Motoring Discussion > Hybrids and Starting Troubles Miscellaneous
Thread Author: Bromptonaut Replies: 19

 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - Bromptonaut
In current scenario folks in our road are using their cars far less than normal.

One neighbour intended to go shopping yesterday found his 18 month old Toyota Hybrid wouldn't start. The AA came out and jump started it and he took it up to M16/19 and back. Turned out another neighbour had experienced similar issue with a 2yo Kia PHEV.

Further chit/chat during our socially distanced VE day drinks elicited fact that somebody else's (now gone) Lexus had also had same problem. IIRC he is an engineer; he certainly does most of his own car maintenance. His comment on the street's 'Whatsapp' is the really annoying thing about hybrids is they won’t fire up unless there is enough power in the normal 12v battery, even though you have a racking great big battery in the back.

Any one care to comment or add their own experience?
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - sooty123
Stands to reason I suppose, more electronics means that there is more monitoring of them. Limits on what is allowed before you get the OK to start will naturally be tighter.
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - Lygonos
Can affect full EVs also.

The 12v battery runs the usual electronic systems and is recharged by the 400+V traction battery when ignition is turned on for most cars.

The self-discharge rate for Li-ion is virtually nil but some EVs have passive systems (Tesla when "sentry mode*" activated for example) that draw a few kWh per day and can lead to the big battery running down.

* 24/7 360° camera recording - especially useful in the US where morons seem to target EVs as "un-American"
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - commerdriver
Longest I ever left my hybrid Golf was 5 weeks last year when I couldn't drive temporarily for medical reasons, it started fine, main battery still had about the same charge as when I left it.
It would always move off in electric if there was any charge at all in the main battery.

Its non hybrid replacement is ready to go having been started and moved slightly a couple of times in the last 6 weeks.
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - Robin O'Reliant
I was wondering about that myself. Next door has a Toyota CHR which hasn't moved off his drive for six or seven weeks as he is 75 with underlying health conditions. His wife won't touch it as she can't get on with whatever electronic contraption operates the handbrake so the car will be parked up for another three weeks at the very least.

Be interesting to see what happens when he wants to use it again.
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - Falkirk Bairn
Toyota hybrids do not like lots of short journeys - battery fails are quite common.
Short Journeys = Runs down the 12v battery which is recharged from braking in normal use.

HJ had an article on this issue on his DT HJ column
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - Crankcase
Given that garden centres are opening on Wednesday, and assuming they don't think you'll be walking to them, many drivers will be hitting the roads in a couple of days.

There's probably a considerable crossover in the hybrid / garden centre portion of the population.
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - VxFan
>> Given that garden centres are opening on Wednesday

Round here in South Oxfordshire, the majority didn't close. They used a loophole that as they sell pet food, then they could remain open. As customers were going there for "essential shopping" to buy food for their pets, they sold anything else they wanted too as well. The garden centres also used the excuse that some people like to grow their own food, so perfectly acceptable to sell grow bags and seeds.

No different to supermarkets in reality though. Whilst there on your "essential shopping trip" there's nothing stopping you from buying electrical items if they sold them.
Last edited by: VxFan on Sat 9 May 20 at 20:57
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - smokie
The drive battery is charged by braking but I'd not realised the 12v was too. Are you sure about that?
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - Stuu
We had trouble with my wife's Prius with a flat battery after 4 days, but it turned out that one of the cells in the 12v was knackered. Car is 2016 so 12v not too ancient, no idea how long it was like that as until lockdown it was on the road every other day at least.

Service manager at Toyota said that Toyotas 'wake up' when the key is nearby so if a key is stored by front door near the car, this can apparently cause an additional drain, though Toyota recommend running the car for I think it is an hour every week. Service manager said he wouldn't rely on the 12v doing 2 weeks.

