Last Updated: Sat. 12/07/2002
The following comments are based on the many great experiences I've had with my Prius.
Brakes aren't needed as much.
The generator slows down the car.
When you reduce pressure on the accelerator-pedal, excess speed is used to turn the generator which recharges the battery-pack. The brake-pedal is only needed when you want to stop completely or in a short distance. Recapturing kinetic energy that would have otherwise been lost makes the Prius more efficient than traditional vehicles; it also means the brakes will last longer.
Display Screen = Lots of Data
All that information can be a problem though!
As you drive, the Multi-Display (the screen on the dashboard) provides immediate feedback of how the Prius is responding to your commands as well as a summary of overall performance. It's great! The only catch is you have nothing to compare your results to. Almost no other drivers on the road have that kind of detail available. In fact, you can't even compare results to your previous vehicle. So sharing what you know doesn't provide as much value as you would like. Bummer.
Worth the Wait
Just waiting until April 2000 to see the original Japanese model at the car show was terrible. Then not even being able to place an order for the next generation model until June 2000 was awful. At that point, the really painful wait began. But that limbo state ended in July when the Prius discussion groups flourished with comments from hundreds of others beginning their delivery wait. In mid-August, reports starting coming in about people receiving their Prius. Not having mine yet was almost unbearable. September 2000 arrived and so did my Prius, I finally got the call. And the moment I drove it for the first time was all that was needed to convince me that the wait was worth it.
Nowadays, there's no wait anymore. You just go to a dealer and by a Prius right off the lot.
Stealth Mode (sound)
Driving silently using nothing but electricity is a pure delight!
I get confused reactions all the time when I roll by someone in a parking lot without making any noise. Not having the engine running means total silence. On those rare occasion when I actually get to say "Hi" to the person I just passed, they're thrilled to find out that they weren't imagining things; they really had witnessed "stealth".
Stealth Mode (driving)
The motor alone can accelerate the Prius from a dead stop to 42 MPH. So maintaining 30 MPH on city streets is really easy. You just let up lightly on the pedal after accelerating and the engine shuts off. Or if you're patient, you can enjoy the smooth & quiet by accelerating slowly without using the engine at all.
Stealth Mode (visual)
Blending into traffic does have its benefits.
The "Eat My Voltage" slogan Toyota promoted put an interesting twist on the current thinking. When a large and/or expensive vehicle cuts off your family car, there's not a whole lot you can do... unless you have a Prius. See, when that happens to me, I just smile because I know I'm doing my part to reduce emissions & consumption. That person is completely oblivious to what they just drove by, I appeared to be just another family car.
Did you just say electric?
Tell me more!
I'll often slip in the phrase "my hybrid" during a casual conversation then just keep right on talking. That usually results in an abrupt interruption by whomever was listening. Then they become fascinated when I confirm that is what I actually said. They want me to tell them as much as I can and quick as I can. That makes me feel really good. So to make them feel really good and to offer a source of more information, I provide a Prius Website Card.
You can't see the hood.
Since the hood isn't visible, there's nothing to reflect the glare of the sun.
The reason you can't see it is because it's so short. Which is really helpful, it allows me to easily squeeze in and out of tight situations that longer cars would have trouble with.
Extra large driver wiper is great.
It's almost 7 inches longer than the passenger-side wiper.
That larger size offsets the passenger wiper runoff enough to completely remove it from the driver's view. In heavy rain or snow, you'll really appreciate this special design. That lack of interference is a safety feature that most people could easily overlook when considering a Prius. Traditional cars can't offer this since their windshields aren't as tall.
The photos have been quite rewarding!
I have received an enormous amount of positive feedback from the large collection of photos I've shared of my Prius. Spending all that time in those scenic locations has been really fun. At first, I knew I was providing entertainment for those people patiently waiting the delivery of their Prius. Now, it has become a documented history of my experiences. And along the way, I've even helped convince a few people that the technology has evolved enough to fit their needs.
Without the discussion messages on Yahoo Group, I would have really felt the acceptance of hybrid technology didn't stand much of a chance in the beginning. But the sharing of owner experiences and knowledge has been absolutely priceless. Now I very confidently feel we are well on our way toward dramatically improving the environment and reducing our dependence on oil.