Prius Personal Log  #6

March 13, 2001  -  March 31, 2001

Last Updated: Mon. 5/26/2003

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3-31-2001

Pursued a White Prius.  I got a call from my brother.  He said, "I'm being followed by a White Prius and we are going to be driving right by your house in a minute.  Get in your Prius now.  Let's say, 'Hi!' "  So I did.  My brother ended up meeting the owner in a driveway.  That could have been awkward; instead, the guy was very nice about it.  Paul had only had his Prius a month.  He was very happy with it.  And as a long time loyal customer to Toyota, he didn't know much our web group or my website.  His purchase was just based on Toyota's great reputation.  Cool!  So, I chatted for a few minutes, then told him how much I appreciated the opportunity.  It was really fun.

3-31-2001

At the barber shop.  I walked in and was greeted by a "How's the hybrid?"  Oh! Oh!  I've got a reputation now.  Oh well.  I guess I should have seen that one coming.  Of course, now they encourage me to tell them about my Prius adventures.  I can handle that!

3-31-2001

There's no escaping winter!  I woke up this morning, looked out the window, and discovered a fresh layer of snow covering everything.  Then it hit me.  All this summer I going to have to describe to people how well the Prius handles on snow & ice.  Talking about winter conditions when the temperature is the 80's is going to be odd.

3-29-2001

Found out about a "totaled" Prius.  Peter, one of the club members on Yahoo, was involved in an accident which destroyed his Prius.  Thankfully, neither he nor his passenger got seriously hurt, they're just bruised and sore.  In his words, here's what happened: "A car coming in the opposite direction crossed the median strip and hit our car, and then a car behind us hit us!  All of the vehicles were traveling at about 35-45 MPH."  "The Prius' seat belts and driver & passenger air bags worked perfectly AND SAVED OUR LIVES!!!"  "The Prius' front end is all smashed-in, there's a big dent on the rear passenger side, the rear bumper looks destroyed, and only the front passenger door could open."  So making the best out of a bad situation, we will use his misfortune to assure others that the Prius is safe.  The short front is capable of absorbing an impact similar to the way traditional vehicles do.

3-28-2001

Stealth Be With You!  I'm obviously a huge Star Trek fan.  (For the uninformed, "1701-A" is the id on one of the "Enterprise" starships.)  So when I was greeted today with Spock's: "Live Long And Prosper", I just had to quickly come up with a creative response.  "Stealth Be With You!" seemed to be quite fitting.  I think I'll be using that one a lot.

3-27-2001

Cruise Control Announcement.  Priusman shared the good news with those of us on Yahoo.  A kit will be available in May for $220.  2001 owners will be able to upgrade their Prius, either themselves or through dealer service, to now have Cruise Control.  It's a feature that wasn't originally available.  The 2002 model will offer it.  I don't have much of a need for cruise.  But on the rare occasion that I do a lengthy driving trip, it would be nice.  So I'll be getting it early this summer.

3-25-2001

Receiver-Hitch Information page.  Quite a few people asked me to provide details.  There's was a lot to share and I figured I'd continue to get asked the same questions over time, so I created this page: receiver-hitch

3-25-2001

Spotted my first Aqua Prius in the wild.  It was coming toward me on the other side of the divided highway.  The two inside didn't notice me in my Green Prius.  Bummer.

3-22-2001

Receiver-Hitch Photo page.  To give other Prius owners a good idea what they need to do to get a hitch of their own, I created this page filled with photos (3 showing the hitch from behind, 4 close-ups showing the hitch from underneath and in front, and 6 showing a bike-rack holding my bike connected to the hitch): photo album 14

3-22-2001

Back to cold weather again.  That was short lived.  The temperature has dropped to around 30 F degrees.  It looks like I'm averaging around 44 MPG now.  Oh well, that's still better than I was getting a few weeks ago.  See: personal data

3-21-2001

Got the Receiver-Hitch.  I dropped off my Prius first thing in the morning.  They started the custom build job right away.  By lunch time, they had finished.  It had turned into a beautiful day (Sunny & 48 F degrees).  I was soooo excited!  It turned out great, and I was pleased with the $250 bill.  The hitch had to be tried right away.  My bike, bike-rack, and camera were ready.  Resistance was futile.

3-20-2001

Tried the valet key and special trunk lockout feature.  In preparation to hand my Prius over to someone else, I checked out those Prius options I hadn't previously needed.  First was the valet key.  It allows others to still unlock the door and start the car but doesn't allow them to unlock the trunk.  It's pretty slick until you remember the release-latch for the trunk next to the driver's seat.  It doesn't require a key.  That's where the lockout feature comes in.  All you have to do is insert a regular key into the trunk lock then turn counter-clockwise, instead of clockwise.  That disables the release-latch.  Cool.

3-19-2001

AHHHHH!!!  I unexpectedly let out a loud scream at the gas station.  Lifetime MPG had been going down since November 2, 2000.  I knew the MPG was finally going to rise now that it's getting warmer, but I didn't think it would be that much.  The average for the 392 miles I had recently driven calculated to 46.7 MPG.  Wow!

3-19-2001

At the drive-thru.  I took a chance and discovered I could slip the person at the window my website card.  I wondered how they'd react after realizing I had handed them more than just money.  It was obvious they approved.  After looking at it, then into the car at the futuristic dashboard, the reaction was: Whoa!

3-18-2001

Discovered accident "damage".  It was nice out, so I got to hand wash the Prius.  While drying off the back bumper, I noticed a very light impression of the bolt head from the license-plate on the car that rear-ended me 2 months ago.  It's barely noticeable.  I think I'll get over it.

