Prius Fun

Posted 01.25.06 as I await delivery of my ordered 2006 Prius....

darelldd, I have had just about enough of you. I was very happy with my fully gasoline Prius, thank you very much. Now, pictures of the vehicle I really want (RAV4-EV) are plastered all over my beloved PriusChat. I can't stand the sight of you, standing there, next to your giant "EV" emblems on your automobile, with your smug, smug grins. Flaunting it like the girl I can't get a date with. "Solar Powered" none the less. Don't you know your plug-in is no better because it gets its electricity from fossil fuel? Oh? It's solar powered? Wind powered? Hydro powered? Nuclear powered? Fine. Well, your car isn't so great, you know, because the range sucks. What??? It goes 100 miles on a charge? Well, it must be smaller than a Prius. WHAT? It's a small SUV? Fine, whatever.

So, here on PriusChat, we have over 10,000 smug little hybrid drivers (or wannabes) and along comes great big darelldd, with his smug smugness all wrapped up in a box of smug labeled RAV4-EV, and spoils it all. As I drive in my electrically powered (scratch that, GASOLINE powered, only partially electrically propelled) Prius, I am no longer the king of smug.

I am no longer smug when I press my "EV" button and drive for .5 miles at 15 mph. I am no longer smug sitting at a light with the engine (usually) off, now that I realize it will start up momentarily.

I am, to put it bluntly, no longer happy with my Prius. I now want more, I NEED more smugness. Oh, how I long to plug in. I NEED to plug in. And I for one blame darelldd!

I now scoff at my own Prius. It's true. I had a "glass half full" kind of thing going for over a year on my little Prius. I'd look under the hood, and see the inverter, and think, hey, it's half electric! Awesome! Now, I look under the hood, and think, damn, it's only half electric.

And then, when I pull up to the pump, as I did today, I realize it's not even half, it's ALL gasoline. Yes, it uses less, but there's no plug, dammit, there's still no plug, and until that day comes, it's a gas powered car. And it just isn't right.

And, I blame Darell. Don't you see? Last time I had this epiphany I went out and bought a Prius and all was right with the world. And now what? The lack of a plug has been secretly nagging me, but I was able to deny it, and drive my smug little self to work in my smug little car, and now, well now, it's gone, because darelldd has prodded me to admit the truth, that I am not happy without the plug.

I want my smugness back. I want my smug level raised back up to darell's. I fear the only remedy will be a plug of my very own... I say we all descend upon Toyota's headquarters and bring our Prii and some plugs, maybe 10,000 of us can get Toyota to attach them?

Damn, I hate my car. Stupid ICE engine. I hate that smug bastard Darell as well... I was happy before he got here...

It's like this, we had the most environmentally friendly car on the road, us Prius owners. And darelldd comes along, and throws all that out the window.

Any other darelldd haters here? Suffering plug-in envy? Thanks a friggin' lot, Darell. My hybrid sucks now.


P.S. (In all seriousness, I know Darell from an EV forum. He's awesome, really he is. Darell, glad to know you can stoop down to our level and buy yourself a crappy non-plugin hybrid. Could you please at least TRY to wipe that smug grin off of your face? For an example of what "NOT smug" looks like, just look for me driving my Prius.)

P. P. S. If anyone has a RAV4-EV that needs a good home in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, I have a Prius that's no longer good enough that I need to replace (stupid darelldd)!

The four states of Priusness, originally Evan Fusco modified by those who followed...

Stage I: Awe and Fascination
The Multi-display screen (MFD) is left on the Energy screen the majority of the time as the driver and passengers watch with fascination as the colorful arrows shift and switch from Engine (ICE) to wheels and ICE to battery and wheels to battery. This is a time of trying to comprehend the general idea of how the car is working at different times. Some attention is paid to overall MPG by switching to the Consumption screen from time to time, but for the most part the 5-minute graph is hard to put into perspective. This phase lasts from weeks to a few months.

Stage II: Growth and Progress
The driver now tends to focus on the Consumption screen in an effort to improve each of the individual 5 minute bars on the graph as part of an effort to improve overall MPG. Fine adjustments are made in driving technique such as rate of acceleration, top speed, using cruise control and adjusting to traffic and lights. Occasionally switching over to the Energy screen may occur as he/she tries to understand what might be going on in a particular situation or to show that screen to a new rider, but the focus here is clearly on the Consumption screen and efforts to improve mileage. This phase lasts months to about a year.

Stage III: Fine Tuning
Once consistency is obtained with the Consumption screen phase and the driver’s MPG has seemed to stabilize for familiar routes there is a tendency to want to begin to ‘push the envelope’ to really maximize the fuel economy. To this end he/she needs to switch to the Energy screen once again. This time, however, it is used not to understand, but rather to fine tune and control the system to attain maximum efficiency. Techniques such as Pulse and Glide will require the Energy screen to assure they are in a ‘no arrows’ glide. Acceleration in the ‘dead-band’ (arrows from ICE to wheels only—none to or from the HV battery) for maximal efficiency likewise necessitate the Energy screen. Those not as dedicated or concerned about the fuel economy may find that they begin to use alternate screens such as the Audio screen or the MAP screen checking the Consumption screen occasionally and Energy screen rarely. Most drivers who are dedicated to constantly obtaining maximum possible fuel efficiency will remain on the Energy screen for years or even for the remainder of the time they own the car, switching to the Consumption screen only to check the tank MPG average and total miles on the tank then immediately returning to the Energy screen.

Stage IV: Prius Nirvana
Most people will never attain Prius Nirvana. This is the stage where the driver has almost become one with the vehicle. He/she is so aware of the car’s operation that he/she can tell when he/she’s in the dead-band or gliding without looking at the Energy screen. Indeed he/she will enter those conditions often without conscious effort as they’ve become second nature. Maximal MPG is still achieved but almost without effort. This is not the same as the person in Stage III who no longer cares about MPG, this person cares greatly, but no longer has to put significant effort in to their driving to achieve it. He or she will use various screens on the MFD as needed, or may even turn it off completely. There is no longer a need to look at the Energy screen at all and they look at the Consumption screen only to note overall MPG and total tank miles. This stage is lifetime.

Stage V: Realizing it could be so much better
Unlike stage IV, I believe that most "thinking" Prius drivers will attain Stage V at some point in their driving career. This is the stage where the reality of "gas sucks" sets in. After spending hundreds of hours attempting to achieve the highest gas mileage possible, the realization will hit most drivers that using NO gasoline is the best solution! Gasoline is not needed to drive to the corner store for milk. It is not needed for driving Suzie to soccer practice. It is not needed for a 40 mile commute. It is not needed for 90% of the miles that an American car is driven! So why, oh why, are we required to burn gasoline in the Prius!? Stage V is the gateway to fossil-fuel elimination, and is even beyond "Nirvana."



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