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Hybrid battery and winter mileage

It is below zero as I write this. My 2013 Prius (although this probably applies to all hybrids) gets worse mileage in winter. Part of the problem is poor battery performance in cold weather and the engine has to run more. So I wonder how much of the loss is due to the batteries? If I had a heated garage so the batteries were warm how much better would my mileage be? I do realize that starting with a warmer engine also helps but I am just wondering about the batteries. Years ago I had an engine heater. That got me toastier faster but I didn’t compare mileage. I have no idea if I can get a heater for a Prius, I couldn’t find one at JC Whitney.

Not anywhere enough to offset the heating costs . Just relax and realize that you are most likely getting more for your fuel dollars that many other people. Proper tire pressure not letting vehicle warm up to long and keeping short trips to a minimum will do more for your MPG’s.


It’s not just hybrids that get poor mileage in cold weather. That gas robbing weather is an equal-opportunity bandit and steals MPGs from all powered vehicles.

Your easiest and cheapest solution is to buy some long johns or do what I did and get the heck out of there when it gets cold! It’s a cool day here, in the 60s, but expected to warm soon. I don’t miss that cold and my cars don’t miss it either!

Paying to pre-heat anything by using energy goes to defeat the purpose of buying a hybrid in the first place. I look at hybrids as not the best of two worlds (gas & electric), but rather just both worlds, with extra parts/systems and problems associated with both of them.

Buy thermal under ware.

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Unless you take the garage with you when you’re driving, once the car is operated outside in below zero temps, the batteries are going to get cold again anyway. There are pluses and minuses to electric cars and you just discovered one of the minuses.

Any car gets lower mileage in the winter, more so with hybrids but that doesn’t necessarily indicate an issue with the batteries.

Every car with a gas engine has a catalytic converter, and catalysts only function at high exhaust temperatures. When the ambient temps are very cold, the catalyst cools off quickly. The car sees this and the engine will run longer/more to maintain proper catalyst temperature. Couple that with the need for cabin heat (which comes from engine coolant) for safety and passenger comfort, and your mileage will decrease because the engine is running more.

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