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I'm curious about it. Considering that the electric motors are comparatively weak they may disable this mode for safety reasons.
If I remember right someone else actually had this happen and the dealer ended up having to put gas in it. I think it went into turtle mode.
 

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A red turtle will be shown and the van will run only on the batteries. Page 177 of the owner's manual.
 

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I ran out of gas yesterday while driving the car to a gas station. Red turtle showed up and my engine went to electric. Gas engine was previously doing the dumb gas refresh mode to the cold weather. Car ran fine for 1.5 miles til I got to the gas station.
 

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The electric motors aren't "weak". They're fully capable of getting the van up to highway speed. If you run out of fuel the van will show you a red turtle light to let you know that some of the powertrain is compromised. As @jtangm04 notes, it'll get you to a gas station no problem.
 

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The electric motors aren't "weak". They're fully capable of getting the van up to highway speed. If you run out of fuel the van will show you a red turtle light to let you know that some of the powertrain is compromised. As @jtangm04 notes, it'll get you to a gas station no problem.
The motors, battery and inverter aren't designed to propel the vehicle at maximum performance. You can run on electric only but you have to be easy on the pedal. This is unlike the Volt, which is designed to unleash all the available 149 hp without starting the engine.

Curious to see if we can trick the van into thinking it's out of gas. It would provide a selectable, all-electric mode.
 

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The electric motors aren't "weak". They're fully capable of getting the van up to highway speed. If you run out of fuel the van will show you a red turtle light to let you know that some of the powertrain is compromised. As @jtangm04 notes, it'll get you to a gas station no problem.
He did say "comparatively." The gas model has 287 hp and the hybrid has 260 with ICE and battery combined. I know that my PacHy will annoyingly kick on the ICE with the Adaptive Cruise Control set when I pull around from behind a driver who has slowed substantially such that there is now a big gap between my set speed and actual speed. It's own algorithm thinks it needs help from the ICE in such cases.

Nonetheless, you are absolutely correct that the all-electric drive train is perfectly capable, but it wouldn't win a drag race with the gas version.
 

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The motors, battery and inverter aren't designed to propel the vehicle at maximum performance. You can run on electric only but you have to be easy on the pedal. This is unlike the Volt, which is designed to unleash all the available 149 hp without starting the engine.

Curious to see if we can trick the van into thinking it's out of gas. It would provide a selectable, all-electric mode.
Perhaps but it's hardly anemic. I have no trouble accelerating up to highway speeds in electric-only mode. In fact, I hardly ever have the gas engine come on when accelerating.
 

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I would assume that turtle mode is initiated because the battery only maintains a very small reserve (0.5-1 kWh) that is only tapped when the vehicle runs out of gas completely. That reserve capacity is intended to move the vehicle as far as possible so that it is more likely to reach a gas station. Less power available to the motor = longer driving distance. Overall, I think this is a great feature.

A few questions for those that experienced this -

1) What was the top speed of the vehicle in turtle mode?
2) Does it handle this top speed at all grades or does it slow down even more when going up a hill?
3) Is the acceleration adequate for most driving situations so that it does not cause any safety concerns on major highways?
4) What is the kWh reserve capacity of the battery (for turtle mode) and how far is it intended to take the vehicle before shutting down completely?

I realize #4 probably can't be answered here but you never know.
 

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I would assume that turtle mode is initiated because the battery only maintains a very small reserve (0.5-1 kWh) that is only tapped when the vehicle runs out of gas completely. That reserve capacity is intended to move the vehicle as far as possible so that it is more likely to reach a gas station. Less power available to the motor = longer driving distance. Overall, I think this is a great feature.

A few questions for those that experienced this -

1) What was the top speed of the vehicle in turtle mode?
2) Does it handle this top speed at all grades or does it slow down even more when going up a hill?
3) Is the acceleration adequate for most driving situations so that it does not cause any safety concerns on major highways?
4) What is the kWh reserve capacity of the battery (for turtle mode) and how far is it intended to take the vehicle before shutting down completely?

