for about 5 months and can confirm what kgenaidy said. It takes a lot of time and patience to learn the idiosyncrasies of this hybrid system. I've learned a lot and am still learning and experiencing new things. I do pretty well in the 0-40 mph range but really struggle to get decent mpg in shm mode. I can't seem to consistenly obtain fuel cut-off in shm mode, sometimes it works, sometimes not. I'm sure it doesn't help that I do very little freeway driving. In fact, I took my first major freeway trip last week, 180 miles. Unfortunately it was raining half the time, 52 degrees and the wife was with me so no hypermile techniques were employed. I got only 44.6mpg on the FCD which is about 42.5 actual mpg. Speeds were 55-65mph.

    My SGII gauges are RPM, GPH, FWT and Current Trip MPG (I set this up as a user programmable XGAUGE). Without going into too much detail, for me, the FWT is the most important thing to watch during warmup. There are 3 temperature "milestones" to keep an eye on as follows (these are per my SGII and may be slightly different for others):
    1. 104 degrees-this is generally the temp that the ICE will autostop at when the car is not moving (e.g. when you're at a stop light)
    2. 139 degrees-this is the temp when the ICE will autostop while travelling under 40mph, once you remove your foot from the gas pedal
    3. 157 degrees-this is the temp when you can transition from S3 to S4. When the ICE reaches 157 deg, I always pull over and stop and wait the 10 seconds for the ICE to shutdown, signifying that it is now in S4

    Regarding tire pressure, I started at 40psi and have gradually worked it up to max psi (51)plus a bit more.

    ECO Mode: As I mentioned, I do very little freeway driving and so I am ALWAYS in ECO Mode.
  12. Pat8635

    Pat8635 Member

    Around town I got 58.8 mpg for the first 88 miles of a tank. Too bad I can't mimic those conditions all the time. (wouldn't get to sleep as the car would need to stay warm, but hey) I have also worked TP up to 46psi and will bump it more before I drive to Florida in a few days.

    On a different note. Have any of you got the top bar on the SOC indicator to illuminate. In over 4k miles on my car and over 700 on demo car, I have yet to see that top bar light up? Thoughts?
  13. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Toyota and Lexus hybrids try very hard to keep the battery within a very controlled band of charge level. You'll only see the the top bar lit after some long sessions of regen. The car will tend to bleed off extra charge as soon as it can to get back down to its preferred range.
  14. Pat8635

    Pat8635 Member

    6 months in and I am glad that warmer weather is back. I almost hate when people get in the car and start messing with their tempurature buttons. Since I sell real estate, I guess i have to keep the car comfortable for them. Oh well. I have been staying right at 40 mpg...Last tank was 42 guessing because it is warmer. Yesterday however, i stopped and was sending a contact to my car from my phone and I noticed that the ICE didn't stop. I tried all sorts of tricks and nothing!

  15. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Was the car warmed up?

    Was climate control on? If so, what settings?

    Was HV SoC low? If you run it down, it will run the ICE to get back in its comfort zone.
  16. Pat8635

    Pat8635 Member

    Water temp was 191 car was in eco mode ac and heat both off and soc went up to every bar but top bar lit (and in 10K miles I have never seen the top soc bar lit) It took forever for my take to fill at last fill up and my mpg are down to the 37/38 range...wonder if it could just be crappy gas?
  17. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    On the rare account I have read of Prius keeping the engine running, the suspected cause was a bad thermostat circulating when it shouldn't, keeping the water temp from rising to normal, but yours was already at normal. Interesting.

    Here is the priuschat thread on a recent case:

    Here is a quote:
    After closely examining all of the evidence I can muster, the best theory I can come up with is that (based on this document outlining the 5 "stages" the prius operates in ) my Prius is stuck 80% of the time in stage 3a - it rarely makes it to stages 3b and stage 4 therefore the engine appears to run continuously.
  18. d34bimsa

    d34bimsa New Member

    I purchased our new HS in Dec. 2010 and now have 3400 miles logged. It is actually for my wife's use daily and errands or trips when we are together.

    What I have noticed is the multiple stops in town are really costly as to the good mileage this vehicle can obtain. The cold weather made it ever harder. That warm up time each time after a stop at a store is costly regarding mileage.

    The other issue is I live in a 55+ community which I enjoy with the lodge and other facilities as well as friends and family close by. So in the cold weather my wife drives less than 1/2 mile to the lodge which occurs on the mode where the engine is warming up. The EV is of course unavailable. It would be really nice to be able to just use EV for these very short and slow speed distances. Lexus I can actually do this in a responsible way but you won't let me. Any approved fixes for this situation? Maybe something from the Prius experience and resources.

    Well NHL playoff hockey awaits so I'm off to see if the Sharks will shut the Red Wings. The Sharks are up 3-0. Hockey is so intense any time. I love it.
  19. Pat8635

    Pat8635 Member

    I had my 15,000 check and have done some playing. I left the car with a full tank of gas and with all the idle time when the car is being serviced and cleaned my mpg was at 31 when I got it back and I had left it over at 40mpg only 15 miles into the tank. I was going to fill up and reset, but as gas prices have been coming down so I waited and decided to "play" with some of the other features of the car.

    I am now at 37MPG which is shocking because...

    I have used the power mode for over half the tank and unfortunately, really like the way the car drives. You will notice your climate control acts differently than in ECO Mode. The early reviews of the car didn't like the transmission. The only time it has bothered me was in power mode driving it more like a sports car than a hybrid.

    SOC stays higher, but I have yet to get that elusive top bar to light up...hummm...

    I have also used the cruise more and when I compare my touch to the cruise, it isn't pretty. The cruise is better in ECO mode than power or normal.

    So I have learned in 7 months and 15,000 miles....

    1. Inflate your tires to at least 45psi, my dealer agrees and will fill them to that level if customer requests.

    2. You don't have to do all the hypermiling techniques but I do pay attention to the following.

    A. Get a scangauge and make sure that after water temp is over 157 that the ICE is cutting off properly and if not, I find a place to stop for 10 seconds to get it to flip over to that final stage. I also like the exact MPG and the RPM readouts.

    B. In San Antonio this only really matters a few months of the year because my ICE can be warmed up in less than 3 miles most of the year, but if you can make your first trip the longest so that your fully warm up the ICE it helps the rest of your trips.

    C. Choose routes that avoid traffic and let you drive more efficiently. I have a two mile stretch that includes a slight hill and then a gradual down hill and flat. My goal is to do that w/o the ICE ever starting up both ways. My blood pressure seems lower too....

    D. The orange lines showing the ICE engaged are not 100%...if you don't have a scangauge, trust your other senses.

    E. Especially below 40 and over 55 (don't ask my why not in the middle) if you are driving at a steady speed, let off the gas a bit and slowly add it back. You can add as much as 10MPG by doing that...and I think is one of the reasons that the pulse and glide works so well for hybrids. It is more getting the ICE and EM to readjust to your current condition and not being prepared for an acceleration. MY GUESS ONLY from my experience.

    I usually get an average of 40 mpg. My car shows consistently over 40, but the SGII and my math come in a bit lower. Some tanks I get 42+ others 39...just depends on the gas I get sometimes too. So far Costco is the best! Can't believe with all my playing I have this tank up to 37 and it will not go higher as I am 50 miles past the orange low gas light coming on, so I will be filling up today.

    Any other easy tricks that people have learned?
  20. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    It makes sense: extra charge for extra leadfoot assist.

    However, it will still keep the battery from the top bar for longevity.

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