26 Jan. 2007
SETI League
PriUPS Project

A Bit More Prius Babble

And a Bizarre Idea

Yesterday I said a few words (too many?) about Prius mileage.  But it is our anniversary, and my Prius and I are happy together in more ways than one.  A short time after I got it, and contemporaneous with the creation of the PriUPS site, I created this "FAQ."  I think it may be time to do a bit of an update since I've had so much more experience.  But for now, I thought I'd mention something I know now that I didn't then:  The car will have been reliable.

How reliable?  So reliable that I have not had a single problem, glitch, issue, or sinking feeling of being stranded in the first 42,000 miles I have driven it.  The only exceptions to this sweeping statement are either in problems I caused myself by my endless experimentation with the high voltage electrical section, or stupid stuff like a couple of flat tires that had nothing remotely Prius-related as causal factors. 

  • There has not been a single time when I pressed the big Start button when the car didn't start.

  • I have not, even once, had a dead battery.

  • I haven't had a single light bulb burn out!

  • There have been no strange noises or mysterious fluids emanating from any part of the vehicle.

  • Everything seems to fit; nothing seems to rattle.

Luck?  New car syndrome?  I have bought new cars before and have, in general, been lucky in that they haven't been overtaken by disaster or serious maintenance issues until the 75 to 100K mile area, so the fact that the Prius is unscathed at 42K miles may not mean much.  And yet I can't remember such a long succession of trips to the dealer with nothing to say but "Routine maintenance, please." 

I have been responsible, at least in part, for several friends and neighbors buying their own Prius.  I've been pleased by this because I'm a bit of a proselytizer for the vehicle even though I understand most people don't have PriUPS plans in mind and are just interested in it for the usual reasons.  I'm also pleased because none of them have managed to get a blue Prius, in which case I would have to be jealous instead.  And I should report that earlier this week I received my first advertisement for a Prius from my dealer.  Apparently the wait is over; you can get one right now, and they are offering "incentives" which sound very much like "discounts" to me although I don't know if they have that word. 

Prius Flaws

In case the above sounds too much like a big Prius sales job, I'll prove my objectivity by cataloging a few flaws:

Turning the car OFF makes me crazy.  It just doesn't understand that if you press the power button while you're stopping, you want it to obey you.  Why do you have to come to a full stop, wait almost half a second, and only then press the button?  Why can't it realize that if you've pressed the button while you're coming to a stop, it can turn the car off after you're not moving?

The smart key is slow.  Sometimes I have to touch the handle twice or even three times before the door opens.  Likewise, sometimes I have to press the lock button more than once before it comprehends.

The Bluetooth connection doesn't seem to accept phone numbers from my cellphone.  And there is some irritating software that prevents you from dialing when the car is moving.  Of course this is for "safety," and means that instead of using the big touchscreen buttons, you have to fumble with the telephone itself and its tiny buttons.  Hello USDUC!

And it has a mixed curse as well.  In the wind, it handles like an airplane.  The car is light and has a large vertical area which gives it a substantial atmospheric interaction cross section.  Driving home tonight with the stiff boreal breezes I felt like I was trying to land the car rather than guide it.  But that's OK; adversity is the genesis of some very interesting (and often bizarre) ideas.   

A Bizarre Idea

If you're not 'way ahead of me on this one, then you'll have to stay a bit behind since I've already written more than I had intended to.  Besides, the idea needs a bit of time to gel.  Monday...

NP:  "Catapult" - Counting Crows

Richard Factor

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