My recent test drive in Pacifica Hybrid - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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My recent test drive in Pacifica Hybrid

A few weeks ago I test drove a Pacifica Hybrid in Marion, Mass. I have a Prius V and I wanted to compare the behavior of the hybrid system. I also want to replace my '04 Sienna, which only has about 110,000 miles on it but it is definitely showing it's age due to New England winter salt use.

The car had about half charge, and I took it out on rt 195 to test highway performance (very nice) and to discharge the battery.
So at that point I was essentially driving a normal hybrid while driving back to the dealer. I never noticed if the engine shut down during this few miles of moderate speed driving, but being a Prius driver I assume it did shutdown occasionally.

When I got back to the dealer I parked the car and turned on the AC and headlights to put some electrical load on the system. To my surprise, the engine never turned off, it just sat there idling. I would have expected the engine would operate off idle for a few minutes to put some charge in the battery and then shut down for a while, discharging the battery, then repeating this pattern, the same way the Prius does. The miles remaining on battery remained at zero.

Is this normal? Does the engine have to run in order to operate the AC? If so, this will really hurt mileage. Maybe this is a software bug? I would not think it would be difficult to fix this.
Pete
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by PETE LOWELL View Post
A few weeks ago I test drove a Pacifica Hybrid in Marion, Mass. I have a Prius V and I wanted to compare the behavior of the hybrid system. I also want to replace my '04 Sienna, which only has about 110,000 miles on it but it is definitely showing it's age due to New England winter salt use.

The car had about half charge, and I took it out on rt 195 to test highway performance (very nice) and to discharge the battery.
So at that point I was essentially driving a normal hybrid while driving back to the dealer. I never noticed if the engine shut down during this few miles of moderate speed driving, but being a Prius driver I assume it did shutdown occasionally.

When I got back to the dealer I parked the car and turned on the AC and headlights to put some electrical load on the system. To my surprise, the engine never turned off, it just sat there idling. I would have expected the engine would operate off idle for a few minutes to put some charge in the battery and then shut down for a while, discharging the battery, then repeating this pattern, the same way the Prius does. The miles remaining on battery remained at zero.

Is this normal? Does the engine have to run in order to operate the AC? If so, this will really hurt mileage. Maybe this is a software bug? I would not think it would be difficult to fix this.
Pete


This seems normal on this vehicle, other people have reported gaining 20-30% battery when in the same situation. Over time I think you would see the millage/battery increase.

The motor is not required for AC in moderate climates, but is required if the temperature is much higher outside, making it harder to cool the interior.

Ben


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for th information. I think it would be more efficient to put more load on the engine, however.

Pete
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 06:55 PM
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We have owned a Prius (2nd Gen) and currently a PIP (1st Gen) and the PacHy just for some background. It sounds to me like the warmup cycle along with the initial replenishing of the hybrid set point was occurring for the engine to have continued running. We have not experienced a situation where the engine ran to run the A/C, but I guess if it were really hot and we were demanding really cool in the car that would be a possibility? In our experience, it has operated very similar to the Prius. It will only run the engine while idling if it is warming up or you have sat there long enough to deplete the battery to a certain point. However, we do not have any indication of the "Hybrid" battery level once the "EV" battery level has been exhausted so it is impossible to know when the car will decide to kick on the engine. We have found that you can open the hood to force it to run the engine and charge the battery if you so desire, but obviously that is not a particularly efficient use of the engine. Aside from this recall stuff, we are loving this minivan and love getting great fuel efficiency while being able to comfortably take long trips with lots of cargo.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by blameitonben View Post
This seems normal on this vehicle, other people have reported gaining 20-30% battery when in the same situation. Over time I think you would see the millage/battery increase.

The motor is not required for AC in moderate climates, but is required if the temperature is much higher outside, making it harder to cool the interior.
The heat is the thing that's inadequate and sometimes requires the engine to run in cold situations. It's a resistance heater with much higher kW demand (some have said 15 kW) which also heats the cabin. Matter of fact, if it is super cold, it will start the engine and run a bit before you can go anywhere. That's to heat up the HV battery. A/C has enough capacity to handle 100% cooling if there is enough charge in the battery. I'm not used to mine needing to run the engine that much at low loads. When I'm driving through the neighborhood at 25 MPH (and A/C using 2 kW) it rarely runs even when the battery is 0%. It dips into reserved capacity & can go a mile or so like that.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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I had just returned from a ~25 mile test drive, display had shown zero miles available for several miles, so the engine was definitely fully warmed up. However I never thought about the possibility that Hi AC would keep the engine running.

thanks, Pete
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 09:58 PM
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I had just returned from a ~25 mile test drive, display had shown zero miles available for several miles, so the engine was definitely fully warmed up. However I never thought about the possibility that Hi AC would keep the engine running.

thanks, Pete


If the engine was already warm then it seems it must have been trying to get back to the hybrid set point. When I have idled in the parking lot and it has had to run for that reason it has not run for long though. Again very similar behavior to the Prius in that it will run the engine for a minute maybe and then shutoff again. There was one time that it acted differently and that was after a forced charge with the hood up for a little while. I put it back down, but the engine continued to run even though we had a percentage EV range. I popped the hood again and closed it better and that shut it off. I figured I just hadn't closed it sufficiently the first time.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 05:15 AM
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I had just returned from a ~25 mile test drive, display had shown zero miles available for several miles, so the engine was definitely fully warmed up. However I never thought about the possibility that Hi AC would keep the engine running.

thanks, Pete
Nice test drive distance. The dealer I went to only let me drive around the block and one exit on the freeway.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 09:16 AM
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I had just returned from a ~25 mile test drive, display had shown zero miles available for several miles, so the engine was definitely fully warmed up. However I never thought about the possibility that Hi AC would keep the engine running.

thanks, Pete
I've been driving my hybrid in 90-100 degrees temps for the past few weeks. The engine never kicked on when the battery was charged nor did the engine kick on longer than a few mins once the battery was depleted. This included several times where the car sat outside several hours at a time. Even the remote start didn't turn on the motor.

There are readouts on the dash and center console that tell you when the engine is on. To this day many times pumps or fans are running when I mistake it for the engine.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 09:28 AM
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We've encountered a few situations where the engine ran when we didn't think it was needed. However, usually when we've left the van idling with the AC running and the battery at 0%, the engine will run for brief intervals to charge the battery and then shut off—exactly like you expected. Not sure what might have caused the different behavior during your test drive.

It does appear that the software uses quite a few inputs to determine when to run the engine. I'd love an opportunity to peek at the code (wishful thinking, of course) and see what variables are used in this algorithm.

Grand Rapids, MI
2017 PHEV Pacifica Platinum, ordered 1/14/17, picked up 4/26/17.
Praying for diode reliability.
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