Archive for Electric & Hybrid

Toyota Prius

2004 Toyota Prius

2004 Toyota Prius

Back in 2001, when the first generation Prius was introduced as the world’s first 4-door hybrid production vehicle, the buying public hardly noticed nor cared. Crude oil was below $30/barrel, prices at the pump were around $1.50 for a gallon of regular unleaded, and the first Prius looked like a frumpy compact sedan, with styling resembling that of the Toyota Echo, but a desirability of even less due to the much heftier price tag.

How times have changed. » Read more..

Honda Insight

2001 Honda Insight

2001 Honda Insight

The Honda Insight was first introduced in 2000 as the world’s first production hybrid vehicle. Its short, 2-seat fastback profile harkened back to the glory days of Honda’s fun-loving CRX, all while signifying a new era of responsible, eco-friendly vehicles.

The Insight was the first car sold in the U.S. to achieve more than 60 mpg. Indeed, its original EPA fuel economy ratings of 66 mpg on the highway and 61 mpg in the city still are the best of any car. Insight owners report that they have achieved as high as 80 or even 90 mpg with careful modulation of the gas pedal and other advanced techniques. Imagine driving from Sacramento to San Francisco on just one gallon of gas! » Read more..

Ford Escape Hybrid

Ford Escape, first generation (Photo credit: Sharon Richard, Milpitas, CA)

So you are active, have to haul a lot of gear, and/or have an especially large family. Once in a while you even travel off of paved roads (unlike most SUV owners) to, for example, reach the base of a mountain you are going to climb up (in rock climbing shoes), and you actually need the ground clearance of an SUV. Yet, it hurts to think about how much gas money you’d need just to drive from San Francisco to Yosemite in a Toyota Sequoia, which only achieves 16 or 17 mpg on the highway. » Read more..

Corbin Sparrow

2004 Corbin Sparrow

2004 Corbin Sparrow (Photo: Don McGrath, St. Helena, CA)

Think back to the last millenium. The economy was booming, dot-coms were high-flying, and technology was thriving. Startups were frequent, venture capitalism was hot, and the nation was more preoccupied with capitalism than fighting wars overseas. Risks were taken to finance some of the wackiest ideas.

It was this sort of environment in which the Corbin Sparrow was born. » Read more..