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Hello everyone! Just want to say hello. I just got a Prius today. Used cars.com yesterday, went to the dealer today, and drove it home. This thing is so ... stinkin' ... cool!

I had been wanting a Mini Cooper for the past 10 years, and up until last week I was prepared to buy one. Until (and please understand that I do not want to start a political discussion here) last week when Halliburton got that contract without having to bid on it. When I read that news, I sat and seriously thought to myself, "how can I buy a car that gets no better gas mileage than my Neon and then look at myself in the mirror each morning?" The entire episode just went against everything that I believe in.

So, I quickly narrowed my choices to a Prius and a Beetle Turbo Diesel. The VW guys pretty much only wanted to sell me what was in stock and did not seem to want to order a car at all, but one of the Toyota dealers had exactly everything I wanted, minus the color that I wanted (though I still like it!).

So, that's my story.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know there is another Prius on the roads.
 

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Welcome!`

As another new owner, I am LOVING the Prius as well. I cannot believe that a car this fun to drive is great for the environment as well!
 

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wow... my feelings exactly

i, too, wanted a mini... they're so cool. but its mileage just isn't good enough for its size/utility, and recent events simply reinforce the fact that i just can't support the oil machine any more. as a result, a prius, honda civic hybrid, or vw tdi are the only cars i'm considering now. i haven't purchased yet, because i'm waiting to see what the new prius brings (i'm hearing good things... bigger, more power, better mpg). also, i'm hearing rumors about 2004 tdis being cleaner and more powerful (http://www.vwvortex.com).

so my new rule for myself is that whatever i buy has to get 50 mpg or better. my next car after that has to get 100 mpg or better, and so on (so either my next car better last forever or the auto industry needs to get moving). by the way, i'm reading lots of bad news about the mini's quality, so you're probably not missing anything.
 

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As I understand it, it's not the cars themselves that are the limiting factor with diesel---it's the fuel. American diesel fuel is much dirtier than fuel available (required?) in Europe, something on the order of 500 ppm sulfur vs. 10 ppm, if I remember correctly. Also, there's a big question about particulate matter spewed out by diesel exhaust. Unless that changes soon (how likely is that??), I say Go with Prius!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Henry said:
Also, there's a big question about particulate matter spewed out by diesel exhaust. Unless that changes soon (how likely is that??), I say Go with Prius!
Actually, I was not going to run petroleum in it. I was going to run biodiesel for that very reason.
 

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I'd like to say my decision is along the same lines, but it boils down to the fact that I'm cheap. ;^]

I couldn't justify spending twice as much to buy a car that costs twice as much to drive. Everyone has their own sense of value, and I hit mine. The Prius isn't perfect, but neither is my friends BMW, my brothers Mercedes, or my neighbors Cadillac. I wouldn't get any of those if you paid me. I'm putting a few mods on my Prius, and looking for more comfort in the seats (but then I traded in a 7 yr old Metro I bought new).

My value came in the fact that I can get this mileage and put 4 adults in fairly comfortably. I'm well over 6' tall. I adjusted the front seat, then sat behind it as I had it set. I would feel comfortable there for a couple of hours, and that's longer than even my best friend can stand to be in a car with me!

Of course, I miss the storage capacity of the Metro. I fit 3 17" monitors (still in the boxes) in it with the hatch closed. Same thing when I bought a La-Z-Boy, it fit in the hatch. The standing joke was that everything fits in a Metro. I certainly don't miss it enough to even think of going back, but it's an issue to consider. And the turning radius of the Prius is comperable.

</rambling>
 

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GreyMud said:
I couldn't justify spending twice as much to buy a car that costs twice as much to drive.

Oh yeah. Not only that, but I feel very environmentally PC. My new Prius just feels So.... Very.... Good!