I realize #4 probably can't be answered here but you never know.
I'm sorry but your assumption is incorrect. Turtle mode will engage even if the battery is fully charged. It indicates that the gas motor is unavailable and that the van is operating only on the high voltage battery (assuming you don't also have a transmission warning light which is a different thing entirely). So in turtle mode (with no transmission issues) you could theoretically go 55km or so depending on driving habits and weather conditions although the manual specifically warns against using turtle mode. It's a mode designed to tell you to get gas ASAP. If your van is in turtle mode you should be looking for a gas station or at a minimum a charger, although gas stations are probably more common anyway.

1) The top speed in EV mode that I've seen so far is around 120 km/h, I haven't driven in turtle mode since it's not recommended but the manual leads me to believe that the van will operate normally in EV mode under turtle mode.
2) The van seems to be able to maintain close to the top speed going up a hill in EV mode. I haven't really paid attention too much but it seems to not bleed too much speed under reasonable hills and speeds.
3) Yes, you're basically limited to 50% throttle which is more than enough for normal driving. It's a minivan after all, not a land-speed record attempt. 50% throttle is plenty to accelerate with traffic flow and drive normally. No safety concerns with that.
4) The battery reserve is not documented anywhere I've seen but turtle mode in PacHy is not like turtle mode in an EV where you're down to your last few electrons. Turtle mode in PacHy just means your gas engine isn't available so punching the throttle won't deliver more acceleration than can be drawn from only the battery pack. I'm sure there is a battery reserve of some sort given how it behaves once the battery is 'depleted' (ie, it sure uses a lot of EV mode for having a dead battery) but I wouldn't want to see just how far I can push an empty tank turtle mode PacHy before it dies completely.
 

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I'm sorry but your assumption is incorrect. Turtle mode will engage even if the battery is fully charged. It indicates that the gas motor is unavailable and that the van is operating only on the high voltage battery (assuming you don't also have a transmission warning light which is a different thing entirely). So in turtle mode (with no transmission issues) you could theoretically go 55km or so depending on driving habits and weather conditions although the manual specifically warns against using turtle mode. It's a mode designed to tell you to get gas ASAP. If your van is in turtle mode you should be looking for a gas station or at a minimum a charger, although gas stations are probably more common anyway.

1) The top speed in EV mode that I've seen so far is around 120 km/h, I haven't driven in turtle mode since it's not recommended but the manual leads me to believe that the van will operate normally in EV mode under turtle mode.
2) The van seems to be able to maintain close to the top speed going up a hill in EV mode. I haven't really paid attention too much but it seems to not bleed too much speed under reasonable hills and speeds.
3) Yes, you're basically limited to 50% throttle which is more than enough for normal driving. It's a minivan after all, not a land-speed record attempt. 50% throttle is plenty to accelerate with traffic flow and drive normally. No safety concerns with that.
4) The battery reserve is not documented anywhere I've seen but turtle mode in PacHy is not like turtle mode in an EV where you're down to your last few electrons. Turtle mode in PacHy just means your gas engine isn't available so punching the throttle won't deliver more acceleration than can be drawn from only the battery pack. I'm sure there is a battery reserve of some sort given how it behaves once the battery is 'depleted' (ie, it sure uses a lot of EV mode for having a dead battery) but I wouldn't want to see just how far I can push an empty tank turtle mode PacHy before it dies completely.
This is great information - thank you.

I think I should have rephrased my question about the reserve capacity. My assumption is that turtle mode is a mode that is, by default, always available should the engine cease to operate (for whatever reason) or the vehicle runs out of gas. That means it needs to operate even if the battery has no capacity to operate the vehicle in EV mode only. Assuming the driver never plugs the PacHy in and only operates the vehicle as a hybrid, I assume the vehicle will always maintain a minimum battery reserve capacity to allow the vehicle to enter into turtle mode (i.e. pure electric mode) and provide the vehicle enough power to "limp" along for a reasonable distance to locate a gas station. Even in pure hybrid mode, the battery will maintain a varying state of charge (SOC) so it must maintain a minimal "turtle mode reserve" capacity just in case the vehicle runs out of gas or the engine fails for whatever reason.

So I agree with you that turtle mode is essentially an alarm telling you to "find gas NOW" but it should also be designed to get you as far as possible when it does engage, thus the forced reduction in available power.

