After spending years looking at them, I drove our white Chrysler Town & Country van into the local Toyota dealer and traded it in for a brand new 2004 Toyota Prius! Well, sort of. The Prius is on 50 day backorder so I won’t actually see my car until the very end of 2003 or thereabouts. But I’m excited! The Prius, for those of you that haven’t heard of them, have a brilliant hybrid engine system that is part electrical, part internal combustion. In the city, where I’ll be doing most of my driving, it gets a glorious 60 miles per gallon. Imagine…
Here’s what they look like:
It’s not the biggest car on the road, that’s for sure, with a 1.5 liter 76hp gasoline engine and a 67hp electric motor, but if you’re just driving to the library or the supermarket, what kind of power do you need anyway? Of course, being modern times, it does come with a deluxe 9-speaker audio system with built-in 6 CD changer, keyless ignition system (they call this the Smart Entry and Start System), and an AT-PZEV rating, which means that it’s an “Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle” That’s even less emissions than a “SULEV”, Super-Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (and they say the government doesn’t have a sense of humor!).
And here’s the funny part: I don’t even necessarily want to drive a Japanese car, but I do want to have a vehicle that is part of the future, not a gas-guzzling, emission-spewing remnant of the past. If American car manufacturers had a clue, they wouldn’t be ignoring the healthy “green” car market (how many Chevy’s or Ford’s have a 50 day waiting list?). Even less mainstream car manufacturers like Volvo have no intention of considering any hybrid or non-gasoline technology. (yes, I know Volvo is now part of Ford, but they’re still a prime candidate for a hybrid S40 or similar. Man, that’d be a GREAT car!)
Anyway, that’s the big news today. A new car. I can’t wait.