ECO Mode and EV Mode: What Do They Do?
-Nick Borges-Silva for Wilsonville Toyota
Have you ever looked at the vast array of controls in a modern vehicle and wondered what the heck some of them do? Those controls are further complicated when you factor in the numerous driving modes available in many hybrid vehicles. We get a lot of inquiries about ECO and EV modes in particular, so we decided to put together a simple rundown on what it is these modes, and others, do. And although we’re writing primarily on Toyota’s driving modes, this information is applicable to many other makes and models.
ECO mode is one of the more obscure driving modes available. As many drivers correctly assume, its intention is to make your vehicle run more economically than it would in its normal driving mode; but what many drivers don’t know is how it achieves this effect. ECO mode ultimately aims to increase fuel efficiency by reducing acceleration levels, which—although it doesn’t actually change the vehicle’s engine power—means the accelerator will not be as sensitive and, therefore, not use as much fuel when pressed at the same interval. This feature can be useful during stop-and-go city driving when you may not want your accelerator pedal to be particularly sensitive. ECO mode can also regulate the power provided to your vehicle’s air conditioning system and other accessories to further increase fuel efficiency.
It should be noted that some vehicles come with an ECO indicator light that is very different than the ECO mode button we’re currently discussing. While putting your vehicle in ECO mode actually changes certain components within the vehicle, the ECO indicator light simply tells you if you’re driving in an economic fashion.
It’s also important to acknowledge that ECO mode isn’t exclusive to hybrid vehicles. For instance, the Corolla LE ECO has its own available ECO mode but is still a gas-only vehicle.
EV (short for Electric Vehicle) mode is only available in hybrid vehicles and is much more particular in its uses than other driving modes. If a vehicle is running in EV mode, the vehicle is only pulling power from its battery. This results in the potential for very efficient driving, but it also means the vehicle in question doesn’t have access to as much power as it normally would. That’s why EV mode typically works for just up to one mile and is only applicable under certain conditions at very low driving speeds. Due to these restrictions, it’s best to reserve EV mode for driving extremely short distances that don’t require much speed such as moving a vehicle out of a garage or driving in a parking lot.
Drivers need to be especially careful when utilizing EV mode because it can make vehicles practically silent. This means pedestrians, bikers, and other vehicles may not hear an approaching vehicle while it’s in EV mode. Therefore, it’s paramount that you pay close attention to your surroundings when using this feature.
Other Vehicle Modes (Power, Sport, and Snow)
There are many more driving modes out there in addition to EV and ECO. For instance, Power mode and Sport mode are similar to each other in that they both increase a vehicle’s acceleration levels. This change results in a perceived increase in engine power as drivers can accelerate more quickly due to higher accelerator sensitivity. As indicated above, none of the driving modes discussed in this piece actually alter the physical power that an engine possesses, but they instead change the effort needed to achieve the driver’s desired result. In short, these modes are ideal if you want easier access to engine power and pedal response. You may want to use this feature if, for example, you want to quickly speed up in order to merge onto the freeway.
Another mode you may come across is Snow mode. This mode is relatively straightforward and provides your vehicle with an increase in traction control in slippery conditions. This can be beneficial in snow and similar weather as it will help your vehicle accelerate and drive in a safer manner.
We hope this post shed some light on the various driving modes available to you and made it easier to decide when to utilize features such as increased power accessibility, traction control, fuel efficiency, and electric-only operation.
RAV4’s Locking AWD Mode
Another additional drive mode, specific to 2012-2018 RAV4 models, is the AWD lock mode. The push of a button allows your vehicle to provide power to all four wheels by locking the center differential. This is ideal if your vehicle ends up getting stuck in the mud, or if you need to drive through intensely snowy areas. It is not meant for use on dry roads or pavement, so always make sure to turn this feature back OFF before returning on your daily commute. Watch the video below to learn more.
64 comment(s) so far on ECO Mode and EV Mode: What Do They Do?
What about using ECO mode and EV mode at the same time? I know EV mode uses battery only can they be used together. Would that even work given ECO mode is used for better fuel economy..
