Is 12 miles enough?

Earlier this week, various reports surfaced detailing Toyota’s plans to release the 2010 Prius as PHEV, but only to fleet customers. The range? A shade over 12 miles (20 km).

While it’s good to see Toyota going towards a Plug in Prius, it’s a little frustrating to see a small PHEV range when compared to the commercial and DIY conversion options out there for the current Prius. It’s also a little frustrating to see that Toyota only plans to sell the PHEV prius to fleets rather than individuals. Is that the right choice? And is 12 miles EV only range enough?

Is the 2010 PHEV prius going to be a hit with the fleet market?
Is the 2010 PHEV prius going to be a hit with the fleet market?

Photo by Swimfinfan, reproduced under creative commons license.

Come and see the historic and exciting conclusion to a PHEV trip around 48 states.

The plug in prius is a strange beast. Promised by Toyota many times and not yet on the market, many owners (like me) have taken the time and energy to convert their own 2004-2009 Prius to a plug-in hybrid. There are even companies who, if you have enough money, will convert your Prius to a plug in without you worrying about doing it yourself.

Jerry Asher is amongst one of the increasingly large number of lucky souls who has a prius which you can plug in at night. He loved the idea of the plug in Prius so much that he decided to drive his PHEV prius (called the Spirit of DC) around all forty-eight of the mainland US states to highlight the good a plug in vehicle can do to the economy, the environment and the security of the USA. (Of course, it also helps in the UK, but we’re a bit behind and only have a few dozen PHEV prius in the whole country, of which two – mine is one – are DIY converted.)

Spirit of DC and Gerry. Off to another exciting place!
Spirit of DC and Jerry. Off to another exciting place!

Photo by M.Berkley

Press release and exciting news after the jump

When did you last fill up?

As my regular readers will know, I’m currently visiting family on the East Coast of the USA. While I’ve been here I’ve been noticing the differences between the UK and USA cultures from things as diverse as eating out and shopping to travel and environmental issues.

Now, before I go any further I feel duty-bound to put a mini-disclaimer here. I know the USA is a gargantuan country, encompassing many different communities and lifestyles. But I feel that the generalization I’m about to make holds good enough for most of the country that I won’t feel bad making it. Not only that, but the generalisation I’m about to make holds true for my home country and most of Europe just as much as it is true for North America.

The car is king.

America, like most of the western world, is in love with gas.
America, like most of the western world, is in love with gas.

Photo by Nikki Bloomfield

More after the jump

Drive Smarter to get a Smarter Car (Part II)

If you stopped by yesterday you’ll have seen part one in my two part article on how to save money (and drive more efficiently) in your current car. Regardless of what that is, be it a big SUV, a hybrid or an electric city car, being smart about how you drive can help make your pennies go that little bit further. And if you don’t already own a fuel efficient car due to their higher sticker prices then following these tips will help you get that new ultra-efficient model that everyone is raving about a bit sooner.

Carpooling to work is a great way to make new friends, beat the traffic  and save money!
Carpooling to work is a great way to make new friends, beat the traffic and save money!

Photograph by Frank Farm, of

In part one I concentrated on the ways in which you can make sure that every trip you make is as efficient as possible by reading the road ahead, planning your journeys, keeping your car in top shape and making sure you don’t carry unnecessary weight. In part two I’m going to examine the ways in which you can change the way you make your trips. And no, I’m not going to ask you to sell your car.

More top tips for fuel efficient driving after the jump!

Drive Smarter to get a Smarter Car

So you want an EV but you’re put off by the stupidly expensive price tag. You’re caught in a lease or finance plan with your current car and don’t have the money to get out. But you really want that new plug in. Or perhaps you’re one of the tens of thousands who have signed up for the Volt, the iMiev or maybe even one of those Smart EDs. Point is, although those vehicles aren’t available to the general public yet it’s a good time to save some cash up so you can afford to buy that greener, cleaner car sooner.

Car made from Money!
Car made from Money!

Photo by Michael Tyas

It’s probably easy for me to say. After all, I have been driving electric vehicles and hybrids now for nearly one-third of my driving life. But stick with me, because some of the techniques I use to maximize my range (and thus minimize the amount of money I spend on travel) come from my days driving classic cars and cycling.

So, even if you don’t have an electric or PHEV, you can use smart driving to help save money now. Not only that, but these techniques are essential following when for when you do have that smarter EV or PHEV. No matter what your fuel type, these will help you greatly. Below is part one of my two part guide to driving smarter to get a smarter car.

Tips and tricks after the jump!