What Is EV Mode?: Prius Toyota

  • Time to read: 5 min.

If you’re new to electric vehicles or hybrid vehicles, you might be puzzled by the various modes available, which tend to include EV Mode, ECO Mode, Sport Mode, Power Mode, and Snow Mode.

EV mode is short for Electrical Vehicle mode and is therefore only available in hybrid vehicles. But what does it actually do, and when should you be using it?

The following article will explain all you need to know about hybrid cars’ EV mode, as well as briefly outline all the other modes found in electric and hybrid vehicles. 

EV Mode Explained

Electric vehicle mode is a mode only available to hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius and unlike other modes, it’s quite particular in its uses. Essentially, when a car is running in electric vehicle mode, the only power is being pulled from the car’s battery.

This makes for far more efficient driving, but it does mean that the car has access to less power than it usually would. For this reason, electric vehicle mode is only recommended for specific conditions where the car is moving at very low speeds, and should only be used for up to one mile at a time.

Examples of times when electric vehicle mode is actually handy include driving through a car park looking for a space, or reversing out of your driveway or garage. 

One thing that drivers of hybrid vehicles must be aware of is that, when driving in electric vehicle mode, your vehicle is virtually silent. You must be extra vigilant, as pedestrians, cyclists, or other vehicles may not hear your car approaching while you’re in electric vehicle mode.

To avoid harm to yourself and others, you must pay utmost attention to what’s going around you when using the electric vehicle mode.

ECO Mode Explained

A somewhat obscure driving mode, ECO mode allows your vehicle to run in a more economic way. Although its purpose is clear, a lot of drivers aren’t clear on how it actually works.

Essentially, it increases fuel efficiency by reducing the vehicle’s acceleration levels, and although this doesn’t make any changes to the engine power of the vehicle, this means that the accelerator will be less sensitive.

This, in turn, means less fuel will be used when the pedal is pressed in the same interval.

ECO mode is most handy when you’re driving through a busy city, stopping and starting regularly, because you’ll want your accelerator to be less sensitive in this context.

It also helps to regulate the power used by the vehicle’s air conditioning, as well as other accessories, in order to increase fuel efficiency. 

Your vehicle’s dash may feature an indicator light displaying ‘ECO’. This is quite different to ECO mode.

This indicator light is there to inform you whether you’re driving economically while putting your vehicle into ECO mode makes adjustments to how the vehicle is running in order to make it run more economically. 

Unlike the aforementioned electric vehicle mode, ECO mode isn’t strictly confined to hybrid cars. Even some vehicles that run on gas feature their own variation of ECO mode.

Other Vehicle Modes

There are a few other vehicle modes you might want to be aware of. These include power mode, sport mode, and snow mode. 

Sport Mode / Power Mode

One of the more popular modes, the sport mode, allows for increased power and increased response, which is designed to give the driver a more enjoyable ride.

Sport mode will make the throttle more sensitive, and an automatic transmission can respond at similar speeds by downshifting earlier. It also makes for quicker and heavier steering.

While in sport mode the body of the vehicle will usually feel more planted on its wheels, which improves the stability of the vehicle and reduces the workload of the driver.

Power mode is much the same. Just like sport mode, it is designed to increase the vehicle’s acceleration levels, which will result in an increase (or at least a perceived increase) in the engine’s power because the driver can accelerate faster.

It should be noted that neither sport mode nor power mode actually have any effect on the engine’s power. It’s more that they reduce the effort required for the driver to feel like their engine has increased power. 

Snow Mode

Snow mode is quite straightforward, simply giving your vehicle more traction control so you’re better equipped in slippery conditions. Most beneficial in snowy, icy, and particularly rainy conditions, snow mode will allow you to feel safer when accelerating. 

There are some other driving modes available with certain cars. One of these is the TOUR mode. This is most useful when you’re on a highway road trip. TRACK mode, on the other hand, is used for weekend lapping. 

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Hybrid Cars

How Do Electric Cars Differ From Hybrid Cars?

The main difference between hybrid cars and electric cars is that hybrid cars use two motors, one that runs on a battery and one that uses gasoline.

The benefit of a hybrid is that you can use the battery for short trips, and on longer journeys, it will run like a regular car.

Because of this, they’re very fuel efficient. Hybrids tend to get between 30 and 45 miles per gallon. 

Electric cars, on the other hand, run exclusively on a battery. They tend to be quite expensive because of the distances they can travel. Some of the best electric cars have between 250 and 300 mile electric ranges.

Electric range is the electric vehicle equivalent of miles to the gallon. Just like with hybrid cars, they tend to have excellent fuel efficiency. 

What Is EV Mode?

EV mode (electric vehicle mode) is a mode exclusive to hybrid vehicles, including the Toyota Prius and one that makes it so your vehicle is only pulling power from the battery.

Since this naturally means it’s using far less power, it’s ideal for when you’re driving slowly for less than a mile at a time, as it allows your vehicle to run with more efficiency.

The one thing you must remember when using electric vehicle mode is that, when activated, it makes your car almost entirely silent. This makes it a lot harder for cyclists, pedestrians, and other vehicles to be aware of your presence.