I drive down the road with the same feeling I get for having quit smoking 6 months ago: "Gosh darn, I'm smart!"
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Speaking of being cheap, check out these numbers

From my Prius Mileage Log as of today:

In my last car, a 1995 Plymouth Neon, I averaged 32 MPG. If I still had that car I would have used 218.78 gallons of fuel and spent $312.92 for fuel. By switching to the Prius, I saved 74.744 gallons of fuel for future use, and $106.91. The amount of fuel I saved means that I will be able to drive another 3633.0 miles on that amount of gas.

Now, let's say I am one of those stupid SUV drivers that gets 18 MPG so I can drive my kids two blocks to soccer practice. You know the type I am talking about. You see them all over the place. They don't need one of these things any more than the next guy. I am not talking about folks that USE the things - I am talking about the fools that have them so they can drive their kids 500' to school. So, let's compare the Prius to one of those folks, shall we?

I would have used 388.939 gallons of fuel and paid $556.30. By owning the Prius I saved $350.28 and 244.905 gallons of fuel. On that amount of gasoline, I could travel another 11903.8 miles. That is 0.48 times around the Earth.

If I owned a Hummer, which gets a whopping 11 MPG on average, I would have used 636.445 gallons of fuel to travel the same distance. Based on the average price I have paid at the pump of $1.430, it would have cost me $910.30 to travel the same distance. Instead, I used 144.034 gallons and paid $206.01, a savings of $704.29. That is 1.34 car payments for me! By purchasing the Prius over a Hummer, I saved 492.411 gallons of gas. On the amount of fuel I saved, I will be able to drive another 23934.1 miles. That is 0.96 times around the Earth!
 

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Well Randy I could not agree with you more. I recently went through a very severe battle with my conscience over buying a new RX-8. In the end my conscience prevailed. I'm eagerly awaiting the 2004 Prius while I drive my 30+ MPG '90 CRX-SI. And my name says how I feel about the embarassing glut of SUVS most in CA and the world.
 

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About buying a new Prius

Hello all!

We are moving rapidly toward buying a 2004 Prius. We looked at them before, The second generation technology sounds really wonderful etc. but the clincher was the hatchback and the fold-down rear seat in the 2004.
But... I have a lot of questions. Can you help?

1. I have owned a Camry and loved it. It has a full size spare. My Mazda doesn't, it has the "donut" I would like to know what the new Prius has.

2. I have heard that there might be NO spare in the 2004 - Michelin "run-flat" tires. Possible???

That will do for now. But, since the Prius owners seem to be a chummy group rather like foreign car owners in the late 50's and early 60's, I'd be grateful for any sage advice that you folks might care to offer.

Thanks very much,

Barry
 

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'04 tires

The 2004 pre-production vehicle seen at the UK Wimbleton preview
only had a can of run-flat goo in the spare tire area.

The 2004 pre-production vehicle recently seen by
Dianne from Carson Toyota had a donut spare in the back (but probably enough space for
a full-size spare).

The tires/rims on these pre-production vehicles have all been different, some even just for show.

The 2004 Prius comes standard with a low-tire-pressure warning monitor, like all new cars in the US will have to have in a couple of years by law. Only will tell you if you're dangerously underinflated, not just if your tires are low, though.
I haven't heard of the run-flat tires as standard, though.

According to Dianne, the pre-production model she saw and got a test-drive of felt very Camry-like, with the forward visibility of an Avalon, and the turning radius of the current Prius. She says it seemed even quieter than the current Prius.
 

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Considered a Prius

It looks like I went through about the same thought process as many others. Prius was not readily available, The TDI people wanted a premium over sticker. I bought a Mini and am very happy. It is of very high quality. I was intrigued with the Prius, but I one thing bothers me. It seems that many owners talk of their decision based on more on anger and self-righteous moral and intellectural superiority over larger-car drivers than their love of driving. If I felt that way, I would be contemptuous of Prius drivers when I use my primary transportation, my motorcycle, which gets 65mph and has a very low environmental impact.

