Armen Hareyan's picture

Does it Hurt Your Prius If You Run Out of Gas and Use Electric Mode to Get to Station?

Today I was reading some interesting discussion about Toyota Prius and this question came up. Does it hurt your Prius if you use every drop of gas and rely on electric-only to get to the gas station?

Here is how it may or may not, should one run out of gas and rely on electric power only, but let's see what Toyota Prius owners say, based on their experience. The discussion is from Plug-in Prius Owners group on Facebook.

Greg Dorais says "No". He adds that he has done it several times and it has not hurt his vehicle. "Some will argue that running out of gas will overheat the electric fuel pump, but this is a myth as all modern fuel pumps are built with automatic over-temperature shut-off switches."

Don't Hit It Hard
Douglas Stansfield has an opposite view. He says you can do that, "but don't hit the pedal hard as that will cause the gas motor to turn on." He notes that "depending on your Generation of Prius, there are also speed limits that once you go over them will cause the gas engine to come on. You don't want that to happen. Thus, stay under 52 in a Plug In Prius, Gen IIs under 35 miles per hour and I can't remember the gen Is. If you don't know the generations here is a breakdown. 2010 on are Gen IIIs, 2004 to 2009s are Gen IIs and anything before a Gen Is and I would stay away from those."

Manually Switch off EV Mode
One other trick is to manually switch off EV mode when you still have 4 or 5 miles of estimated EV range left. That way, when you run out of gas, you know that you've still got enough EV range to get yourself to a gas station, suggests Dorais.

Pandj Be has an interesting insight. He writes that "if you have a stock Prius, and you fully deplete the NiMh traction battery it won't start. Recharging a dead NiMh traction battery from dealer can cost upto $500 depending on how bad they want to hose you. I have a 10 kWh LiFePO4 plug-in 2008 conversion conversion and can just plug it in. I don't know if you can do that with a stock Plug-in Prius. So far I've gone over 3,600 miles since my last "refill", typically in 25-50 mostly EV mode increments. My top speed in pure EV mode is 70 mph."

What has been your experience regarding this question? Do you drive a lot on EV mode only?

Also see: Why Toyota Prius Owners Contest Consumer Reports' 44 MPG Rating

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