The functions vary a bit from one vehicle to another. On some, you can select both modes, understanding that when the vehicle leaves EV mode, it would go into ECO. EV mode already does many of the things that ECO does, including reducing accelerator response and reducing the output from the environmental control system. Your vehicle would have separate buttons for each function if it’s capable of engaging both. Check your owner’s manual to see if your vehicle supports both modes. Again, it doesn’t run them simultaneously, but it will step from EV to ECO when it exceeds any of the EV limits (e.g. speed, charge level, etc.)
currently EV modde ahut off onve reached 60km/H can i ibe set as 7080km/hours under EV MODE?
Those are hard-coded settings that we can’t edit at the dealer. It varies by vehicle and Toyota sets those top-end speeds to protect the system, in particular the battery. Higher EV speeds mean higher power draw from the supply system. That means higher demand on the battery and the other electrical components. Higher electrical demand often comes with higher heat too, right? So the max safe speed is set by the factory to keep everything optimally cool, safe, and performing properly.
But why the ev comes on and off, when driving ,is it normal
Good question. Yes it is normal. It will shut off when it reaches the maximum speed for that function. That speed varies by model so be sure to check your owners manual for details.
have u heard about the toyota fieler hybris 1.5l. available i japan.
Thanks for asking. The Fielder has been around for a few years in other parts of the world. For readers, it’s basically a Corolla station wagon. Not like the Matrix, which was more of a sport-wagon and available in AWD, but more like a chopped-top minivan. I don’t think we’re going to see that in the US, although a hybrid version makes perfect sense to us. Personally, I think we’re ripe for a hybrid version of the Sienna minivan at some point soon. For now, American car shoppers are showing interest mostly in small and midsize AWD SUVs. So Rav4 Hybid and Highlander Hybrid seem to be the vehicles of choice for energy-conscious wagon intenders in our part of the world. Thanks again for the question!
when i switch on the car ev mode shows on the hybrid system indicator.when i start to drive eco mode shows on the indicator but when i ease on the the gas ,they both show up, . is there any problem?
I don’t know what vehicle you have but that sounds normal to me. When you start the vehicle, unless you’ve cranked up the AC or Heat, there’s no need for the gas engine to run except to charge the battery. So, starting up in EV mode makes perfect sense. Under acceleration, your vehicle needs to borrow some extra horsepower from the gas engine, but as long as you’re not flooring the gas pedal, it can stay in ECO mode up to the speed threshold for that function. As always, check your owners manual for the conditions under which each mode operates. Thanks for your question!
Have 2015 Prius Hybrid. When driving around town battery never gets changed enough to use EV. Have to drive miles at 50-60 m/h to change battery enough to use EV. EV around town useless to me.
The best comments come from those most experienced and you hit the nail on the head. To get going from a stoplight in town, the gas engine will typically need to engage. So it makes sense that you’re not getting EV benefits in city driving, but surely you’re getting max benefit from your hybrid system. EV mode is most handy in those consistently low speed driving environments like neighborhoods, parks, parking lots, etc.
Thank you to all of you for your time and patience
Toyota RAV4 SE Hybride 2018
Not sure this is a good choice – And my dealer not very cooperative in answerin my questions – Very vague
In the EV Mode what is my driving range ? How far can i drive before my battery goes out ? Will it go automatically to gas power ? What is my top speed ? How will it perform in Very cold winter conditions ? Thank you again for your help
EV mode in the Rav4 Hybrid will typically only stay engaged for 2-3 miles (although some people report 6 miles or so is perfect conditions), but that’s enough to boost your MPG range considerably. To answer your second question, your battery will not go out. Our experience is that EV mode will click off (and go into normal hybrid mode) at around 10-20% of battery charge remaining. That’s to protect the battery and make it last much longer. Most people report 25-30 MPH as average top speed in EV mode but there are too many variables in addition to speed to give an real accurate number. Terrain, environment (extreme cold weather is better for the battery but taxing on the rest of the car), battery condition, and other things have an impact on EV mode duration and top speed. One of the fun things about having a hybrid is finding the limits and then learning how to extend them! Thanks for your questions.
Please does the Toyota Venza 2014 model have an ECO mode and how can it be accessed if it does? How do I manage fuel consumption if it doesn’t?
