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  1. #1
    Guest

    jump-starting a hybrid vehicle?

    As I was loading groceries into the trunk of my '04 Honda Civic Hybrid, I saw the jumper cables I've had clunking around in the trunk for the past 8 months I've owned the car and wondered, "Do I even really need these?"

    Has anybody ever had to jump-start their hybrid car? If the IMA motor is indeed the starter motor, and the IMA motor uses the 144 volt battery pack in the back (which is obviously not the batteries would use the jumper cables on -- yikes!), would the civic hybrid (or for that matter, other hybrids) ever need a jump-start?

    If the 12V battery runs down completely for some reason (e.g., using a power inverter inside the car to power a laptop for too long), I am assuming that the IMA battery charges the 12V battery. Does anyone know more details about how the 12V battery gets charged?

    Thanks,
    Stephen Fenwick

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  3. #2
    Guest

    jump-starting a hybrid vehicle?

    The IMA is used only down to a certain temperature. Below that temperature, the 12V battery is needed to start the car. The 12V battery is charged only when the engine is running, thus if it's very cold and you have a dead 12V battery, you will be unable to start your car.

  4. #3
    Guest

    jump-starting a hybrid vehicle?

    Looked at the FEH in the parts catalogs at my Ford dealership today. They do not have an alternator shown, which implies that the 12v battery draws it's charge from the same "Generator" source as the electric motor battery.
    There appears to be two radiators also - 1 for the engine and one for the transmission/electric motor assembly. It will be interesting to compare the Hybrid with a standard I4 gas engine Escape.

    I'm sure the owner's manuals will cover jump starting procedures - I'll look at mine as soon as I get one.

  5. #4
    Guest

    jump-starting a hybrid vehicle?

    Like the Prius, the Escape has two independent cooling systems for the gas and electric parts of the drivetrain. This is probably because electric things like to run cooler.

    The 12volt battery in both vehicles is charged by the inverter, which is powered from the HV battery pack.

    The Escape has a jump-starting system which may be unique. It's possible to pull enough energy from the 12v battery to recharge the HV battery such that it can start the engine. They claim the 12v battery is big enough to give you two chances at getting the engine started before you have to jump/recharge the 12v battery. This is a clever solution to the discharged HV battery problem.

  6. #5
    Guest

    jump-starting a hybrid vehicle?

    On the Honda forums, usually the problem was a dead 12V battery in extremely cold weather, not a dead NIMH pack. It sounds like the starting criteria is different between Ford and Honda's design at the least.

  7. #6
    Guest

    jump-starting a hybrid vehicle?

    Not entirely. The 12v battery has to have sufficient charge to turn on the computer in the Escape and Prius.

    The difference is (and the reason the HV jumpstart system in the Escape is so interesting) is that it's easy to jump/charge a 12v battery but a little more challenging to jump/charge a 200v plus one...

  8. #7
    Guest

    jump-starting a hybrid vehicle?

    I do emergency road service. It is very important that if you need a jumpstart, and call for roadside assistance, that they DO NOT use a portable power source "jump pac". This could, and has in the past, damaged components. Have them use jumper cables. This will put around 60-90 amps, as opposed to 750-1000 amps.

  9. #8
    Guest

    jump-starting a hybrid vehicle?

    I currently have to jump start my 2003 hybrid civic every day. The batteries (both of them) die daily.

    There is, to date, no explanation for this. The dealer has found nada. It started a month ago. Average temperatures this month and last have been in the 70's and 80's.

    What components can be damaged? I take a portable charger with me everywhere now because I can't rely on my battery to start my car.

    I am a very sad panda.

  10. #9
    Guest

    jump-starting a hybrid vehicle?

    Stephanie,

    There is no excuse for having to jump-start your hybrid. Car companies have been making electric starters for years and the hybrid is no different from any regular non-hybrid in this regard. Complain, complain loudly, complain often, to your dealer. If this doesn't work, start taking down names of who you talk with and ask to speak with their supervisors and follow up with their supervisors.

  11. #10
    Guest

    jump-starting a hybrid vehicle?

    Stephanie,

    I second and amen former EV-1 driver. Management at dealerships and for sure, regional manufacturers' reps are usually very much aware of non published flaws in their products.


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