Pleasing Prius

Reviewer likes car, thinks it's worth the wait, but seems confused on NiMH battery chemistry and Prius' electric motors causing smog.

Published: 07-Feb-2005

If I'd known that I'd be driving through a blizzard, the eco-friendly Toyota Prius wouldn't have been my vehicle of choice for the trip to the Grand Canyon and back. A surmount-any-obstacle Hummer might have been more appropriate.

But there I was, sandwiched between two hulking semis, slogging through a foot of snow in the only lane of Interstate 40 outside of Williams, Ariz., still travelable. The Prius just soldiered on with barely a slip or a slide, thanks to front-wheel drive, standard traction control and my test car's optional stability control.

The hybrid gasoline/electric Prius is a remarkable automobile. Heaven only knows the precise thought process of the typical car buyer, though legions of marketing MBAs have attempted to figure it out. Emotion, particularly in car-cuckoo California, plays a huge role. The Prius, however, offers several uniquely rational reasons to buy:


Playing catch-up a decade late, the world's auto giants now find that they have to lease or buy technology from Toyota.

Spc. Jeffrey Hamme and Staff Sgt. Michelangelo Merksamer of HHC, 1/506th Infantry, point out features of the Hybrid Electric Humvee at the AUSA Annual Meeting earlier this month. The two Soldiers participated in a Military Utility Assessment of the prototype vehicle last month at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Ford's 'Hybrid Patrol,' a 10-city initiative this fall that aims to show hybrid drivers how to drive for best fuel economy. EV World photo of Bill and Lisa Hammond on way to first Ford Patrol event in Detroit during stop-over in Omaha.


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