When someone says, Toyota Prius, there are probably several opinions that pop up about the car. Tree Hugger, slow driver, gas saver, just to name a few. I am certain there are other names that also come to mind which I would rather not share at this point in time, but feel free to message me and we can chat about it. However, I still think that I will probably win this argument and here is why.
Reason 1 - Minimal fuel use while stopped
Here is something your “eco box” cannot do. I can sit in the parking lot, with my kids, and the nice, ice cold A/C is on. I can do this while using only battery power. The engine will cycle on and off during my stay in the parking lot. This all depends on how long the old lady is in the store though. If I do have run the engine it is put to use in the best way possible and store it in the battery to minimize engine run time. Boom. Eat it.
Some will say,``Where did the battery power come from, you have to plug it in and that electricity came from a coal fired power station.” Sorry, wrong again, not all power is produced from coal, or nuclear, or hydro. Which leads me to my second point.
Reason 2 - Regenerative braking the ultimate in efficiency
So back to the coal power plant argument. My Prius captures its own energy. Can your tiny little beer can on wheels do that? Um, no it cannot. I utilize my fuel much more efficiently by capturing that energy lost during normal braking and turn that into usable stored power.
I can feel the chill right now of the A/C hitting my body keeping me cool while is jam out to my favorite tunes. Best part is I am not worried about overheating the engine (not that you should be but it is possible) because my engine will shut off when it knows I have enough sustainable power.
Reason 3 - Less wear and tear
Reason 3 has a lot to do with reason 2. When the Toyota Prius goes into regenerative braking it utilizes its motor generators to slow the vehicle rather that use mechanical braking as, should we say your car does. Before you get all hot and bothered about it, Prius does have mechanical brakes, it just uses them only when hard braking is needed. Other than that, a Prius in good working order can go well over 100,000 miles without ever needing to have a brake job.
So unless your little match box of a car is only driven on the highway and sees very minimal use on brakes, you still will not see the miles out of them like I do. Smell that? It smells like victory over here, and that smells nice.
Reason 4 - Engineered for optimal efficiency
The Toyota Prius gave us so many cool things we use in our world today. Your little beep, beep got a ton of engineering from it. Aerodynamic ability was engineered very deep into the root core of Prius. Why? To optimize how it went down the road. All the plastic panels and wheel covers Prius has designed and freaking wind tunnel tested to ensure the vehicle has less drag. Less drag means less fuel consumption and that means more money in your pocket.
Low rolling resistance tires. Ever heard of them? Your snuff box sure has, and guess where that idea came to be? Prius. It may not have started there but Prius has made everyone take a look at low rolling resistance tires and put them on those little tin cans. So, go ahead and thank me again for making your car seem important.
Reason 5 - Longevity
Amongst the engineering, there is also something that I want to point out. Toyota Motor Corporation, ever heard of them? Right, they build some of the most reliable and dependable vehicles on the road. Fun fact, 80% of the number of Toyota vehicles sold in the past 20 years are still on the road today. This is because Toyota makes their vehicles to withstand some of the most harsh environments known to man, just ask the guy who had his Tundra melt in the California fire, and still drive it out like it was no, big, deal.
Toyota Prius is no exception. The engines, transmissions, and everything else in between has been rigorously tested in all types of conditions to ensure that it will keep going for hundreds of thousands of miles. Just ask me, I bought a 2007 Prius with 245,000 miles on it. Guess what? I am still averaging 42 mpg and I am into the car less than $2000. No issues or problems at all. Hmmm, and I get all these other perks? Sign me up.
No matter what you drive I hope you love it. Just keep in mind a Toyota Prius next time you are thinking about getting a commuter. They really have quite a few extra perks that not many people think about when choosing a car.
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 can be reached on Linkedin and at Certified Consultingand on Twitter at @the_hybrid_guy for news tips.