I'm sure someone on this forum will be curious enough to take their PacHy to the limit and run it til it runs out of gas (bringing a can of gas along of course)... and see how far it will travel in turtle mode before shutting down altogether. Of course I'm not encouraging that but if anyone does this, please report your findings here.
 

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I hear what you're saying but I don't know if there's a need for some minimum battery level for turtle mode. It's entirely possible that if you already have a depleted battery and you run out of gas the van will simply show you the turtle and promptly die on the side of the road. I agree that when it says the battery is depleted it isn't actually fully discharged but I doubt the battery range with no fuel available is more than a few hundred meters - probably enough for you to go from the far left lane to the right shoulder of a highway. I'd be surprised if it was any more than that. I know conventional hybrids like Toyotas can go EV for a couple hundred meters on their puny little batteries so I expect our PacHy's to do something similar with '0%' remaining. I doubt the engineers would design it such that the battery management system would allow the battery to be damaged in any way, especially for a temporary and easily rectified situation like no fuel/no charge. It wouldn't make sense for them to block off a huge part of capacity for emergencies and it wouldn't make sense for them to allow the use of the small part that is actually blocked off for battery health reasons. They have probably decided that rather than sacrifice the battery because some fool forgot to buy gas for their van, they're prepared to just let the car die on the side of the road with some percentage of battery remaining in reserve (if hidden from the driver). After all, that's what roadside assistance is for.
 

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So a couple of users on the Facebook have been experimenting with running the van with no gas at all. Other than the turtle icon, the van appears to function normally. One driver shows acceleration at a decent clip up to 85 mph.

If it weren't for the fact that my spouse borrows the van occasionally on the weekend and hates going to the gas station (she owns a Tesla) I'd be very tempted to run on empty full time. For one thing, it would keep the van from lurching into ICE mode every time someone changes lanes in front of me on the highway while cruising in ACC.
 

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This is not a good thing to do as the electric fuel pump in the tank is always running when in run position even when the ICE is off. These actions will burn up the pump in the tank with no fuel to cool the pump.
 

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This is not a good thing to do as the electric fuel pump in the tank is always running when in run position even when the ICE is off. These actions will burn up the pump in the tank with no fuel to cool the pump.
And why is it always running? You dont think they have the ability to turn it off?

Pic courtesy of Justin Reedholm’s video from facebook driving on empty tank.. comments that it drives no drifferent then full electric mode.

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I'm toying with an idea of faking the "low gas" signal from the fuel level sensor. The question is if the van will switch to electric based on the sensor or will try to run on gas until the fuel pump will suck up the air.
 

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I'm toying with an idea of faking the "low gas" signal from the fuel level sensor. The question is if the van will switch to electric based on the sensor or will try to run on gas until the fuel pump will suck up the air.
I‘m near positive that once the gauge get to a software defined “empty” it sets the turtle (and that this signifies a change in mode to “no engine support available, limited power”). Waiting for pressure drop would be pretty backward.. but Chrysler is always a wildcard.

Probably the best way to get full electric opperation seeing now that the drivability isn’t capped in turtle mode.

However this raises possible negative conditions for your vehicle.

The software monitors fuel level and fills.. you will change these counts. forcing Pure EV mode may defeat the maintenance routines and if you neglect to manage your engine health yourself might cause damage. Limited cabin heat. Limited power should an evasive driving situation require more.. maybe have Warranty issues for modification to the powertain. I don't feel its inherently unsafe mod.. there are vehicles with less power on the road and handling, abs, traction and all other safety systems remain functional.

The range is so limited already I would imaging forcing EV mode wouldnt be super useful?

If you do, remember to switch through the correct resistor value of the correct wattage. Edit: 1000ohm will equal empty. 1/4W will get hot. 1/2W is better.

I’ll look up more info on the fuel
system and update this post as I find info.

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This is not a good thing to do as the electric fuel pump in the tank is always running when in run position even when the ICE is off. These actions will burn up the pump in the tank with no fuel to cool the pump.
Can you show me where you found this information? I can't imagine a good reason that the van would run the fuel pump continuously since the vehicle can operate in EV mode for 95% of the trips that an average driver takes. On the other hand, it wouldn't be the only odd thing that FCA has done with the PacHy.
 
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