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Caravan or Get Together for Public Education

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I'm a mom from a family of four with 11 yrs old and 4yrs old still in a car seat - a big 'safe' one (can't seem to find the compact anymore). We live here in Orange County, Southern California, the land of minimal-to-non-existent public transportation, and some of us live in our car more than in our bed. Yes, another typical commuting day!
I bought my Prius in Dec 2001, after 4 mos. of long miserable wait without test drive one - talking about desperation! Needless to say, I love it for all the factors that have been already posted, but also it fits my family need/lifestyle and at a price range that we can afford to migrate to sustainability until affordable technology is available for the mass market. I also read the EV1 club site, and quite a few people have very little tolerance for people like us that bought Hybrid. Their claim is that this prevent the manufacturers from moving toward independency on oil completely. I am glad that they can afford the EV1, and the RAV4, and I am glad that they spend their money unwastefully. My husband manage to find an Electric S10 used Pickup truck (range 40miles max) for $16K.
My goal is to educate others, especially those that are going to buy a new car within the next year, and try to make a difference in their purchasing power, so that the economy of supply and demand will eventually rules!
My problem with the whole EV/Fuel Alternative Vehicles purchase has been lack of education - no one at the dealers seem to know, no one is promoting. Here in CA, they have rebate from CA Energy Commission (bury in their website), our dealer never told us, esp when we had 4 mos to wait, we did not qualified for it. You have to apply before you buy the car, $1000 - that 's alot of money.
People stops me everywhere, and ask me - wow, it is so quiet, so how long do you have to plug it in at night, how far can you go, what is the maximum speed it can drives, how fast will it accelerate? Well, all sound stupid, but not really, no one ever told them what a hybrid really is.
So where do we go from here? As long as powerful lobbyist in Washington voted down on the 27mpg increase of fuel efficiency, US automakers continue to make larger car with their claim of safety, and manufacture a handful of non-realistic consumer-price-range EV to satisfy the Air Quality/Emission quotas, or making more choices of two-seaters (easy way out), than 4-seaters (really! the SUV was marketed for mom with their kids)it will always be a classic Catch22 ( we makes the car, but no one want to buy it, and soon they will win to repeal/modify existing mandates)
I thought at first about a caravan group of car together for a road rally going toward North CA, and the other group can go south, and try to meet in the middle, and get press and media. But maybe that is really wasting gasoline! Maybe we can just meet in smaller group on a certain day, in various highly visible location (Suburban car dealer, nature park, library), and just really educate the people, and take them for a spin?
Maybe if we can convince a new buyer with facts, then we are one step closer to where the grass is greener. (I already send out email to everyone on my list asking them to fwd my thoughts and love and reason for the Prius)
Please help with suggestion. I have always been a person of moderation in all aspects of my life - waste not, want not.
One person can make a difference with its small step!
Sorry for such a long email - I am not very good with writing!)
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Hi Cathy - Glad to hear that you have done the right thing with your family - You also are a great example of a "regular" American family who do just fine with a compact car (4 door) like the Prius versus the fabled MiniVan gas guzzler.

Anyway I just wanted to comment on the EV1 comments:
"I also read the EV1 club site, and quite a few people have very little tolerance for people like us that bought Hybrid. Their claim is that this prevent the manufacturers from moving toward independency on oil completely. "

If you are posting in the EV1 web site, let them know (electric vehical owners), that there are a couple facts they need to know. Refer them to the EPA web site and ask them to do a comparison on CO2 emissions of the Prius versus any of the pure electric cars - Yea yea yea - they emit nothing. But the old argument of "Where do they buy thier electricty?" is allowed for in the EPA comparisons. I for one cannot get Green electricty from my local power company - 100% of my power is generated from Fuel Oil burning. Most of the rest of the country's electricity is generated from Coal - That makes most - if not all the electric vehicals actually dirtier than the Prius. hmmmmm

Also the very obvious problems with battery cars - NO RANGE. I drive 35 miles each way to work from my farm in upstate NY, and there is no electric vehical that would be easy to use - I do fortunately - work next to the NYS ENCON (state environmental offices) , and they actually have a couple electric vehical outlets on the building for their own use. Unfortunately - they do not use the Ford Electric Rangers they have because all their driving to monitor environmental things is further than the range of that truck.

