Toyota Motors Sustainable Mobility Seminar
By: Kathleen Neil, Contributing Editor
Since the time my father sat me behind the wheel of a surplus World War II Jeep and taught me to drive a standard transmission, I have admired the durability and dependability of internal combustion engines. It was simple, there were really only two things to remember: always be sure there was gas in the spare tank and whenever possible park on a downward slope. The past two days in La Jolla, California, Toyota Motor Company has persuaded me that there can be good and green driving though computers.
The Prius 2010 Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) is not the car I would hand over to my twenty-something son. It would be a waste. The seamless transition from electric to hybrid and back to electric that I experienced with my driving habits would not work for him since the driver really doesn’t feel it when you depress the accelerator pedal and the on-board (computer) system decides what the road and your foot are telling it are the optimal power sources. Low speed, stop-and-go, gentle pressure on the accelerator, and no strenuous road demands tell the Prius PHV to keep you in electric mode.
On the other hand, fast acceleration from a stop-light into a left-hand turn across traffic, or expressway driving demands and the internal combustion engine aspect is right there without you realizing it to give the driver an anxiety-free feeling. I drove the vehicle twice, first the afternoon of April 12th in mixed city-expressway along a 10-mile route (68% of that in electric mode), and second the afternoon of April 13th in city (with heavy traffic) driving along a 14-mile route (74% of that in electric mode). The dash display showed I got 99.9 miles to the gallon both times, but I later learned that’s the limit of the gauge, too bad, I’m sure I did much better than that.
Toyota has also reinforced my sense that they are a good corporate citizen in the way they set up and ran the Sustainable Mobility Seminar in La Jolla from April 12-15, 2010 where I had the opportunity to drive and learn about the 2010 Prius PHV. With only a brief and interesting early morning presentation about the Prius itself, the rest of the seminar was an exceptionally open and unfettered series of excellent speakers and great opportunities to ask questions of a diverse collection of experts about the most pressing environmental questions facing us now.
No need to take my word for it, look for yourself http://www.toyota.com/esq/events/2010/Sustainable_Mobility_Seminar_.html.