The Mini uses a 1.3 liter engine, gets 35mpg, and it may still be on the road in thirty or forty years, like it's antecedents, because I won't have to make a life or recycle decision whether to buy new batteries or not every five to eight years (and add old batteries to the landfill).

If your mathematicians amortize your battery costs as a consumable, even if Toyota pays for them, you wouldn't compare quite so favorably to the Humvee. Just some thoughts :D , Thank you for listening.
 

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tomcgill,
There is a bit of the self-rightousness amongst the Prius community with a definite Greenpiece/Sierra Club bent....but that's to be expected. I think, however, that those more vocal folk are the ones on the web sites. Some time when you're just walking in a parking lot and come upon a prius with it's owner say hello and tell them you've been thinking about it.

I suspect that there are a signficant number of prius owners and drivers like myself that have some environmental awareness/concern and like the idea of saving our fossil fuels, but without the radical bent. I know at least one other person with a Prius that I finally stopped in the parking lot. He could wax eloquent about his love of driving and the technology of his car. His love of the vehicle really shined. Not a word about saving the earth.

I think that's what I'm hoping for when I get my '04. I want the environmental and gas saving issues to become secondary reasons for liking my car. I want the performance and fun to be foremost. And my gut suspicion is that there are a lot of silent (ie. non-web forum folks) owners out there that fit a description similar to mine (and yours I suspect).
--evan
p.s. I'm going to try to use the word 'suspect' less in future posts! :D
 

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tomcgill,
If you were considering both a Prius and a TDI it sounds like you're definitely not the typical Prius customer. This car was designed with the aim of being as clean as possible, and usually Prius owners feel concerned about environment. VW's TDIs are among the DIRTIEST cars you could buy! Have a look for instance at EPA ratings here :
http://www.epa.gov/emissweb/all-rank-03.htm
and you'll find that the Prius gets 10/10 (second after Insight) whereas Golf, Jetta and New Beetle TDI get a miserable 1/10...

So please don't associate high gas mileage and low pollution, these are completely different items. Low consumption only means less carbon dioxide emissions, but this gas (that you produce when breathing) is not a pollutant, it's a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. It is NOT the cause of bad air quality in cities. See EPA site for more details.

For the same reason, you should NOT consider that your motorcycle has a lower impact on the environment even if you get 65 mpg with it; motorcycles are generally MUCH DIRTIER than cars (at least in Europe where I'm writing this), because legislation is not as strict for them as it is for cars. And I don't know which motorcycle you have, but one of my friends has one (650 cubic centimeters engine) which gets much less mpg than my Prius...
I won't have to make a life or recycle decision whether to buy new batteries or not every five to eight years (and add old batteries to the landfill).
This is one of the most current misconceptions about the Prius. Why should you have to change the HV battery after 8 years ? Because there is a 8-year guarantee ? Do you have to change the engine after 2 years in a car with 2-year guarantee ? Of course you will, in general, not have to do this. As flaws can exist in every thing, it's still possible that your battery is dead after 10, or 15, or more years... like it is possible you have to change important parts (gearbox...) on any old car. But in any case, of course you will NOT add your battery to the landfill : like any NiMH battery you can find in laptops, phones etc (they're basically the same, except the size :lol:), there are special places to recycle them and every Toyota dealer is informed about that.
 

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Thanks Frenchie

Thanks Frenchie for the civil response. There seem to be at least three environmental issues. Reducing the rate of use of fossil fuels, air pollution, and greenhouse gasses.

It seems the epa has taken a dim view of diesel motors as contributors of poor air quality in local environments. Particulates are a problem of diesel engines, but on the other hand, they serve a valuable use in encapsulating the more harmful elements of exhaust emission.

Typically a soot particle will travel less than a hundred yards where it falls to the ground to be reduced by naturally occurring microbes. If not freed by secondary burning, such as brush fires, those components will never enter the environment.

