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On Monday I GOT A NEW TOY CAR!!! It's a "magnetic gray" 2007 Toyota Prius, and I'm in love! It's got a tasty multifunction display, GPS, voice-activated navigation and bluetooth phone integration, rear-view camera, etc., etc., etc.!

It's a hybrid, which is nice. Toyota's "Hybrid Synergy Drive" really is the bomb. It's not just marketing hype. ;-) More important (to me), the car looks totally sci-fi! This is what an automobile in the 21st Century should be like! (flying cars notwithstanding)

If you haven't ridden in one, two things (aside from the plethora of electronic bells & whistles) will stand out the first time you do:

1) For a small-ish car it's surprisingly roomy. Despite the fact that it has both gasoline and electric drive systems, the cabin takes up a surprisingly large portion of the total volume of the vehicle. It's almost TARDIS-like.

2) It's quiet! The gasoline engine only runs when it has to, so at low speeds the only sound is the wheels on the road. People in Prius discussion boards refer to it as "stealth mode". In fact, this morning on the way to work I couldn't help but use it for a bit of mischief. I was in the parking garage hunting for a spot when I spotted someone walking while talking on his cell phone. No joke- I was able to sneak up on him and follow him for a short while without him noticing that there was a car right behind him! Evil fun! :-)

Another fun thing is the smart key system. With the key in my pocket, I can walk up to the (locked) car, get in, start it up (by pressing the power button!), and drive over inattentive pedestrians without ever touching the key. Nifty!

I could gush on and on about this marvelous piece of technology, but I'll spare you all. You get the idea. The best part, of course, is that now I get to be one of "the cool kids", along with serolynne and slartibart. ;-)

Not my actual car, but the same model, color, and option package
(This isn't my actual car, but it is the same model, color, and option package. I'll post pix eventually.)


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 28th, 2007 11:37 pm (UTC)

Congrats!!! I'm so happy for you!! You'll absolutely continue to fall in love with your Prius. I hope it brings you as many wonderful things as mine has brought me. ;)

Make sure to check-out:


You can find all sorts of good stuff there, including direction on how to hack your car to do all sorts of cool things (as well as remove annoying things.. like that gosh darn back-up beeper.)

Have you found the unofficial user's guide as well? If not, let me know and I'll e-mail you a copy. It's mega-cool.

Welcome to the club!!

- Cherie & Xara Duo
Feb. 28th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
If it doesn't come when you call, it's not cool enough for me. :-P

I'm still skeptical on (1) monetary cost of replacing worn-out batteries throughout its lifetime and of other maintenance, and (2) environmental cost of the whole car - does creating the car and the batteries you'll use up release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (etc.), or does burning fuel for its lifetime? I suspect that hybrid is better on both than traditional gas-only, but I have yet to see any evidence.
Mar. 1st, 2007 03:13 am (UTC)
Switching from a Ford Explorer to a Toyota Prius as our primary means of transport reduced our carbon emissions by about nine tons per year.
Mar. 1st, 2007 03:55 am (UTC)
Can you tell me how you calculated that number?

Also, how long have you had the car, and have you had to change the batteries at all?

I'm not saying I don't believe you, I really do "believe" that hybrids are better. But as a scientist I want objective data, and I want to know how that data is arrived at. Belief is one thing, evidence is another - believe isn't going to get me over the barrier of cost and worry about long-term reliability, but evidence is.
Mar. 1st, 2007 05:57 am (UTC)
There's an emissions calculator we used -- maybe at drivegreen.com? -- and we used the cars we have and the average driving mileage (12000) of a primary vehicle for a household. Numbers were reasonably close.

I just doublechecked the numbers -- I accidentally doubled them: it's 9,000 *pounds*, not 9 tons, so apologies, there.

We also converted our electrical service to all "green" power, which actually saved about three times that. My wife does a writeup on this in her LJ: http://omphaloskepsis.livejournal.com/50292.html
Mar. 2nd, 2007 04:08 am (UTC)
I bought the car with no expectation of it being more cost-effective in the long run. All of the studies I've read indicate that the extra costs for the car itself and maintenance costs down the road more than offset the money saved on fuel. However, with production levels of the Prius finally meeting the demand there are an ever-increasing number of them on the road, which means that there some economies of scale bringing down maintenance costs. Additionally, it doesn't look like fuel prices are going to do anything but continue to go up for the foreseeable future, so it could still work out in my favor financially.

As for the environmental load of battery manufacture vs fuel consumption, while your point may be valid I've yet to see any evidence at all to indicate as much. I would be interested in further information, however. As a side note, after much research I'm concerned about CO2 emissions, but in no other way could I reasonably be considered an environmentalist. At the risk of sounding callous, if battery manufacture doesn't release more CO2 than the fuel consumption differential (which seems likely), I'm not likely to be particularly bothered by whatever other impact it has on the environment (Hg or Pb contamination, etc.).

In the grand scheme of things however, both points are neigh irrelevant to me, as neither cost nor environmental impact were deciding factors in my purchasing decision (please note that neither one is mentioned in the above fanboy rant). The car appeals first and foremost to my gadget-geek/sci-fi-fan side. It's attractive, high-tech, and has features that I'd previously only ever seen at EPCOT's Innoventions pavillion.

Plus, of course, there's the inattentive pedestrian squishing factor. Can't put a price on that! ;-)
Mar. 1st, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
I've always wanted one, but the price tag was a little too high for my budget...maybe sometime in the next 5 years...
Mar. 1st, 2007 01:53 am (UTC)
My brother loves his Honda...he has had it for a few years now...gets great mileage...only downside is it is a two seater, if you consider that a downside...I would get one if I could afford it myself...maybe next time...

Mar. 1st, 2007 03:12 am (UTC)
We are the Prius. You will be assimilated.

(Welcome to the club, folks!)
Mar. 2nd, 2007 04:24 am (UTC)
I had no idea you own a Prius! Super keen! :-)
Mar. 2nd, 2007 06:34 am (UTC)
It may not be as quiet for long
there was a story on NPR the other day that advocacy groups for the blind are trying to force alterations to the Prius to make them noisier as they're currently a threat to blind people who can't hear them coming.

I'm not making it up!

I'm looking at a Ford Escape, it's a streamlined SUV with all-Prius guts, they licensed the technology. That way I get the extra hauling capacity I need but much better fuel economy and less polution. The Escape is also e85 ethanol compliant.

I'd buy a hybrid minivan but there aren't really any out there :(
Mar. 2nd, 2007 07:48 am (UTC)
cislyn got one just recently as well which we got to see. Nifty. I like the lock entry system.

It's almost definitely RFID based. Which means that if you go buy one of these, you can probably make a copy of it. So do be careful with the key!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )