Energy Center Averages 83 MPG in Plug-in Prius Two-Month Trial

By · September 09, 2010

CCSE Plug-in Prius

Seven weeks. 13 employees, 3,450 miles. 83 a few kilowatt-hours.

The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) today officially started its participation in Toyota’s global Prius PHV Demonstration Program, which includes 150 vehicles placed with various partners throughout the U.S. But since June, CCSE has been running its own “in house” testing program, under the direction of Mike Ferry, the Center’s Manager of Transportation Programs.

Between July 6 and August 25, Ferry cycled 13 CCSE employees through seven- to 10-day driving stints. “I wanted to capture a wide range of driving behaviors and attitudes, so I chose selectively among our 56 employees in deciding who would get to have the cars, take them home, and utilize them for their daily commute and personal use,” Ferry said. The CCSE administrates the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project.

Ferry said that CCSE could only accomplish so much with such a limited timeframe and small sample size, “but nevertheless, our early data points to absolutely incredible results.” Specifically: seven weeks, thirteen employees, 3,450 miles, and 83 miles-per-gallon, “plus a few kilowatt-hours,” Ferry added.

Ferry’s trial ended up with a “fantastic cross-section” of drivers. “We had car enthusiasts and car agnostics, someone who normally drives a pick-up with a V8 and someone who drives a regular 2010 Prius,” Ferry said. “We had employees with long commutes and short commutes, people who could charge at home and people who could only charge the vehicle here at CCSE.”

CCSE’s best Prius PHV driver? The head of HR. “I still find it hard to believe what she accomplished with just a 5.2 kWh battery pack,” said Ferry. With just three hours of 110V charging both at home and at work, “she turned a 48-mile roundtrip work commute, normally driven in a 1991 Honda Accord getting 22 mpg on a good day, into a near-zero emission, gasoline-sipping eco-ride.” At the end of seven days, CCSE’s HR chief had driven 379 miles and averaged 97.9 mpg.

“People aren’t blind to what’s happening around us,” said Ferry. “The average American may not know the exact numbers, but they know that we’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars every year on foreign oil, that we’re constantly paying a price for our oil addiction, like we saw in the Gulf of Mexico, and that every time we drive past a gas station and see those prices, we feel trapped because we’re all hostage to whatever gasoline costs, and who knows what it may cost tomorrow.”

Mike's Notes

Number of Prius PHVs: 2

Total Miles Driven: 3,455 over seven weeks

Number of Drivers: 13

Drivers with access to home charging: 9

Drivers with access to workplace charging: 13

Average work commute: 22 miles roundtrip

Average mileage of 13 vehicles not used: 26 mpg

Average mileage of Prius PHVs: 83 mpg

Total gallons of gasoline used: 42

Total kilowatt-hours of electricity used: 300

Petroleum reduction over seven weeks: 68%

GHG emissions reduction (assuming average
CA electricity generation):

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.