Goodbye "silver car" (Prius)

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by billvon, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    We donated our 2005 Prius to a local charity today. After 150,000 miles on it it was still running well, and getting us about 45 mpg, but was getting so old in other ways (leaks, rats finding ways into the car, headlight covers almost opaque, suspension shot) that it was time to move on. All the pronouncements of gloom that people made about it when it was new ("you're gonna have to replace the battery, and it's going to cost ten thousand dollars!") came to naught - what did it in was the usual wear and tear that a car that is parked outside for 12 years sees.

    I bought this car around the time I got married, and it was shortly after I moved closer to work (5 miles.) At that distance I usually biked, so I thought that the car wouldn't get much mileage on it. That was before I joined a 4-way skydiving team at Perris, then started teaching skydiving up there - and found myself driving up there every single weekend for several years. That was, at times, 300 miles a weekend, every weekend. It added up fast.

    When I first got the car I spent the usual time fretting over keeping it clean, not denting it etc. That lasted about 3 years. After that it started collecting dings and dents. Since it had a big hatch it was used for Home Depot runs, especially after we bought our current house and started fixing up the old house to rent out. That aged it pretty fast.

    To make it a better hauler I put a roof rack and a trailer hitch on it; the trailer hitch was useful to mount bike and cargo carriers to, and more than once it hauled a barbeque grill to a local park/beach for a party. The roof rack has carried over 200 pounds of construction materials without complaint, although the car's roof took a bit of a beating.

    More than any other car I've owned it was a skydiving car first and foremost. It was at Perris most weekends, and its big cargo area carried, at times, a dozen rigs for Amy's rigging business. It carried Amy and I (and sometimes Lara and Molly) up to skydive. It went on skydiving vacations and road trips and has been to Eloy at least a dozen times. It even made it up to Burning Man one year.

    After our first kid came it became the kid hauler for a bit, which was nice because we really didn't care much whether the kids dropped raisins on the floor. For some reason it was a favorite with both of them, even when we had a nicer car (the Leaf) to use. "Take silver car!" was Harry's common request before we'd go somewhere.

    I also added a tap off the traction battery so I could use the car as a generator. The ~200 volts from the battery went to an inverter that could give us 4000 watts for blackouts. This was used for beach parties far more often than for blackouts, this being Southern California.

    And now it's gone from our driveway. It almost went a friend's 17 year old son, on the theory that if you're going to trash a car learning how to drive, this was a good one to do it with. The charity we ended up donating it to typically refurbishes them and resells them, so it may have a bit of life left in it yet - and we might see it one day tooling around the streets of San Diego or Tijuana. I hope so, at least.
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Interesting experience. My 13yr old son tells me I should get a hybrid when we have to get rid of our 1.4l petrol VW Golf. As we live in London, that may make sense - there's a lot of stop-start and slow-moving traffic, though I use a bike for most local trips. I had always thought a hybrid would not offer much if one used it on long trips, as we do when go on holiday, but the fact you got 45mpUSg in spite of a lot of out-of-town use is encouraging. That would be 53mpIMPg which is impressive.

    (The VW has a clever engine, with both turbocharger and supercharger, which manages to be very efficient - enough that we qualify for reduced road tax - and very powerful for a 1.4l capacity. It is the sort of engine I would only buy from a German designer. The rest of the car is pretty average though, so I won't miss it much when we change it.)
    danshawen likes this.
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  5. danshawen Valued Senior Member

    A driverless Prius would have been more impressive and more useful on Mars if it was equipped with a bank of those 5,000 year diamond nuclear waste powered atomic batteries. How many equivalent mpg on Jupiter is that?

    And who says any young life or the car they drive needs to be "wasted" learning to pay attention when they drive? That's what UHD virtual reality with enhanced pain stimulation is for.

    Living in the future is better than reading Charles Dickens by candlelight in a snow covered outhouse with a hungry bear waiting for you right outside. Of course, you could just use your cellphone to call for help or pizza delivery, which would be faster.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
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