Fair question. Toyota EV mode is typically found only on hybrid vehicles. The Venza didn’t have an economy mode or gauge to monitor either, so your best bet is to use the tachometer as your energy monitor. With the accelerator depressed, you’re normally using more gas with higher revs. Therefore, by accelerating more gradually and keeping the RPMs lower, you’ll extend your fuel economy. Your vehicle’s electronically controlled automatic transmission will tend to upshift sooner with gradual acceleration as well, helping you find the most efficient gear. However, if you’re comfortable and won’t be distracted by it, you can flip your shift lever into “S” (Sequential) shifting mode and force upshifts a little sooner in the RPM range. It would only yield a minimal improvement and you have to be just as accurate with the downshifts as well. Our suggestion is that you focus on all the techniques at the following link first, then try something a little different with each tank of gas to find more improvements: https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.jsp
Hi I have got a Toyota Hybrid and EV sign with a car sign displaying on my dashboard, is there any harm and how can i remove the sign? or need to see any mechanic?
What is the year and model of this vehicle?
Car doesn’t switch to ev mode even when battery is full at a very low speed
Sounds like something you should have a qualified tech look at, provided it’s operating differently than your owner’s manual suggests.
When AVG sign apprear on dashboard, what does that mean / toyota sai
Not familiar with that model. Here in the US, that would typically mean “average,” like in a fuel economy display where you can switch between readouts. Many models, configurations and indicators are different here in the US though. Please refer to your owner’s manual or local Toyota Service Center for the answer to this one.
I’ve Auris Hybrid 2017. How to disangage from the Eco Mode.
We don’t have the Auris here in the US so all I can do is refer you to your owner’s manual or a Toyota Service Center.
Can you start the car and drive it first on EV then later on engine kicks in? I mean without a regular starter.
These vehicles don’t have a typical starting system anyway. Starting these vehicles is like starting a computer: Just hit the power button and wait for it to be ready. Many of them startup in EV mode and, if you don’t harshly apply the accelerator or turn the Heat/AC on high, will let you roll away without the gas engine firing up.
My EV mode doesnt seem to shut off
What kind of car is it?
Have 2015 axio , I on the Eco ,but I off the Ev mode ,is it correct___?
Yes, typically when in Eco mode, EV mode is not in operation.
I have an Toyota Yaris Hybrid. 2017.
Question 1: Have I got it right that there are two different functions with EV? One that depends on if I’ve pressed the EV Mode – button and here the car uses only the battery.?And one that is always automatically working shifting between battery and gas in the best way?
Question 2: I have recorded my fuel consumption during a year and the result is 0,6 liter per kilometer. Toyota says in its advertising that the fuel consumption should be between 0,33 and 0,36 liter per kilometer. I’ve talked to the lokal dealer and he just says that there are so many components that effects…… Do you think I can make a complaint, and if so, to whom?
Thank you for your question Anita. Our apologies for the delay in answering. To your first question, in EV mode, your car will only use battery up to the speed range noted in your owners manual. And yes, since it’s a hybrid, it’s always optimizing battery usage but there aren’t two EV modes.
To your second question, your local dealer is correct. There are too many variables to define here that could be affecting your fuel consumption. Fuel mileage estimates are set under a number of rigid tests that vary by region around the world. For instance, in the US, it’s fairly easy to see the difference between government-mandated estimates and the actual mileage consumers are getting with their cars on the EPA website. Is there something similar in your region?
There are also numerous online resources to help you maximize economy from your hybrid. We like this guide on Green Car Reports but there are many more.
Am getting too many difficulties to find the Top-Speed of the Hybrid vehicles (The brand should give the Max-Speed of this sort of vehicles in its mother-site or inside the brochures); How Can we get the Top-Speed of any of Toyota’s hybrid vehicles? alike 2019 Toyota Prius C!
Excellent question. We have not seen Toyota publish speed ratings for the Prius c. We will keep an eye out for details and update as we find new information.
Snow mode is there any better economy if I use that mode all the time it will it harm my gearbox
Excellent question Steve! On Toyota/Lexus/Scion vehicles, snow mode (ECT SNOW) doesn’t affect the drive system mechanically, only electronically. In its simplest terms, it just starts in second gear instead of first. Doesn’t save quite as much as Eco mode, since Eco affects the entire gear range and also reduces energy use of other system, like heat/AC. But every little bit helps and it should cause no additional wear or harm to your vehicle. The biggest benefit would come from city driving with this strategy. WARNING: This advice specifically refers to Lexus and Toyota ECT SNOW function. Other manufacturers have a “Snow Mode” that works in conjunction with traction control and/or powertrain systems. Operating in Snow Mode in non-slip environments could destroy your drivetrain! Refer to your owners manual for complete operational guideline for your vehicles.