I personnally would LOVE to have a totally electric vehical, but for many (including me), it is not a realistic alternative . I bought my Prius because of that.

If you want to cut and paste my comments on their web site (EV1 people) go for it.

Thats for doing the right thing!!

Steve Dickerson
Rensselaerville New York.

'02 super white 13,200 miles - clean ones!!!

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I'm in Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley) and would be willing to do a get together.

Hello Steve,
Thanks for your comments.
I don't dare challenge the EV1 club members, as most of them are scientists and/or have PV solar power on their house, so I think essentially it is pretty green, and I am not technical enough.
I really hope that all of us will have one goal in mind - migration path toward oil independency, air quality and green house gas emission control. Every MPG helped everyday, one less SUV or minivan off the road is one less!
You can't wait forever, its like buying a computer anology I supposed.
So keep on convincing your friends, associates, and strangers! One person that I sent out the email will go hybrid shopping this weekend, she was tired of putting in $37 worth of gas in her car. Don't underestimate the power of a woman and especially the children.
Score: 1 for me, for my 1st week of campaigning.
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One thing I wish Toyota would do is have a flyer, per se. I really love my car and I really like the air quality that we all strive for. I also encourage people to buy a Prius.

BUT I cant help but wonder how Toyota looks at us. I mean, we do a lot of free advertising for them. I wouldn't mind handing out a Brochure telling anyone who asks about the car some important information and even maybe tell how the car works. I think it would be nice if Toyota gave us a rebate or compensation (Free Warranty?) for those that are like us and help educate others on the car, and its wonderful abilities. I have sold 2 people on the car. One person has bought one, and the other will buy one as soon as he is able. They thought the Honda Insight was the ONLY car on the market and wasn't interested in a 2 seater. But now they see my car they are in heaven too. :)

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> One thing I wish Toyota would do is have a flyer

Toyota knows that consumer recommendations are far more powerful than anything they can provide. So they let give us some unofficial freedom. If we respect their copyrights & trademarks, they keep quiet. Like you said, it saves them a ton of advertising money. It's more effective too.


That Info-Sheet has become the de facto flyer. I try my best to keep it up-to-date when someone mentions an important fact we'd all like to share. There's even a UK version available.

An interesting experience with the Info-Sheet happened just last weekend at the gathering. The Toyota dealer there didn't resist in the slightest when I said I'd like to include copies with the official brochures they were providing.

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A big giant THANK YOU!!! I started scanning the Yahoo Group Prius site the other day, but got overwhelmed!
I will be busy this weekend, printing this defacto flyer. Find a place to park my car where families gather - oohhh definite church scenes in Newport Beach! Hand them out. Leave my doors and trunk open, make a big giant sign "ex-SUV, now SULEV at 48MPG, our other car is ZEV, what about you?" and commit myself to two hours this weekend. I think I have along way to redeem all my sins for owning a SUV!!! I was ignorant, and the car manufacturers have great marketing skills.

Silver 2002 "Sparky",
Unfortunately, I believe that car manufacturers could care less what we do to promote their cars. They are manufacturing all of these because of mandated laws, they just want to meet their min. quotas and satisfy all the gov't agencies, and a few applaud from the media for being green. I must give Toyota credit for going this far, looking GM recalling the EV1 with their lame excuses!
For now, we will have to do the work to save our own earth! I guess they have a business to run.
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I'm sharing your enthusiam about this great car too. Here is another resource from the Office of Transportation Technology (OTT) division of the Department of Energy (DOE). The put together a pdf file "flyer" Much longer than John's (nice job John!) this one is 8 pages of detailed info and may serve as an additional resource for you if you know someone who is _really interested_. Obviously one can't mass produce these for random handouts without incurring some substantial cost and probably overwhelming some casual bypassers. Just go to the link below, click on the Technology Snapshot PDF link under the Toyota Prius.

The same page has a link to similar information for the Insight.
If you decide to go out to your local Kinko's for copies of fliers rather than printing them at home, this coupon for 40% off may be of some help to you:

(I have no relationship to Kinko's, nor have I been in one since printing up some major project reports back in college 4+ years ago...)

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