My Auris hybrid has been fine, though longest it has been left is 11 days. 12v is charged by the engine so I was told, hence the advice to leave it running for an hour a week, hybrid battery by braking/engine.
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - smokie
There are quite a number of problems reported on the Ampera forum which seem to be down to a battery on it's way out (biut not yet dead). These manifest (usually) as spurious fault codes which are worrying but sometimes clear the next time it's started.

The forum recommendation is to change the 12v every three years or thereabouts, which isn't a huge cost if you can diy.

Mine has stood for over a month in airport parking and worked fine afterwards. But the other day it wanted to run engine maintenance mode, described on Wikipedia as

"For users who drive mostly in electric mode, and to avoid maintenance problems caused by storing the same gasoline in the tank for months, [it] has a sealed and pressurized fuel tank to avoid evaporation...Also, the engine management system monitors the time since the engine last ran, and prompts the driver to run past the 40-mile (64 km) all-electric range before recharging to consume some gasoline. If the driver does not run on gasoline, the system automatically runs the maintenance mode, which starts the engine to consume some of the aging fuel and circulate fluids within the engine" due to not having been run on petrol for quite some time."
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - Shiny
Someone at work's Father's Prius had the same problem and had to call the RAC. I believe there is some isolating master plug you can unplug if leaving parked up? Anyone know if that's true?
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - smokie
For the Ampera (similar to, but better than a Prius :-) ) the owners handbook suggests disconnecting the 12v battery if being left for extended periods.

The manual doesn't mention Transport mode, which is used to put it into a sleep mode for overseas shipment ( - all Amperas were built in a specialist plant in the States). You put it into this state by a combination of starting the ICE, putting on the hazards, pressing the brake pedal and pressing the start button.

The user group also recommends using a trickle charger as an alternative - some use solar chargers.

The recommendation is also to leave the main battery less than half charged, though I feel I've seen that questioned somewhere.

I didn't do any of these when I left mine at the airport, because I forgot.

If the 12v is flat you just jump it like you would an old-fashioned car. :-)
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - No FM2R
>The user group also recommends using a trickle charger as an alternative - some use solar chargers.

A solar panel on the roof seems like a genius idea to me. I'm genuinely surprised they don't have them.
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - sooty123
>> >The user group also recommends using a trickle charger as an alternative - some use
>> solar chargers.
>> A solar panel on the roof seems like a genius idea to me. I'm genuinely
>> surprised they don't have them.

I remember reading in car and driver a little while back Ford looked at it, but it wasn't worth the effort and money. The panels were expensive to fit into a car and provided tiny amounts of energy.
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - smokie
I'm sure you're right - many years ago I had a solar phone charger. Albeit was a cheap one, it would hardly get any charge into itself, let alone a phone, in the limited solar we have here.

Having said that there are mat ones which you put on the dash.rear shelf which I'm pretty sure some over here use when leaving the car for a while.

Halfords have one which they call a maintainer. I don't imagine they'd stock it if it were useless.
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - Crankcase
Toyota made a Prius roof solar panel available as a REALLY EXPENSIVE option in 2010. It charged the 12 volt battery as and when.

They are apparently trialling a new version, that adds yer actual range:

I suspect it will no longer be REALLY EXPENSIVE, but it might be EYE-WATERINGLY EXPENSIVE instead.

 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - Zero
I have seen the solar panel on the roof of my caravan pumping 2.5 amps into the leisure battery, (and its not a big one) so the roof of a car should provide ample real estate to maintain a system battery on a car thats on standby.

The issue is that its an expensive thing to design and engineer a solar roof in a car.
Last edited by: Zero on Sat 9 May 20 at 20:52
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - PeterS
IIRC Audi was offering an optional solar sunroof on the A8 twenty five years ago! I don’t think it charged the battery though, but operated the ventilation fans to keep the interior temperature of the car down.
 Hybrids and Starting Troubles - NortonES2
Toyota and Lexus advise putting the hybrid into "ready" state for an hour. Engine might start up occasionally, to charge the traction battery, which is what feeds the 12v battery. This is what we do now, after the 12v ran short. No trouble since. Touch wood.

Latest Forum Posts