According to the site you referenced, higher gas mileage means lower emissions. My 600cc motorcycle gets 65 mpg at 65mph. It is well maintained and I assume the environmental impact is low. It uses less oil, rubber, and requires less infrastructure.

I hope the batteries last a very long time. I am a believer in technology. It is the clever technical design that keeps hydrogen from the batteries from concentrating, possibly turning the driver into a screaming fireball. When the batteries are properly used, there is every indication they will perform for a long time at some level.

(Do the guys who turn the A/C off to get that great mileage know that the cooled cabin air is part of the system that keeps the batteries within a fairly narrow optimum operating range?).

Other cars have engines and gearboxes, but you do too. The Prius is a decent mileage car when gasoline powered, but uses batteries to exploit certain efficiencies. It seems fair to amortize the expense of these items when comparing the added mileage. Whether eight years or twelve, the Prius is a disposable item. Batteries have improved immensely in the last few years, but haven't gotten cheaper, well, ever. When they are dead, or aren't performing as well as you wish, you may get the opportunity to buy the car again. Obviously we all hope technology makes giant strides and this does not become an issue.

When you take you batteries to the recycle center, the process has only begun. They are hazardous waste and have to be deconstructed properly and unusable parts discarded. If many people used them, they would be a more significant environmental hazard.

I am sorry to hear I am not a typical Prius buyer, I was responding to a couple of people who were considering the same cars I was. I am also concerned that not all of your group usually feel concerned about the environment. I know that must be a burden on the few that do.
 

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Batteries have improved immensely in the last few years, but haven't gotten cheaper, well, ever.
This is soooo not true!

Every new battery technology starts off ridiculously expensive, but once it filters into more widespread applications and hence greater production volumes, the prices always tumble. Just look at how new technology in laptop batteries begins prohibitively expensive, then over a year or two halves in cost to oust the old technology (esp NiCd -> NiMH -> LiIon -> LiPolymer etc).

As the automotive NiMH battery industry is only in its infancy, it's fairly safe to say that ten years down the line when production volumes of automotive NiMH will be well established if you really did need to replace a whole Prius battery (they're modular), they will almost certainly cost a fraction of what they do right now - especially if individual cell formats are shared by the different manufacturers.

In any case, I wouldn't worry about battery failure too much as there are
some very high mileage 1st generation Prii out there, with one in Canada over 200,000 miles already! So not really a concern! 8)
 

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got me

You got me. Sometimes battery prices do come down. Especially compared to prices during development. I just checked the price of the battery on my VAIO laptop. It is still expensive, but less expensive. As an EV enthusiast, I certainly hope they do come down.

I think the optimists' view is well represented in this recent industry report.

http://www.epri.com/corporate/discover_ ... 03_ev.html


If the batteries can be applied very widely in large quantities, not only will the prices be less, but disposal technologies will improve. If the industry isn't overshadowed by fuel cell application, lots of dollars and creative energy can be put into battery research. If a great new battery isn't invented that is on the expensive part of its development when its needed , the owner may decide not to discard his Prius. Maybe.
 

