Thinking of the Toyota Prius and how it revolutionized the automotive industry, I now know what it must have been like back in the days of the Model T. Even though there were some die hard Ford lovers, many people that owned a model T, eventually tried out other cars. They simply were not getting what they wanted in the Ford.
There is a similar trend that is happening today as well. Prius has caused a massive overhaul to the automotive system that many of us are deeply rooted in. Prius has fans that are loyal and trustworthy, but at the same time we also have people that see what the future holds then jump on the bandwagon.
I think that many Prius owners love the cars, but also know that we are evolving in such a way that it is time to get with the program and embrace more modern technology. Here are my 3 reasons why I believe Prius owners, love the Tesla cars more.
The New "Green"
The push for the Prius came with a wave of support from an environmentalist perspective. Using less fuel, oil, and emitting fewer tailpipe emissions led to a cult following for people who wanted to contribute to the new "green" movement.
This idea that owning a car that can still get you where you need to go all while doing it on a budget, is very appealing. People that bought a Prius loved the cheap refuel, and they also felt good driving it. Driving a Prius was not just about fuel economy, it was about contribution.
This is reason one, that Prius drivers love Tesla. It is what they had already, just better. The new "green" movement is battery operated vehicles that emit zero tailpipe emissions. Refueling? Plug it in at home during off peak hours for the costs far superior to that of refueling the old Prius. Add in the fact there there are minor fluid changes every 100k or so and very few other items that will need attention, and you have yourself a winner.
While it can be argued that depending on where you source the batteries from and also where you are getting your power to charge, the car is not that "green". However, we all know we are trading one form of pollution for another. So, clear skies for now will allow for a nicer view while buzzing down the electronic superhighway.
Prius Is Peppy, Tesla Is Downright Fast
Electric motors are no doubt, a turbo or superchargers nightmare. They days of building a small block chevy are not over yet, but those days are rapidly approaching. When gen 2 Prius came out, owners were amazed at the massive improvement on acceleration.
The boost inverter that was now available made Prius actually quite quick off the line with the instant torque of the electric motor. Not many knew it then but they are finding out now, getting into that peak torque and horsepower range instantly, makes for an easy pink slip win.
Tesla gives Prius owners a whole new level of excitement. Going from peppy to powerful is a change that has owners more worried about smiles per gallon, rather than miles per gallon. With a slow 0 to 60 time 4.2 seconds, this is still faster than many supercars that are out there today. Giving the Prius owner a whole new level of status on the road and with friends. I would not be surprised if Prius to Tesla owners started their own racing gang at some point, which would be really cool.
Tesla Has Better Options Over Prius
Prius is cool for sure. I have even updated my second gen to have a more modern feel, but if we are being honest here, Toyota has taken way too long to acquire even some basic things like Apple Car Play. Even though 2020 Prius now will have this option, Tesla has been dominating the tech sector for way longer.
The massive screen, super high quality interior and really provocative lines, have made the Tesla not only look the part, but play it as well. Tesla simply has better tech than Prius, even though without Prius, Tesla may not have been who they are today.
While the future of Tesla is still uncertain, there is no doubt that people love them. I honestly would love to own a Tesla, for multiple reasons and also for the three mentioned above. I really think that if Prius is going to be a competitor to any of the Tesla models in the future, it will have to step it game up even more to keep the segment it is in.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He is an automotive technology instructor at Columbia Basin College. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Adjunct Instructor of automotive technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter.