So how popular is the Toyota Prius in your area?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jack Briggs, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    For the past few weeks I have been noticing an awful lot of Toyota Priuses here in Los Angeles. In fact, the numbers are phenomenal. Which, to divert myself on the way to and from work, I've started counting the numbers of these marvelous cars I see on each day -- either on the road or parked, doesn't matter.

    Results: On Monday, I counted 27 of the things. On Tuesday, 26. Wednesday was a little restrained at "only" 21. And yesterday, I counted 29 of the hybrids.

    Frankly, it's amazing for any single model to pop up that often.

    However, Los Angeles is different, and the ever-mounting fuel/energy crisis is taken quite seriously here. So no wonder the Toyota Prius is a big hit in Los Angeles.

    But what about elsewhere in the country? Surely the thing cannot be as popular elsewhere.

    (Yes, it's a slow day today. What the heck. Oh, and at midday I've already counted nine Toyota Priuses.)
     
  2. Jimi C

    Jimi C Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,209
    Likes Received:
    1
    I only ever remember seeing 1 or 2 in the Buffalo area and those were months ago. Most common cars around here are Tauruses, and Malibus. Ive been seeing more and more Cobalts too though. I think that may be more of a reflection of the economic differences between a large city like LA and a small blue collar city like Buffalo though.
     
  3. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2003
    Messages:
    981
    Likes Received:
    0
    Toyota is really cranking those thing out. I see one or two around my town and a smattering of Honda Insights....but not enough to notice any increased pattern. Then again......since I only travel about seven miles a day (total) in a car, maybe I don't care enough about gas prices and such to notice alternative vehicles.

    Mort
     
  4. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    8,189
    Likes Received:
    411
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Real Name:
    Chuck Mayer
    Lots in DC. One advantage of a hybrid (soon to be disappearing) is that you are always HOV positive. Combine that with the tax breaks and gas savings, and you have a recipe for success.

    Being HOV positive (and we're HOV-3 here in DC) is a huge bonus. Probably in many major US cities.
     
  5. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 1999
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    1
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Michael Warner

    Michael Warner Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 1999
    Messages:
    737
    Likes Received:
    0
    Seattle = Prius

    What's odd is that I see lots of Priuses (Priusi?) and lots of Suburbans/Tahoes. Seems that people here like the extremes.
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    Henry: Just what is it like driving the Prius? It seems like such a smart car. And when the thing is just poking along it is completely silent. Amazing vehicle.
     
  8. gene c

    gene c Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,849
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Bay area, Ca
    Real Name:
    Gene
    I see alot of Ford Escape hybrids here in the S.F Bay Area as well. I'd like to get one some day.
     
  9. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 1999
    Messages:
    3,301
    Likes Received:
    0
    If radius -> radii, then I guess it could be Prii ("pree-eye") [​IMG]

    I drove a friend's on a road trip and it drives just like a normal car. On the highway, the electric motor helps on passing maneuvers. I was impressed.
     
  10. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 1999
    Messages:
    1,519
    Likes Received:
    29
    An article in a paper said the tax break for buying a Prius is soon going to be dropping, and that it eventually will go away.

    Seems that under the relevant legislation, the trigger for the tax breaks to start fading out is the sale of 60,000 cars. Toyota has now sold that many Priuses...
     
  11. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 1999
    Messages:
    1,609
    Likes Received:
    0

    I heard it was July 31, but that was from a sales rep, so consider the source....
     
  12. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2003
    Messages:
    1,893
    Likes Received:
    241
    Real Name:
    Chris
  13. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 1999
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    1
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 1999
    Messages:
    2,312
    Likes Received:
    0
    As Chuck mentioned, there are lots of Priuses in the Northern VA/DC area, due to the HOV free pass. There are several in my small neighborhood (
     
  15. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    1
    I work at a Toyota dealership in Fresno, CA, which for trendiness is about on a par with maybe Dubuque Iowa. They are very common here, almost as common as in LA. The Fresno County Sheriff's dept has a fleet of 'em for community service cars (not used for pursuit) and they have all the same markings as the Crown Vics except for the extra community service decals and lack of gun mounts and roof lights.

    It's normally 98 plus Fahrenheit here from mid June until late September, today was our 14th or so day in a row of 106+. The Prius AC compressor is electrically driven, not engine driven, so it puts out as much cool at idle as at speed, and the engine doesn't have to run to produce cold air. Most standard car's AC starts to get a little warm and sticky at long traffic lights here in July, not the Prius.

    As for driving characteristics it actually feels a bit sluggish at first, mostly because of the stepless cvt transmission. There are no shifts so the engine doesn't rev up and drop rpm when shifts occur as in a normal car. It's so quiet and smooth that one doesn't get some of the normal sensory cues of rapid acceleration. Mash the go pedal on an onramp and although it feels like nothing much is happening the speedo is reading 70 or 75 before you know it. Anyone who remembers the Buick Dynaflows of the early to mid 50s will understand.

    The ride is quite smooth, eerily quiet most of the time even when the engine is running. It's not a sports sedan as far as cornering but is quite acceptable for a family car, about on a par with a late 90s Camry for handling but a bit more nimble in close quarters.

    Due to the regenerative braking, brake pads and rear linings (has drum brakes on the back) last at least twice as long as on a normal car, especially if mainly driven in the city.

    It does really shine as a city car, but is quite suitable for long trips. I took a recent trip from Fresno, about in the middle of CA to Pismo Beach, lower middle coastline. This involves a gruelling 140 or so miles of crossing the western half of the valley--about as desolate as the Mojave and just about as hot, and was amazed at the large number of Prius cars we saw making the trip. They will also easily climb the "Grapevine" grade between Bakersfield and LA at 70+ mph.
     
  16. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    0
    Very few in upstate NY (I only recall seeing 1 all week). I do see quite a few Hybrid civics however.
     
  17. Rommel_L

    Rommel_L Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    0
    The folks here in the Chicagoland area still LOVES their SUVs. You can keep the Prius... [​IMG]
     
  18. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 1999
    Messages:
    2,563
    Likes Received:
    38
    Real Name:
    Brian
    Here in North Texas, they seem to be somewhat more popular than most other new cars. I see more Prius autos than, say, Cobalts, RX-8s, new-gen Focus's, and just about any other car that's not an SUV.
    This "transmission" is what I think is the most brilliant part of the design. It doesn't involve belts sliding in varying-radius V-grooves, it doesn't even involve meshing and un-meshing gears, and it doesn't even need a clutch.

    It's a planetary gear system that connects the gasoline engine (center shaft, or sun gear), electric motor (planetary gears), and drive shaft (outer ring gear) all in one rock-solid unit. By controlling the extent to which the planetary gears resist transmission of power between the ring and the shaft (in either direction), power can be transmitted from one component to any other component to any degree desired. At idle, the gasoline engine can spin the sun gear and charge the batteries (by spinning the planetary gears) without transmitting any power to the ring gear (drive shaft) and making the car go. No clutch required. While braking, the ring gear similarly transmits power to the planetary gears, thus charging the battery, without any change in gasoline engine speed. To make the car go, the outer ring gear can be driven by the gasoline engine alone, the electric motor alone, or any combination, depending on how much energy is stored in the batteries. It's truly as smooth as can be, and absolutely a joy to drive.

    With no clutch, meshing gears, or other spinning surfaces that must constantly engage and disengage, the Prius transmission is rock solid, almost completely maintenance-free, and will easily last the life of the car (or at least be the last component in the drive train to break down). (Think "differential" in a rear-drive car.)


    Yeah, I know... Too much information.
     
  19. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 1999
    Messages:
    2,312
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe the study to be grossly flawed, simply because they've amortized the energy cost of the entire hybrid development, over the current existing fleet of hybrids. Any new technology that's developing as it comes to market is going to show a ridiculous investment cost (money or energy). The next generation will build on this one, and be more efficient, as will the next after that. Intel didn't build the Core Duos right out of the gate- they started with the 4004. Why is it that it should be different here?

    If the auto market had demanded (and I'm sure the horse carriage manufacturers did) that cars have fully developed 200hp 4 cylinder engines before they could/should be sold, we'd have waited a long time- probably still waiting. In the 1910s, it took over 20l of displacement to build an engine that made 200hp- now it's done, naturally aspirated with just under two.

    We're not looking at the final design for hybrid tech- not even close. But, these steps are required to get to the next level.
     
  20. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 1999
    Messages:
    2,312
    Likes Received:
    0
    While automatics, particularly CVTs, have always been a bit of a mystery to me (and I've been building my own drivelines for 15+ years), the CVT design itself isn't "rock solid." It's a bit fragile, which is why, until recently, we haven't seen much of it in cars that have significant torque and weight. It'll be a while before you see one in a Tahoe or Corvette, because the nature of the design can't handle big torque engines.
     

Share This Page