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It seems the epa has taken a dim view of diesel motors as contributors of poor air quality in local environments. Particulates are a problem of diesel engines, but on the other hand, they serve a valuable use in encapsulating the more harmful elements of exhaust emission.
I'm not sure my doctor will agree with you...
Typically a soot particle will travel less than a hundred yards where it falls to the ground to be reduced by naturally occurring microbes.
Assuming you're right, this is still far more than necessary for these particulates to enter your lungs, for instance, where they are a major cause of allergy, or even can cause cancer over long exposure just like cigarette smoke (of course if you're smoking :( , the diesel contribution will be negligible).
According to the site you referenced, higher gas mileage means lower emissions.
Be accurate please : higher gas mileage means lower CARBON DIOXIDE emissions, period. Reducing CO2 emissions is important but a lot of people still mix up this problem with bad air quality in large cities. Again, this is a totally different issue. It's possible to make standard gasoline cars that are very "clean" but don't get great gas mileage (see EPA list), hybrids are just the present best way to achieve _both_ fuel economy and low pollution level.
It is the clever technical design that keeps hydrogen from the batteries from concentrating, possibly turning the driver into a screaming fireball.
This is nothing but pure science-fiction. There is no molecular hydrogen in the battery, but atomic hydrogen adsorbed onto a metallic alloy. For electrochemistry details see for instance here :
http://data.energizer.com/batteryinfo/a ... ydride.htm
(Do the guys who turn the A/C off to get that great mileage know that the cooled cabin air is part of the system that keeps the batteries within a fairly narrow optimum operating range?).
Perfectly right. The battery needs to feel as comfortable as you, that's the reason why the air intakes are placed in the cabin.
Other cars have engines and gearboxes, but you do too.
Engine yes, gearbox no. There is no gearbox, nor clutch, nor torque converter in the Prius. The "Power Split Device" is a very small and simple planetary gearset that splits the power between MG1, MG2 and engine ; basically, one can say the mechanical complexity of ordinary transmissions has been replaced by electronics and software.
When you take you batteries to the recycle center, the process has only begun. They are hazardous waste and have to be deconstructed properly and unusable parts discarded. If many people used them, they would be a more significant environmental hazard.
Batteries are not "ordinary" waste, for sure (remember that for the small ones, too). But I'm not sure the hazard will grow if they become more common ; very often it's just the opposite. When the problem is small, people just neglect it. When it becomes significant, everyone tries to find a better way to handle the situation.

Now want to see what's inside the Prius battery ? Have a look there :

http://www.peve.panasonic.co.jp/catalog/e_kaku.html

or there if you want to see other types (including first generation Prius ones) :

http://www.peve.panasonic.co.jp/e_catalog1.html

8)
 

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thankyou Frenchie

Thanks Frenchie, for the information in the Panasonic battery, and your thoughtful response.

You are incorrect about hydrogen not being a safety issue. Even the site you referenced mentions Hydrogen can be produced faster than it can be recombined, but please chece the following report for a second opinion.

It is an interesting paper in general.

http://www.ctts.nrel.gov/BTM/pdfs/2a_2002_01_1962.pdf

Thermal Evaluation of Toyota Prius Battery Pack from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory under the section "pack thermal management"

As for particulate emisions in diesel engines, I hope that can be dealt with by filters in the future but certainly are a problem now. Exposure is worse in big European cities than out here in the open plains of the American west. You folks should reconsider your unhealthy lifestyle :D .

There is another side of the story, however. I wish I knew a better reference, but this review is supported by other sources.

http://www.visionengineer.com/mech/diesel_engines.shtml

"When the particulates emitted by diesel engines are collected and weighed, they are found to have more mass than those emitted by gasoline engines. This has prompted many critics to term diesels as dirty engines.

Studies done around 1999 have shown that gasolines also emitt as many particulates as diesels [in terms of number]. However, these are much smaller in size and have been overlooked prior to this discovery. In reality, particulates from diesels are easily filtered out by our lungs because of their size. It is particulates from gasolines that penetrate deep into our lungs and cause health problems."

If it is proven that particulates from gasoline are also carcinogenic and mutagenic as the particles from diesel are suspected to be, then the EPA will eventually have to realign their list.

If Prius has obviated concern for these particles, one more for the team.

Your transmission is a transmission. It is a box with a gearset in it. I suspect it functions much like the constantly variable transmission offered in the Mini Cooper.

On high gas mileage/greenhouse gasses. I assume that high gas mileage means efficient ignition. I assume efficient combustion means fewer emisions aggravated by inefficient combustion. Beyond that, for similar sized engines, I think that EPA list is a Consumer Report on catalytic converters. I admit ignorance and I can cite nothing to support the suspicion.

Finally more waste is a bigger hazard than less waste. Yes, we will deal with it.
 
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