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Some cold weather tips for better mpg.
Get the engine warmed up as soon as possible. Best mpg is at normal (or perhaps higher) operating temperature. With my old gen 2 and currently with my Civic, I'll often put the CVT in "S" to increase low speed rpm,. I'll often leave it there until the cold light goes out. I've noticed doing so gets me to higher mpg operation earlier in my morning drive. How to get more rpm's on a cold gen 3 I can only guess at. The benefit of doing this seems greater on the coldest mornings.

I've not found much that works for maintaining summer mpg while using the heater. It appears though that the heater fan, over time, puts an energy drain on the battery. So what I've been doing is manually, frequently turning the heat on and off. I'll turn the heat off when I have high driving need for battery power, and turn heat on when low driving need, or downhill battery charging situations. My comfort is worth paying a small mpg decrease.

Another idea which doesn't seem to do much, has been to turn the heater temperature knob to its lowest setting when engine is cold. This will cut/reduce the amount of radiator fluid diverted from the cooling system to run over the engine toward the heater fan. The idea here is to prevent the cold/cool radiator fluid from slowing the engines' warming-up process. When doing this I'll turn the heater temperature knob to its highest setting once the engine cold light goes out

All this has given small but measurable mpg improvements. But by far the biggest mpg improvement comes from extra air in the tires. Four to five pounds over the recommended pressure I've seen suggested. Two summers ago I spent an afternoon experimenting with different air pressures. I checked vehicle steering response at different speeds, and the vehicles' willingness to travel in a straight line at highway speeds. I found a sweet spot between too much air and my desire to get more air for highest mpg. I try to check and adjust tire pressures to my sweet spot once a month. I also avoid or drive slowly over bumps in the road, they get much harder with the extra air.

Together with uphill, downhill battery management, and traffic concerns, this turns driving into something more like piloting an airplane, or playing a video game, as my daughter puts it.
 

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Some cold weather tips for better mpg.

I've not found much that works for maintaining summer mpg while using the heater. It appears though that the heater fan, over time, puts an energy drain on the battery. So what I've been doing is manually, frequently turning the heat on and off. I'll turn the heat off when I have high driving need for battery power, and turn heat on when low driving need, or downhill battery charging situations. My comfort is worth paying a small mpg decrease.

Another idea which doesn't seem to do much, has been to turn the heater temperature knob to its lowest setting when engine is cold. This will cut/reduce the amount of radiator fluid diverted from the cooling system to run over the engine toward the heater fan. The idea here is to prevent the cold/cool radiator fluid from slowing the engines' warming-up process. When doing this I'll turn the heater temperature knob to its highest setting once the engine cold light goes out

Moviemike, I appreciate your many tips and follow many of them on getting best mileage. Your stats show you are doing something right! Since your post on managing the heater settings I have been experimenting and offer the following gen 3 specific observations-


I don't think cabin heat is generated through electrical resistance, so it's not the heater fan itself that impacts negatively gen 3 mileage, especially at lower fan RPM settings where a fan draws minimal power- instead it is the demand for heat itself that negatively affects mileage in certain situations. I have noticed, for example, that even if the engine is warmed up, but the cabin is not (following your advice to warm the engine first) the very act of then switching on the heat or turning up the cabin temperature will cause the engine to start running continuously (until cabin heater temperature set demand is satisfied). By turning on the heat in this situation this also means EV mode becomes not available, even when coasting, simply because the engine can now be running solely based on the temperature DEMAND to warm the cabin.

I think this different than gen 2 where the warmed engine was always engaged and therefore had hot water circulating 100% of the time and always available for the cabin heater demands, except when both the car and engine was stopped. Gen 3 does not have the engine running continuously. I try to maximize mileage by running in EV mode (engine not running) when practical and running the engine no more than necessary (again, following your tip). I think this indicates a different approach than what we did with gen 2 with respect to cabin heater management when we want maximum mileage.

I suggest if one is going to manage the cabin heat with trying to maximize mileage, the time to turn on cabin heat in a gen 3 would be 1) after the engine is warmed up from a cold start 2) turning on the heat when the engine is already running to power the car anyway; i.e; when the car has power needs that exceed what's available in EV mode one would be benefiting from getting "free" heat, since an already running warmed engine has to shed surplus heat anyway. This might mean, for example, turning on the cabin heat when ASCENDING a hill, NOT on when descending, at least until the cabin is warmed to the set temperature.


I'm far from an expert, but maybe this post will make others consider this approach or comment otherwise if offering a different theory.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I suggest if one is going to manage the cabin heat with trying to maximize mileage, the time to turn on cabin heat in a gen 3 would be 1) after the engine is warmed up from a cold start 2) turning on the heat when the engine is already running to power the car anyway; i.e; when the car has power needs that exceed what's available in EV mode one would be benefiting from getting "free" heat, since an already running warmed engine has to shed surplus heat anyway. This might mean, for example, turning on the cabin heat when ASCENDING a hill, NOT on when descending, at least until the cabin is warmed to the set temperature.
I really like your theory! Particularly point #2 above. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A Final Cold Weather mpg tip

Sunshine!!

When possible park the car in the sun. The sun will not only warm the interior, leading to less heater use. It will also reduce the cold under the hood, leading to faster engine warm-up and top mpg performance sooner.

This idea came up awhile back at InsightCentral.net. I initially thought the impact would be too small to notice an effect, but I was wrong, it does. My driveway runs East-West. To catch the sunrise I parked the car near the East edge. Cloudiness, overcast, showers is normal weather in Oregon. On those rare sunny mornings when my car is parked out of the shadow of nearby houses, the cold light will go out sooner, and full electric operation is sooner as well. I haven't looked at the mpg impact, but it could be 0.25 - 0.5 mpg improvement on the day's mpg, ....perhaps more.
 

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I don't like turning on the car and then the gas engine starts right up because the AC/heating system is on.

Is there any option to leave the AC/heating system OFF when you start the car instead of returning to the last setting?
 

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I don't like turning on the car and then the gas engine starts right up because the AC/heating system is on.

Is there any option to leave the AC/heating system OFF when you start the car instead of returning to the last setting?
To leave the AC/heating/radio off before starting the car, I think you'll need to turn those off when you shut the car down. @andrew28 mentions no music or heater on at start in this post, so it's possible to manage with some pre-planning.

I kind of view it differently, coming from an older car. While it's not optimal for mpg, I prefer to have the engine come on to give it some warm-up time while not under a driving load. (This is usually ~30 sec while I wait for garage door to close and I check surrounding mirrors.) The high voltage battery also charges up a little before my drive, while the engine runs.
 

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At the time I bought it I told myself that I’d use it in the summer to cool down the car. But even with my black leather interior, I find that a few seconds of AC is (personally) enough, so I don’t remote start over the summer either. I don’t need the entire car to be cool to find it driveworthy.

It probably helps that I’m in the driver's seat. Backseat passengers don’t have vents.

The winter is a totally different story.
The AC works so well and quick that I don't need to remote start the Insight during the summer except when I have passengers in the back.
 
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