3-18-2001

Life has a strange way of balancing out.  I probably could have taken the tax credit rather than just a deduction (after all, the intention of the credit is to reward those that demonstrate initiative), but I still think I did well overall.  I got additional money back for buying my Prius anyway.  It just came from a different source: my "Driver's Edge" credit-card.  For countless years I was using that credit-card for every purchase I possibly could.  I even used it for automatic payment of some bills.  That added up to quite a few rebate dollars after awhile.  So when my Prius was purchased, I immediately submitted a rebate claim.  That resulted in a check for $952, which is quite a bit of money no matter how you look at it.  Overall, I feel I did well financially.  Regardless, the Prius is a joy to drive.  What kind of a monetary value can you place on stealth-mode?

3-17-2001

Filed my tax return today.  Since it was St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd do something "green".

Note:  I'd prefer to avoid politics, legal technicalities, and circumstance comparisons, so I'll keep this brief and will mention that this is not a recommendation.  Tax issues can be quite complex and may be different for you.

No one can quite figure out what "powered primarily by an electric motor" means in the tax credit publication for qualifying electric vehicles.  The ratio of how much electricity is being used fluctuates quite a bit based on speed and warmth of the engine.  But then again, whenever the engine is turning the wheels, it is also creating electricity for the motor and/or battery-pack.  And what the heck does it mean when the original source of energy comes from gasoline?  Electricity that comes from household outlets is actually the result of consuming coal (for the most part).  And of course, some of the Prius power, which would have been lost by a traditional vehicle, is recaptured by the regenerator.  The meaning of "primarily" isn't as clear as one would expect it to be.  Hopefully, the tax laws for 2001 returns will be better defined so those purchasing Prius this year will be able to take the credit.  As for me in my particular case, using Quicken's TurboTax software I was able to get $280 back for purchasing a Prius by taking a "Clean Fuel" deduction.

3-17-2001

One bar less than half.  During the winter, I grew accustomed to seeing fuel gauge fall below half right when my mileage hit 200 miles.  Today with the warmer weather, I saw that middle bar disappear right when I reached 292 miles.  Wow!  That's the point I used to start looking for a place to fill up.

3-17-2001

"Wow! The car has more pep than I expected."  That's what the guy at the hitch place said. He needed to drive the Prius onto a lift so the underneath could be seen.  So I said, "Why don't you take it for a spin".  The acceleration really surprised him.

3-17-2001

Receiver-Hitch.  I'm having one built.  My previous car had a receiver-hitch.  That worked fantastic for bikes.  I didn't have to lose access to the trunk and I could lock everything to the car itself.  So the thought of buying a trunk-mounting bike-rack (since the one from last fall was just borrowed) wasn't all that appealing.  Though, my shopping did lead me to a really nice SARIS trunk rack.  It fit extremely well; however, I still wanted to find out if getting a hitch for such a unique vehicle would be possible.  My quest lead to a really nice local shop that agreed to build a custom hitch that could be bolted to the holes in the frame for the "tie-downs" (used to secure the Prius to the boat when it was shipped from Japan).  The catch was I had to agree to not ever use it for towing anything.  But since the Prius itself wasn't design to tow a load anyway and I don't know how I'd ever connect trailer-lights, that wasn't a big deal.  All I needed was something to support the weight of 3 touring (light-weight) bikes on a rack.

3-14-2001

48 degrees means better MPG.  Spring (aka: "stealth season") has begun.  Naturally, we'll still get snow here and there.  But it will melt right away.  So after having driven 175 miles in this more hospitable weather, the multi-display now says 46.5 MPG.  Wow!  42 MPG used to be nearly unobtainable.  I wonder what summer will be like?

3-14-2001

Had a multiple Prius experience.  As I was walking to my Prius, I noticed another.  It was just parked right along side the street.  A silver beauty.  I wanted to yell out and tell the world this was a hybrid, right here for all to see.  Unfortunately, no one was around. I was all alone.  Dang!  Oh well. I absorbed an eye-full, then moved on.  But I needed to drive by there afterward.  Sure enough, the exact moment I approached that Prius it pulled out.  It was Jane.  I honked.  We exchanged waves.  Then I got in front.  And since we both live in the same direction, she followed.  It was incredible driving a Prius and seeing one behind me in the rear-view mirror.  Sweet!

3-14-2001

Sales numbers were published today (counts through 2/28/2001).  8,058 Prius have been sold in the United States, according to a USA Today article.  Cool!  (Toyota, there's obviously a market for hybrids here.  You build as many as you can, and we'll keep spreading the word.)

3-14-2001

It's finally getting warmer!  The engine shuts off pretty quick now.  That very distinctive single click the powerful electric relay under the hood makes has become part of the driving experience.  I would actually miss not hearing it.  I think that's because it's the only sound the hybrid system actually makes.  Everything else is completely silent.

3-13-2001

The Speed Misconception.  This morning, a coworker that just found out I had a hybrid asked the question, "Can it go fast?"  That misconception really upset me on the inside (since so many people keep asking that same question), on the outside I simply replied that it can do 100 MPH.  Later during my commute home, I was still brewing about the speed issue.  I got off the highway and stopped at the light, the woman next to me obviously saw the "Hybrid Electric" label.  But I didn't even notice her.  I was too preoccupied.  When the light turned green, I punched it and left everyone else in the dust.  Then when I got to the next light, I looked over a noticed that woman laughing hysterically.  "How fast..." must have been the very thought going through her head at the exact moment I disappeared into distance.  It was great!  I laughed the rest of the way home!

 

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