Sunday, August 13, 2017

My gamified Prius has changed my driving style forever

So, here's some free advertising for Toyota. We recently changed our old Ford Escape Hybrid for a brand spanking new Toyota Prius. It's red. And it's a lot of fun.
The game, of course, is fuel efficiency. I'm not going to the extremes of some "hypermilers", but the Prius' computerized displays definitely gamify the experience. Our old Ford was a 2009 model, so the displays were basic at best. The new Prius - even though it is only the standard configuration and does not boast the upgraded "Technology" or "Touring" packages - is a revelation to me. You can see exactly where the gas goes (sharp acceleration from standing, hills, etc), and it is so much more efficient than the Ford anyway that you can take a positive pleasure in starting off smoothly, keeping within EV mode, and saving lots of gas. And it's interesting to note that, although I start off much slower than the BMW next to me, I usually see it at the next lights anyway...
So, whereas I used to get around 8.5 L/100km (about 33 mpg UK, or 28 mpg US) in the Ford - despite being a hybrid, it was a 2.5L all-wheel drive to be fair - I am now averaging about 4.3 L/100km (66 mpg UK, or 55 mph US). Typical short trips around town, and even some medium-length highway journeys, regularly give me closer to 3.3 L/100km (86 mpg UK, or 71 mph US). On some journeys, I have managed 2.4 L/100km (118 mpg UK, or 98 mph US).
This continues to be an interesting game for now, although I am sure that the novelty will wear off eventually. It has probably changed my driving style forever, though, and I find myself much more likely to drive within the speed limit, and much less likely to race off at the lights.

A couple of weeks later, my average fuel
consumption is down at 3.6 L/100km (78 mpg UK, 65 mpg US), and my single trip record is a pretty impressive 1.9 L/100km (149 mpg UK, 124 mpg US), even though I wasn't actually specifically trying. And the novelty (and the changed driving style) is, I have to say, very much still there.

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