If you are to believe some of the media spin that gets spun, you would be thinking that cars are evil and the root of all of our collective problems here on Earth as the planet undergoes some quite significant changes.
The simple fact of the matter is though that we all need cars, more so now than ever before. We lead very busy lives and rely heavily on our cars to get it all done, and get it done without any fuss or bother.
The question is can we all do better?
We think that we collectively can. That is why we have set up the Prius Challenge.
The Prius Challenge asks you a simple question - can you break free from your old habits?
We have created the Prius Challenge as an inspirational event - a chance to really think about how you drive, and the impact of your driving style on the amount of fuel you use. If you care anything for greenhouse gases, CO2 emissions, peak oil or exponential fuel consumption due to the "riching" of China, then you need to start thinking, and seriously, about how you get about.
In the 1970's we all experienced a taste of what potentially lies ahead in our future.
The Oil Crisis of the day meant that we all as a country had to go without. Remember carless days? It is hard to imagine that kind of policy being successfully implemented today, but the reality is that the future is perhaps one where a dependency on fossil fuels, and oil based ones in particular, is seemingly quite numbered.
The development of automotive hybrid systems is the blending of the best of both worlds. You can get the power, performance and familiarity of a petrol based system, and the fuel efficiency and low emissions of an electric one.
Most of the big auto giants are well into hybrid car development programmes. Toyota, with the Prius famil,y is perhaps the most well known, established and trusted of all of the hybrid brands. The technology they have developed is class leading, that is why we have chosen the all new 2012 Toyota Prius C for this experiment.
The Prius C, and the Prius Challenge, offers all those that drive it the chance to change.
This remarkable car can coach you if you let it. It is not hard nor is it daunting. The car is full of technology, but in this iPhone / iPad / toddlers-on-laptops kind of world it is all very simple and easy to use.
The Prius C has a couple of different graph / info display modes that let you know exactly how you are driving at a quick glance whilst you are driving. You can easily see the impact of slight adjustments to your driving style. A little lighter on the pedal whilst accelerating makes the world of difference to your fuel consumption. But how much is too much? This car gives you a easy to see graph, like a graphic equaliser on a stereo, so that you know where the car is at with energy use. Ease off on your heavy foot and you can even see the money you save on your journey adding up compared to any other car you wish to compare to. All of this technology is there at your fingertips and you can use it to refine your driving style to get maximum fuel savings, or you can ignore it and just drive normally and still get class leading fuel efficiency. Either way, having a hybrid car like the Prius C in your garage is certainly becoming more of a reality.
In Europe it is becoming an increasingly requested feature, and high one the list of requirements for new car buyers. Toyota are listening and expanding production and technology to include hybrid options across a wide selection of their range, with Hybrid Yaris, Corolla, and Camry's now available overseas.
We hope this article has got you inspired to think about how you drive.
The next easiest thing is to come and visit us at Bowater Toyota in Nelson during the rest of May, and at Bowater Toyota in Motueka during June, to take the Prius Challenge and see just how green your driving really is.
Please take a look at some of the other articles and videos about the Prius Challenge in the menu to the left. Get inspired. Be proactive. Be the knowledgeable one in your circle of friends about an issue we are all going to have to discuss sooner rather than later.
Peak oil - the continuing debate.
Peak Oil is a very topical subject. There are a lot of videos on youtube all discussing this - much of them are pushing one agenda or another. As with anything on the internet it is all a matter of perspective.
This video is off specialist Will Martin, who gave this lecture on April 19th, 2012 to the students of Professor Bill Schulze's Sustainable Business class in Cornell University's school of Applied Economics and Management.
The lecture covers peak oil, the economics behind peak oil, the current state of our energy markets, the substitution to unconventional oil that is taking place and the future of "peak everything". If you want to properly understand a very controversial subject it always pays to go back to school and gain the insights that are being taught to the next generation of business leaders. It may still be skewed, but at least it is well researched! The video is almost an hour long.
Hope this helps.
If you wish to research into this lecture further here is his Slide Deck: http://www.slideshare.net/WJMartin/peak-oil-peak-everything-lecture-at-cornell which features all of the slides in the video.
You can also check out his website: http://www.peakoilproof.com/