Better than 33 miles on a charge - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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Better than 33 miles on a charge

Now that the the weather has started to warm and I know that the van won’t be wasting away juice just to keep the batteries warm, I’ve been experimenting with just how high I can get the MPG(e). For driving around town at speeds no greater than 40 mph I seem to have found a method which allows me to squeeze even more miles out of a full charge. Here’s what I have tried: from a stop I get up to speed fairly quickly then immediately let up on the throttle. As soon as I let up on the throttle I switch the ‘transmission’ to ‘N’. This allows the van to actually coast further than if I had left it in ‘D’. I allow the van to coast until I’m around 5-7 mph under the speed limit. Then, I put the van back in ‘D’ again and give it some throttle to get up around the speed limit. Again, once I let off the throttle I also switch to ‘N’. The only time I put it back to ‘D’ is if I need to accelerate or if I need to slow down/stop and I can use the regenerative braking to help.

Today, on a 15 mile round-trip I was able to average abou 96 MPGe for the trip. My battery went from 100% down to 70%. Now it could be that my battery gauge is not that linear and the battery will drain faster as the percentage drops. Hard to say for sure. But it’s the first time I’ve been able to keep the MPGs above 90 for that many miles.

My theory is that the regenerative braking (which really occurs anytime you let off the gas) is really only beneficial when you are going to stop fairly imminently. At any other time it’s better to actually let the van coast. Anyone have any comments on this or have you had similar results?

Additional info added later this evening: After dinner I decided to just take the van out for a spin just to do some more experimenting. I put about 10-11 more miles on it for a total of about 26 miles for the day. The MPGe average for the entire day is pegged at 99.9 and my battery is down to 40%. Probably could get at least another 16-17 miles out of it before hitting 0%.

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Last edited by PacDave; 03-14-2019 at 11:03 PM.
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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 11:45 PM
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You're right, it is better to coast. Regen and acceleration is a lossy process. Based on my experience, under the ideal conditions- steady moderate speed, flat terrain and mild temperature, it is entirely possible to exceed 40 miles by a good margin.

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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 12:08 AM
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¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 03:08 AM Thread Starter
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¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I appreciate that reminder. I’m pretty sure the danger to the transmission of allowing the car to coast in neutral has to do with the way the bearings are lubricated. Most automatic transmissions pump the transmission fluid but only if the input shaft is rotating. So when you coast there is a danger that the bearings could become starved because the pump stops pumping. That is why most manufacturers do not recommend towing an automatic transmission car on the driven wheels for more than a few miles. I’ll have to do a little more research on this particularly as it relates to the PacHy transmission.

My initial thought is that it won’t be a problem due to the short distances and time periods I’m coasting (probably less than 1/10 of a mile for maybe 15 seconds at most). But I will definitely do some more research on it. So officially, I don’t recommend anyone do this. It’s just an experimental thing.

Just thinking about it a bit, I assume that if you are able to expertly ‘feather’ the throttle so could possibly get the same effect without actually switching to ‘N’. The goal would be to get the charge/drain gauge to read zero during the ‘coasting’ periods.

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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 10:37 AM
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Not worth the effort. Also, it's illegal in many states.
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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 10:47 AM
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Oh, I missed that part. Switching the Hybrid transmission to N doesn't change its drag or any other mechanical properties.You can reach the same effect by carefully modulating the gas pedal.
The same applies to the L mode. It is the same as a light braking.

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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 12:57 PM
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This sort of thing is more commonly known as "Pulse and Glide". It became popular with the Prius, particularly when the well-packaged second generation version came on the US scene in 2004 and Prius owners went apey trying to outdo each other in the quest for the highest fuel mileage.

While it is an effective technique, it takes effort. What's worse is how it affects surrounding traffic. For other drivers operating their vehicles in a normal manner (particularly in crowded urban environments), it's aggravating, if not downright dangerous and almost certainly contributed to the ire Prius drivers used to garner.

I'd just be happy with the perfectly adequate mileage achieved by normal, careful driving.

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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 02:55 PM
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Both of the electric motors are being turned by the drive train when the car is coasting, so there's no advantage.
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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, I missed that part. Switching the Hybrid transmission to N doesn't change its drag or any other mechanical properties.You can reach the same effect by carefully modulating the gas pedal.
The same applies to the L mode. It is the same as a light braking.
Yeah, you would assume that modulating the gas pedal would have the same effect but it takes considerably more concentration. Also, just thinking about it some more would raise this question: if there is concern about damage to the transmission by coasting in neutral, might you also be concerned about modulating the gas pedel such that there is neither a charge or drain upon the battery? Does anyone know what the actual mechanism is in the PacHy that causes transmission fluid to be circulated?

I have a gut feeling that the warning in the owner’s manual is simply a holdover from the gas Pacifica for the most part. “This sounds good and partially applies so let’s just throw it in there for good measure.” I could be wrong on this but it would be nice to have an accurate understanding of how the transmission works. There was a link posted here somewhere to a very informative tear down video that enlightened me quite a bit on how the transmission works. It’s worth watching again.

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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Both of the electric motors are being turned by the drive train when the car is coasting, so there's no advantage.
No advantage to what?

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