Would Prius make good delivery vehicle with multiple short trips daily?

If you had to start the vehicle forty times a day and took short trips of 1/2 to 3 miles per, six days a week would that be hard on the battery system and the power button? Can the prius start and run on the engine alone if the battery system gets depleted or fails entirely?

You might want to post this on a Prius discussion board/form. While a Prius should be good in stop and go, forty on/off cycles a day is pretty unusual. I bet someone’s doing it, though.

The battery will be fine. The gas engine will charge it as needed.

The Prius will definitely shine in low speed driving. If your only concern is about this, then I say go for the Prius. It won’t have any more problems than a conventional car.

From what I understand, the Prius cannot run on the gas engine alone if the battery dies.

With the way the current generation of Prius works, I don’t think short trips would be the best. The trouble is that as soon as you start out in the Prius the gas engine comes on and runs until the car warms up. The car really shines when the engine is warmed up and so can stop running in stop and go traffic, but it sounds like you wouldn’t be doing much driving with the engine warmed up.

However! Wait a few years-- plug-in hybrids are supposedly just over the horizon. These will be able to complete entire short trips without turning on at all and they should be perfect for your needs.

Also, if these short deliveries are all you’re doing, have you considered a full-electric vehicle?

Regardless of the drive train functionality, is the Prius an appropriate vehicle ? Does it meet your needs otherwise for space utilization and ease of entry/exit and general chassis configuration ? Because it wasn’t designed as a delivery vehicle, I wouldn’t use one as such. There’s a reason mail delivery and UPS vehicles aren’t very aerodynamic and plain butt ugly.

I think the Prius makes good sense for the situation and use you describe. The only question is does it have the space you need? If yes, it would give you good fuel economy, be reliable, and will give many years of service. It will handle the number of starts and stops better than a conventional car since it has a starter motor designed for more frequent starts.

That sounds like a lot of wear on certain components. Would it make more sense to leave the engine running (with the parking brake on) and lock the doors with a second key?

Even if you do that, the Prius will shut the engine off for you. It has a special starter that is more robust than a normal one.

I think an electric car would be best, but you won’t find one on the market that can handle that kind of range yet. I think a hybrid would be a good second choice.

We have had Prius Green Taxis here in Denver for a few years now. They seem to do well as taxis which make a lot of short trips around town.


But the run continuously, don’t they? How often do the drivers turn off the engine? Your point about stop-and-go around town is resonable, though.

The Prius automatically shuts down the engine when the vehicle stops, unless the air conditioning is running. Prius Taxis probably almost never run continuously.

Yeah, now that I think about it, a Prius probably does more than 40 on/off cycles just driving a while in town. What might hurt economy some (but not the Prius) is if the engine has a chance to cool off a lot between deliveries, then it won’t get as good mpgs.

No. When the engine is not running, the pedestrians can’t hear the car coming or starting off. Driving in town is when you will “run into” pedestrians.

“Prius Taxis probably almost never run continuously.”

It seems to me that they must run the engine a lot more that the usual owner would. The engine must run if the drive battery is low to recharge it.

Not to digress, but how often do starters on regular cars fail? My 2002 Sienna has 164,000 miles and has had no starter problems. Of course, a lot of those miles were highway driving, and I understand Toyota starters are well designed.

But, do you owners of other makes of cars ever have to replace starters? Just curious.

Toyota has designed a revolutionary safety device to combat this problem: It’s called a horn.

I know of a pizza delivery place that operates Prii(?), but I think that’s more of a “statement” thing than an ecomonic one (other than the econ. benefit of being seen as “green.”)

I think such a duty cycle would be hard on any vehicle and I’d definitely get a uesd vehicle for that purpose. Since my motto for (well) used vehicles is “the simpler, the fewer things to break,” I would not advocate a hybrid.