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-   -   Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid? (http://www.fuelly.com/forums/f35/anyone-tried-a-wai-with-a-hybrid-14047.html)

Jay2TheRescue 01-14-2012 08:11 AM

Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
I'm thinking I need a WAI on the Escape. 2 days ago, I filled the tank and drove home (~40 miles) and when I got home the trip average was 43 MPG as reported by the Scangauge. Ambient air temp was 60F. Last night, I drove the same route, with the cruise set at the same speed, (45 MPH) and the Scangauge reported 29 MPG for the trip. The only thing different was the ambient air temp was 29F. Could a 30 degree drop in temperature really equate to a 10+ MPG drop in economy? If so I see fantastic gains available with a WAI.

Has anyone here tried a WAI with a hybrid? What were the results?

trollbait 01-14-2012 10:10 AM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
Along with a grill block, removing the snorkel connecting the air box to outside air was a common practice on the gen2 Prius. The gains seen were mostly from shortening the warm up stage used to get the cat and engine up to temp. Block heaters were also used, even outside of winter.

Most of the drop you saw might have been do to the battery though. In the cold its performance can really drop with supplying power and charge capacity. Which leads to more use of the ICE. A WAI may help out, but if you are in the he habit of toughening out the cold, try using the cabin heat to keep the battery happier. Some also talked of using a 12 volt electric blanket to heat the battery on the Prius.

Jay2TheRescue 01-14-2012 11:17 AM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
That was exactly what I was thinking to start... I was going to remove the snorkel. I don't think the battery should have been too cold, I had the climate control set on 75F.

theholycow 01-14-2012 11:31 AM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
How about cabin heat usage? What does that cost in FE for the FEH? Could that be to blame for your FE?

Jay2TheRescue 01-14-2012 12:45 PM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
I don't think that makes a difference when you're steady state driving at 45 MPH with the cruise on. The FEH won't go electric over 40 MPH. If you're driving low speed and going in/out of electric, then it would make a difference, as there will be times the engine will start to keep warm, rather then to charge the battery.

Jay2TheRescue 01-14-2012 01:33 PM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
Well, I removed the snorkel, and to do that I had to remove the battery tray. I noticed that the "eye" on the battery was red. Took it into the local auto parts store, and although it didn't test bad, it did test weak. I decided to just replace the battery as well. I should definitely see some sort of mileage gain with the snorkel removed, and a new 12V battery. Now my intake air temps are 10-30 degrees over ambient in the short run I made after replacing the battery.

benfrogg 01-14-2012 05:16 PM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
You could pick up one of those battery operated wireless thermometers to monitor the temp inside the battery compartment. Then you'd know for sure what temp the battery was and wether it was having a significant effect on MPG. I bet it does have a big effect.
Most of the automakers swapped to LiFeP04 batteries in 2010. Since yours is 2008, I think it's safe to assume you have a NiMh battery pack. NiMh's are way more effected by cold temps than Lithium's.... that's one major reason for the swap.

I'd buy a 120v house current heated blanket and wrap the battery box. (pull it in summer) Run the cord up to the front of the car, tie that in with a small circulating "tank type" block heater. Then your ICE would be warm as well as your battery pack whenever you needed it.


Jay2TheRescue 01-14-2012 07:04 PM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
Well, the computer system has a temp sensor in the battery pack, and I can program an xgauge to display that. I would love to be able to use a block heater, but since its usually parked on the street, and we don't have any exterior outlets either, a block heater or electric blanket are both out of the question.

8$PG 01-15-2012 01:17 AM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
Some electric cars have built in battery heaters that uses the current from the batteries to heat themselves. This can actually increase the usable charge in the batteries. I think this is less of a practical issue in hybrids since you always have the combustion engine as a power source. But it is an efficiency issue no doubt because the batteries becomes virtually unusable at very low temperatures.

Jay2TheRescue 01-15-2012 05:50 AM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
I thought the batteries heated up with use anyway, hence the need for Ford to give the battery pack its own air conditioning system.

trollbait 01-15-2012 06:22 AM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
I believe the battery cooling system on that Escape is nothing more than a fan. The previous gen actually had liquid cooling. That's because it was using off the shelf round D cells. Ford switched to a square, prismatic cell like Toyota uses. These cells are much more efficient at dissipating heat.

Whatever cooling system used, it's there to keep the battery from cooking itself during the summer. The cold of winter only reduces its efficiency. So a heating system isn't in place since there is always the ICE to move the vehicle. The heat the batteries generate isn't enough to overcome freezing temps.

Jay2TheRescue 01-15-2012 06:43 AM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
There is a fan, with an a/c evaporator coil. In cool temps it will draw outside air to cool the battery pack, but when the outside air is too warm, it will cool the air with the a/c system. If you look under my Escape, you can see the freon lines running under the vehicle. I think in 09 they did away with the a/c system cooling the battery in favor of another method.

trollbait 01-15-2012 05:47 PM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
The gen2 and later Prius just has a fan to circulate cabin air into the battery compartment. Blocking the vent on the side off the rear seat, or hauling hairy dogs, can cause problems. The gen1 drew in outside air. The vent on the C-pillar is one way to tell it from an Echo.

Engineers didn't bother trying to warm the battery. Only people like us would appreciate the gains in cold weather. Most of the public wouldn't notice. So it wasn't worth the effort.

How accessible is the battery compartment from inside the cabin? Perhaps a small 12 volt heater or blanket could help warm the battery if that's the issue.

Jay2TheRescue 01-15-2012 07:12 PM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
The battery is very accessible. The cargo area carpet is laid right on top of the battery.

trollbait 01-16-2012 01:50 PM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
It is likely the battery being too cold. Hybrids tend to have a larger percentage drop in fuel economy than a standard car with the cold. Still do better in total numbers. I only bothered with a grill block, and still got around 45mpg in the winter with the Prius.

Trying to heat the battery is an option to try if the WAI and grill block aren't enough.

Jay2TheRescue 01-16-2012 02:00 PM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
Ok, today I programmed the Scangauge to display battery temp as a gauge. Started today with a 29F battery. After a couple short stops I had it to 70F. It seems that the battery warms up just fine with use. I think any attempt to try to warm it up faster with a 12V blanket or other means would just waste more energy than it saves.

trollbait 01-16-2012 05:02 PM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
I wonder if Ford does have some type of warming system for the battery, or if their cells just hold heat longer. That would explain the use of the condenser in cooling it.

I don't remember anyone actually monitoring the pack temperature on the Prius.

Jay2TheRescue 01-16-2012 05:47 PM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
On Ford Escape hybrid forums, watching the battery pack temp is something a lot of people talk about.

trollbait 01-17-2012 07:36 AM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
When I was active in the technical side of Prius forums, xgauge wasn't available yet for SGII, and the CANview was pricy.

trollbait 01-24-2012 04:43 AM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
Can you monitor cat temps through the xgauge?
The system will burn gas to keep it warm.

Jay2TheRescue 01-24-2012 05:19 AM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
Yes, at least on the Escape Hybrid you can. I find that although technically the motor will start if the cat cools off, I find that more often it starts because the coolant has cooled too much first.

Jay2TheRescue 01-24-2012 05:43 AM

Re: Anyone tried a WAI with a hybrid?
Another thing I noticed... A lot of people on different forums say that the FEH won't go electric unless the battery is at least 50F, but after watching my battery temps last week, there were several times the engine cut out with a 44F battery. However, taking off in electric mode is nearly impossible, when you start from a stop in electric mode with a cold battery, almost as soon as you barely touch the accelerator, the engine starts.

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