Which mode is better to use on motorway, long distances? I have got RAV4 Hybrid. Also, when I bought the care, salesman said that I can keep the car in EV mode all the time, and it will switch automatically on and off if needed. Is that correct? After reading your article I thought I better switch to Sport mode for long travel on motorway.
Toyota Hybrid vehicles will switch out of EV mode at a designated point based on the energy needs of the vehicle. Those needs aren’t entirely determined by the speed of the vehicle. Check your owner’s manual as some models may perform differently, but the general statement from your sales representative appears to be correct. Most Toyota Hybrids, when EV is engaged, will return to EV mode when the vehicle “thinks” it can perform properly without assistance from the gas engine. That will typically be at speeds far below motorway/highway speeds.
Hi, i have an 2018 Auris TS 1.8 Hybrid.
I read a lot of info, but steel..
Do you know some way to increase the power of that car? Battery Tune? Engine,CPU Tune?
(on high speeds or hills the acceleration is dead)
There are many methods for getting more range from EV mode, unrelated to tuning. The most significant impact to electric range is the driver’s habits. Road and traffic conditions, vehicle loading, weather, and even cleanliness of the car, all have an impact on range as well. We don’t have any advice for you on ECU changes or other tuning to extend your EV range.
I have a 2007 Honda Civic hybrid car that needs a new IMA battery. I was quoted $1, 000 to get battery replaced and car runs well besides that. After 12 years the battery needs to be replaced, not too bad!
I love the difference that fabric window treatments make in a room
Thanks a lot for sharing your incredible ideas. It is an appreciated and pretty tip for all those music lovers. What a Fatal post for those who want to upgrade exist subwoofer with new one.
Hi if I’m traveling on highway what mode do I press on and when I’m around the estate do I leave the two modes on many many thanks I love my Camry
I just purchase Toyota Hybrid 2021 I like the way that you describe things Thank you very much for sharing your valuable information
Can I charge the battery from external source, such as solar panels?
My motor is aqua 2013
I recently sold my Prius V 2015 and purchased a 2017. I drove my 2015 in EV a lot, even on the highway, or so the indicator showed EV. My 2017 will not stay in EV , but rather switches to ECO for a speed of more than 5. Also the bar graph in the 2015 showed how charged the EV was. Was this a change between 2015 and 2017?
Hi I have toyota fielder 165 hybrid facelift 2015 and the EV mode recently started to come on and off. Before EV mode was on full time. is it normal. advise please
Great share! This post is very useful.
Informative post! This is a great share thank you
Thank you for explaining that the vehicle is only pulling power from its battery if it’s running in EV mode, which results in the potential for very efficient driving. My brother just purchased a hybrid vehicle since he prefers using a battery as a source of power. I should inform him about the EV system since he will surely like its idea.
I think that sounds like a great idea! Glad to hear that you found the article to be useful.
Wow! Very informative and impressive lines. Lighting in stairs is extremely important in terms of safety. Dark spots and shadows may cause safety risks. I Got the latest collection of stair lights of best quality at the lowest price this month. Stair Lights enhanced the appearance, safety and security of my home.
We agree! Thanks for giving the article a read.
I Just read your post, it’s very informative and helpful too for readers. Dark spots and shadows may cause safety risks. Lighting in the courtyard is extremely important in terms of safety. led flood lights of best quality enhanced the appearance, safety and security of my garden and courtyard..
We’re glad to hear that you found the article to be informative & helpful. Thanks for reading!
thanks alot of inforfmation
And thank you for reading!
very clear and good article easy to understand. Thank you
Glad you liked it, thank you for reading!
Thanks for sharing this information. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure for others as well! I enjoyed reading it because its easy to understand and all points are written in a addressing manner. But I have one doubt or question- Can a hybrid car go at high speeds when in EV mode?
We’re so happy to hear you found this information to be useful! As for your question: If a hybrid is running in EV mode, its only pulling power is coming from the battery (which makes for a more efficient drive). With most hybrids, they can only work in this mode for a mile or so under certain conditions, so you really can’t go at high speeds when in EV mode. We hope that’s answers your question. Thanks for reading!
Does eco mode cause more discharge the hybrid battery and is it harmful?
When you switch ECO mode on, the engine doesn’t work as hard, which doesn’t put as much demand on the car’s battery. Hope that helps answer your question. Thanks for reading!