Category Archives: cars

A Piece of the Puzzle

I received a package yesterday from the good folks over at Toyota Prius Projects. After loving their initiatives at the Prius 10th Anniversary Party,  I nearly couldn’t stand the suspense as I cracked open the (well secured) box.

Inside I discovered a USB drive, silver car detail and most importantly, a puzzle piece of an image –  the third official image of the new Prius.

Pieces were distributed to 50 folks with instructions to post the piece to their social networks and blogs. An online scavenger hunt of sorts, folks are encouraged to discover the pieces and collaboratively put them together at Visit the site to follow the progress, learn about other initiatives and more.

See also: Celebrating Innovation – 10 Years of the Toyota Prius

Zero Emission, Little Doubt: Test Drivin’ the Nissan Leaf!

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to test drive the new Nissan LEAF, the 100% electric, zero-emission car.

The Tesla Roadster, also a B.E.V. (battery electric vehicle) and perhaps the first electric car for U.S. consumers, retails for  $109K.  The MSRP of the LEAF starts at $32K – making it the first all-electric ride available to the consumer market.

Outside of taking a test drive, I had the opportunity to learn about the benefits of ownership (HUGE tax credits in CA), and the science and technology behind the car.

Many of you already know that I’m a total freak for Hybrids. Needless to say, I was super-stoked to spend a few hours on Saturday afternoon at Century City to take the LEAF for a spin (and possibly buy new boots at the adjacent outdoor shopping area – I’m not gonna lie!).

The car drives a lot like the Prius. It’s quiet and smooth. The guy let me floor it down Avenue of the Stars, and I noticed that the pickup is considerably faster. The 5 door hatch makes it smaller and less sedan-like, although it’s still considered to be a family car.

The technology is also similar to the Prius. The shift is in the middle and there’s a screen for navigation, entertainment and for monitoring your trip. The map also pinpoints nearby charging stations.  The dash has a matte display – like a Kindle – where you can see your controls.

My favorite design element of the exterior is definitely the sleekness of the tail light.

I like the round shape of the car. It looks practical and accessible for buyers (and check it out- no tailpipe)!

The battery, when fully charged, gives the car a range of 100 miles. While this may induce  range anxiety in some drivers, we learned that most drivers don’t even go more than 100 miles in a typical day.

A free app can help to ascertain how far 100 miles will take you. You can also use an app to turn on A.C. or heat when the car is powered down, keeping it at the perfect temperature before you enter – while saving battery when it’s actually powered on.

The LEAF is available for pre-order now in the U.S. and Japan, with shipping starting soon.

A rollout is planned in 2012 for availability in the global marketplace.

Celebrating Innovation; 10 Years of Prius!!!

Last night, I hit the PCH and headed to Malibu for the Toyota Prius 10th Anniversary party. It was held at the Wright Organic Resource Center, a rustic 24 acre site dedicated to the education and development of issues on ecological design, environmental responsibility, sustainability, and alternative agriculture.

As a die-hard Prius fan – I’ve been driving one since 2006 and recently upgraded from the 2007 model II to the 2010 IV- I was giddy all week and super stoked to attend.

In addition to meeting folks from the Prius camp and hobnobbing with like-minded hybrid car fanatics, the celebration included lifestyle workshops curated by Wired and SHFT, panels on sustainability, live music from M. Ward and Shepard Fairey, and a dinner al fresco.

The talks were inspiring and definitely got my internal gears going. Dinner, courtesy of Outstanding in the Field, was fantastic. I enjoyed learning about the direct farm-to-table approach of cooking. It created further awareness of where our food comes from, encouraging more personal action to buy local produce and make a small difference on the day-to-day level.


All in all, it was a dream evening for a design, tech, music and sustainability geek like me. I met many incredible and forward thinking folks – we toasted with like-minded bloggers, chatted green with local gardeners, sparred tech with folks from Wired, and chatted Prius with members from their team. We also got a glimpse of the plug-in hybrid model (PHV), available in 2012.

Thanks to Filter for an incredible Sunday evening!