Toyota Prius #PlugInForCharity #MPGChallenge 3rd Wave Results

toyota pluginforcharity ecokaren

ecokaren’s Team and Toyota Greater NYC Regional Manager, Kevin Curran

Toyota Prius Plug In For Charity MPGChallenge ended a couple of weeks ago. The participants were kept in the dark as to who came in what place throughout the challenge and we weren’t allowed to reveal what mileage we got until the final result was announced on Monday August 19, 2013.

And now, I am excited to tell you that I tied in FIRST place! 

YES! I won! My hard working family – the ecokaren’s team – helped me log in 646 miles and achieved, are you ready? —- 999 MPG! —- the highest number the car’s odometer registers. (See how the challenge was conducted and the MPG winner was determined in Toyota’s Press Release here.)That’s right! We didn’t use a drop of oil and drove purely on electric for four weeks! See the proud team above, beaming with joy? The only one missing member is my hubby who insisted on doing errands, even at late nights, just to drive the car. I n.e.e.d. this car!

Green4u and ecokaren

Green4u and ecokaren

The organization that tied with me, Earth Day NY logged in 374 miles with 999 MPG also. The third place was my Green Sisterhood sister Green 4 U who drove 376 miles with 251 MPG. I am proud to have been involved with these hard working environmental bloggers in this challenge and I hope  you’ll visit their sites and check them out. Leigh from Green 4 U made two videos about her experiences and they were great!

I cannot tell you how hard it is to achieve this mileage when you live in the suburbs with hills and no charging stations within 20 miles. It took meticulous planning but more than that, we had to drive like my mother. Don’t laugh. It’s true and you know how much it kills me to admit that. My mom knows how to use the brakes like no one’s business; she is clairvoyant so she starts braking way before drivers in front slow down and never tailgates; she presses on the accelerator as if it’s a sewing machine pedal when sewing fine silk fabric; she rarely blasts the A/C; she goes shopping early in the morning when there is less traffic; she ALWAYS drives the speed limit or less. I think she wrote the Prius Plug In’s car manual because it recommended driving exactly how she drives. So yea, I had some help. :)

Watch this video my son made of what my day in the driving a Prius Plug-In was like…running around town, doing errands. The usual stuff that I do daily.

Here are some additional facts I learned about driving a plug-in. I’m sure there a ton of more stats and facts I didn’t come across but these are the facts that got my antennae up.

Did you know?

  • Toyota Prius Plug In Hybrid is THE best climate friendly car in my state. Being an environmental blogger, this fact remains on the top of my list for choosing a car.
  • Energy cost for owning an electric vehicle costs 1/3 less than gas. Being environmentally conscious means saving gas but saving a few bucks doesn’t hurt! Even in my state with the highest utility rates I know, I still saved more money charging the Plug-In than buying gas.
  • MSRP for Prius Plug In Hybrid is lower than any other vehicle in this category. Affordability is a huge factor in buying any car; buying a Plug In should save  you money from the minute you drive it out of the showroom.

Additional tips for driving a plug-in

  • Read the car manual. I never read a car manual until I had to drive the Prius Plug In in the MPGChallenge. I wanted to win and I wanted to find out what I needed to do in order to maximize my MPG. But Plug-In driving tips in the manual are applicable to ALL drivers for ALL types of cars. Except for Plug-In specific information, energy saving driving style applies to any car make and model. I also had some tips half way into the MPGChallenge, that I will keep in mind from now on.
  • I can drive 16 miles on ONE charge. No lie. I have the photo of the dashboard to prove it. But no one else in my family was able to duplicate this. Obviously, there are a lot of factors for achieving this milestone and come to think of it, I doubt even I can repeat this record.
  • I only needed about 1.5 hours to charge fully from a mile left to go on a regular home 120V plug, while for some, it may take the full 3 hours, as Toyota recommends.
  • Looking for an energy efficient car is not easy. There are so many factors to think about but here are few things to consider, but not limited to: your family size, what types of roads you mostly drive on, what distances you drive, price point, and infrastructure in your region. I interviewed a car enthusiast about these factors on Green Sisterhood and the tips we outlined were crucial in making the right car buying decision for you and your family.
ecokaren in first place for  pluginforcharity

$2500 check to Autism Speaks on behalf of Justin

Final words on my winning 999 MPG on 646 miles

Before you start commenting that this MPG is impossible or that it’s not realistic, let me explain what this MPG number means. Plug-In For Charity was a hype-miling MPGChallenge. And I knew if I wanted high MPG, I could NOT use gas so I didn’t. I ONLY drove on #EV. And even if I drove carefully as not to use the gas engine, sometimes the car will automatically kick into hybrid mode when necessary so I had to be really careful not to cause that to happen.

Therefore, for the challenge’s goal of achieving the highest MPG, I charged up the car every time the battery was depleted. I drove like my mother to conserve energy. I mapped out my errands to make sure I didn’t waste energy, driving around, needlessly. And I optimized charging cycles so I knew when the car would be available to drive for my next trip. It can be done.

On a related note, we were so obsessed with MPG that when we went on a family vacation last month, we rented a Toyota Prius Hybrid. It was cheaper to rent and saved money on the gas too! We only got around 75 MPG though. Still, not too shabby but clearly, a Plug In would have been much better. ;)

Autism Speaks.Org and what environment got to do with it?

I chose Autism Speks.Org to donate the winning prize of $2500. This is a world’s leading advocacy organization that fund research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism, while supporting the needs of individuals and their families of those with autism spectrum disorders. The organization has been a vital resource for my dear friend’s son Justin and his family’s daily challenges. And when I heard that autism has been found to be linked to air pollution, competing in a MPG Challenge sponsored by the world’s leading low emission, energy efficient car manufacturer, Toyota was a no brainer.

I want to sincerely thank Toyota for being the “prius” (“first” in Latin) in bringing energy efficient automobile technology to the public and giving me this opportunity to learn. Here is the press release about the Wave 3 who will compete in the next #Pluginforcharity. I can’t wait to see what more innovative technology the company will unveil for the benefit of our future while being responsible for the planet!