How to Read the Energy Consumption Monitor in a 2006 Toyota Prius


The 2006 Toyota Prius hybrid car, powered with a battery-pack electric motor and gasoline internal combustion engine working in tandem, featured the same energy monitor screen as on all 2004 to 2009 models. The energy monitor was a 7-inch touch-sensitive liquid-crystal screen that provided constant data on energy generation and consumption. The monitor changed to provide data on specific aspects of energy consumption based on the driving environment.

Stealth Mode

  • The energy monitor provides data on the battery use under specific driving conditions. Driving in “stealth mode” means the vehicle is operating using the battery-pack only up to 42 mph. Quick acceleration or traveling above 42 mph starts up the engine. When the Prius is operating on battery pack only, the monitor displays orange arrows directed away from a light blue battery icon to the electric motor icon to the wheels icon. The arrows to the gasoline engine icon are not operating.

Regeneration and Gasoline Engine

  • As the driver applies the brakes, the energy monitor displays light blue arrows pointing from the wheels to the battery because the regenerative energy from applying the brakes is stored in the battery. While driving at speeds above 42 mph, the monitor displays arrows pointing from the gasoline engine to the wheels to indicate the gasoline engine is providing power. At the same time, the electric motor may kick in to provide additional power for acceleration or to start up the air conditioning. The battery-pack icon may be blank, indicating that battery needs no charging.

Driving and Charging

  • The monitor may indicate the gasoline engine is providing power to the wheels driving at highway speeds with orange arrows moving from the engine to the wheels and blue arrows moving from the electric motor to the battery as it recharges. Blue arrows directed from the battery pack to the electric motor and orange arrows from gasoline engine to the wheels mean the Prius is operating with both power sources. The gasoline engine powers the wheels, while the electric motor powers the accessories or recharges the batteries.

Full Power and Reverse

  • With fast acceleration or gradual deceleration, the monitor may show arrows from the battery to the electric motor and on to the wheels. Arrows from the gasoline engine to the wheels indicate the charging system is fully active and both systems are in use. By shifting into reverse, the monitor may show the electric motor simultaneously powering the wheels and charging the battery. The gasoline engine does not operate in reverse. Starting the engine shows the electric motor charging the battery at the same time with blue arrows directed from the motor to battery.

State-of-Charge Indicator

  • Green bars on the battery icon indicate how much electricity is in the battery. Seven or eight green bars indicate a full charge. The color changes to blue when the bars fall between three and six. Pink bars are displayed when the bars fall to one or two. Pink bars indicate the battery needs recharging and blue means the vehicle is adequately charged. But the Prius always corrects and recharges itself without driver input while it is in use.

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  • Photo Credit Bill Pugliano/Getty Images News/Getty Images William Thomas Cain/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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