10 Feb. 2009
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PriUPS Project

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The Night of the Living Prius

Toyota held an event for Prius enthusiasts in the New York City area last Thursday night.
I am a Prius enthusiast in the New York City area.
I was invited.

Not exactly the high-quality syllogism you've learned not to expect from this blog, but there you have it.  Let me tell you about the event:

  • They had valet parking, and the valets knew how to start and drive the Prius

  • They had food.  The chocolate chip cookies were especially noteworthy!

  • They had Toyota executives.  You could ask them questions!

  • The had a perfectly sized crowd.  Enough people to make it interesting, not so many that you couldn't get to the displays.

  • They had a Prius trivia contest for which the prize was a "Prius Genius" T-shirt.

  • They had the several versions of the 2010 Prius tastefully arrayed on the floor.  I especially coveted the blue one.

Let me tell you about me:

  • I won a Prius T-shirt.

  • I had my camera.

Since you can find the official photos and the official information on the Toyota web site, I'll just offer some impressions and photos here.  Some of the photos are clickable for larger versions.

The Highlight

The 2010 Prius - Naked!

The Highlight was this display of the vital hybrid components including the electric system!

The Details

2010 Prius engine The engine exposed.
2010 Prius power control unit The electrical power control unit.
2010 Prius power control unit rear The rear of the power control unit.  Note the careful shielding.  Orange means "High Voltage" in hybrid speak.
2010 Prius engine The engine from the left front.  The sign notes the "beltless" configuration.  One less thing to go wrong.
2010 Prius battery and relay compartment and cooling fan The traction battery compartment.  Presumably the small box between the fan and the battery itself is the relay box. 
2010 Prius battery cooling fan and HV wire connection The other side of the fan showing the wire bushing
2010 Prius engine compartment Here's a picture of the complete engine in a real car. 
2010 Prius center console without navigation system Here's the center console without the optional GPS display.  The shifter has been re-located to a more-or-less traditional position.  I never had a personal problem with the funky shift lever or its position on the dash in the Generation 2 Prius.  Presumably others did, with the result you see.  No problem before, but more sporty now.
2010 Prius center console with navigation screen Here's the optional GPS display.  The center console is much, much nicer than the current version
2010 Prius navigation screen close up Here's a close-up of the navigation screen.  If you have a lot more patience than I do, you might be able to count the pixels.  There were no technical specs to that level of detail, so you might be the first to discover how good the display is.
BlackBerry Storm streaming Bluetooth audio to 2010 Prius My favorite part of the evening:  I was able to pair my BlackBerry Storm with the audio system in the Prius and stream stereo audio through the car's speakers.  I did this without a manual, something for which I share credit with the designers of the user interface. 

Onlookers probably hadn't heard Melanie's "Candles in the Rain" coming from a Prius before, so this was new to them, too.  Bluetooth streaming alone makes the new Prius very attractive.  When I buttonholed one of the Toyota folks to ask why we couldn't get an upgrade for the Gen 2 cars, I didn't get a convincing answer.

2010 Prius solar cell roof Here's the famous solar power roof.  I think this is a very sensible use for solar power; trying to eke out a tiny bit of extra mileage from such a small solar panel isn't really worth the effort. 

I forgot to ask whether the solar panel would also trickle-charge the 12V battery.  A common complaint is that this battery discharges if the car isn't used for several weeks.  A solar re-charge would be a boon for occasional users.

And:  Is that a beautiful BLUE or what?

2010 Prius left steering wheel control Here are the new steering wheel buttons.  I'm not sure whether this is an im- or de-provement.  I guess it will take some getting used to. 2010 Prius right steering wheel control
2010 Prius EPA mileage - 50MPG! Oh yes.  An important feature!

I'm keen to see how much better I can do.  I've been getting 50 mpg on my 2005 Prius even in hilly country and the occasional winter.

Tempted?  I am and I'm not.  I definitely plan to buy the Gen 3 Prius, but I'm going to wait for the plug-in.  Although this version seems better in every respect, my 2005 has about 80k miles and I expect it to hold out (easily!) for another year or two as necessary.  Of course I asked "When will we be able to get the plug-in" and of course I was answered "it's being tested and we don't know."  That may even be the truth. 

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Corvette ZR1 1990 Quasar Blue FOR SALE

NP:  "I Will Possess Your Heart" - Death Cab for Cutie (but I have been listening to Melanie)

Richard Factor

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