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Old 11-02-2014, 04:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Gen 1 Prius, worth it?

Long story short, my government doesn't like my recently restored, extremely cheap to run 90's diesel econobox, I might need a new car somewhere next year.

The sensible idea would be to get a small car on LPG, but I always wanted an electic car.
The government won't let me do a forkenswift style conversion (motor + controller have to be EMC/EMI tested/certified, no flooded batteries, etc..) so that plan died in 2010 when they changed the rules.

So my recent random idea was to buy a first gen Prius, since they've come down to what I could afford, do a plug-in conversion, and perhaps get rid of the petrol engine entirely so it becomes an EV, and get the car tax-exempt.

However, I wonder how practical a 1st gen Prius really is..
- It can't legally tow anything, (Toyota said "warranty void if you tow", government took that as "towing anything is dangerous")
- The boot lid is tiny so bringing large items (like a washing machine or fridge, which I did in my tiny hatchback) inside the car is not an option either.
- The drive train is really expensive if it breaks, and its apparently somewhat fragile. (looking at pictures of burned out motor windings) It might already be damaged when I buy it with 135k to 175k miles on it, if they reset the computer a fault might only show up after I buy it. A used replacement "gearbox" is as much as 2/3 of the value of the car.
- Its a heavy car compared to my hatchback, I assume most of the weight difference is in soundproofing and luxury/safety features, is it worth the higher price in tax and insurance?

On the other hand, its a piece of automotive history, and quite possibly a future classic..

So yeah, any NHW11 Prius owners out there, is it worth it? How practical is it?

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Old 11-02-2014, 04:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Why doesn't the government like your diesel car?
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Old 11-02-2014, 04:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Get a Lupo or an A2.

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Old 11-02-2014, 04:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Sounds like its time to find a new government
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Old 11-02-2014, 04:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The government thinks diesel cars are responsible for high levels of particulate emissions inside cities, and 1 city went as far as wanting to ban all diesel cars before 2001.
The law will be altered in 2015 to allow this to happen, also in a lot of other cities, unless they choose not to.

'They' expect 30% reduction in particulate matter in the air, but we all know thats not gonna happen if *all* diesel cars combined are only the source of a few % of the total particulate matter. Big polluters are (badly used) wood stoves, industry, trucks, and somewhere at the bottom of the list all cars (brakes/tires) and diesel cars.

For now, I'm just waiting to see what'll happen, because they're getting sued left and right, mostly because they can't just pick a date and ban cars before that while identical but newer cars can get in, thats unfair.
Regardless, my car couldn't get in even if they switched to a more fair system like in Germany. (Where they allow/ban cars by their Euro 1/2/3/4/etc.. emissions rating.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Mechanic View Post
Get a Lupo or an A2.
I'm assuming you mean the 3L or TDI?
Also, most of them for sale are from before 2001, so useless to me.
I was going to go for a 306 or something on LPG, similar/lower cost while driving a bigger car.

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Originally Posted by ksa8907 View Post
Sounds like its time to find a new government
yeah, I wish.. I would move to another country but I don't know which one.
Voting doesn't work either, because they always do things that are completely opposite to what they promised in their election campaign, and the general trend seems to be limiting individual freedoms and raising taxes.
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Old 11-02-2014, 04:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I tow w/my prius, motorcycles, furniture, etc, on a small 4x8 utility trailer. Just go easy, it isn't going to apply more torque to the driveline than it is capable of.
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks, but I mean, I'm literally not allowed to tow anything by law with a Prius, because the vehicle papers say 0 kg trailer weight.
If I tow anything, and the cops spot it, they could pull me over, force me to unhook the trailer right then and there, (and pay to have it towed away if its on the side of the freeway), and write a big fine.
If I got in an accident, I would not be insured, even if the other party was at fault, they'd make me pay for the whole thing, etc.. So even if I could, I probably wouldn't..

One option that I did see recently, they're testing a new procedure for changing (raising) the tow weight on vehicles, they load the car up to full specified load, then hook on the desired trailer weight, then do 5 consecutive hill starts and 5 downhill stops/handbrake holds to see if nothing fails. Sounds a bit hard on the gearbox though, unless I specify a really low tow weight.

I guess I could rent a van if I needed to move something big though, so its not so much of a big deal..

Anyway, the question is, is owning a gen1 prius worth it, even with its flaws and not being the most practical car.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The Prius, especially in Gen1 form is a hybrid, it's electric motor was originally designed for maybe a 20% duty cycle. If you try going down the full EV route you can be quite certain that the OEM motor won't last.

I'd suggest keeping your diesel for out of town trips, and building a DIY EV (if you want to haul fridges maybe a Citroen Berlingo). If it's only used around town you can start with just a small/ cheap LiFe battery and extend it when you can. If you start with a gen 1, you'll need to swap out the motor/ controller and batteries anyway, you may as well start with whatever car you want (and getting one with ICE/ trans problems will be cheaper).

Another option would be to swap your diesel engine to a later Euro X standard.
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Old 11-03-2014, 06:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtamiyaphile View Post
The Prius, especially in Gen1 form is a hybrid, it's electric motor was originally designed for maybe a 20% duty cycle. If you try going down the full EV route you can be quite certain that the OEM motor won't last.
Ah.. well, thats pretty much that then, if it wont hold up to me driving it as an EV, its no use to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtamiyaphile View Post
I'd suggest keeping your diesel for out of town trips, and building a DIY EV (if you want to haul fridges maybe a Citroen Berlingo).
Something I considered, an EV currently doesn't get road-taxed, so owning two cars like that would be an option.

A berlingo won't be needed, but I might get a wagon instead of a small hatchback type car, the margin on battery weight and such is a little higher..

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtamiyaphile View Post
If it's only used around town you can start with just a small/ cheap LiFe battery and extend it when you can.
The big problem with that is the engine swap tech inspection. I'd need a certified motor + controller which is far too expensive, the only workaround is using a motor/controller from an existing road-approved vehicle, for example a crashed EV or hybrid. Perhaps one of those rear drive units off of a "4x4" hybrid?

I might get away with a lot if I copied the exact serial plate off of something else onto the parts I want to use. :P because factory EV's exist with forklift style series wound motors. Then I only have to fake an invoice for the parts being from a scrapped EV in a faraway country. Unless I can actually find one being scrapped..

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtamiyaphile View Post
If you start with a gen 1, you'll need to swap out the motor/ controller and batteries anyway, you may as well start with whatever car you want (and getting one with ICE/ trans problems will be cheaper).
Makes sense, the only advantage of a Prius would be that it already comes with all the approved bits, after I get it inspected as an EV, I could do whatever and nobody would care. But yes, its an expensive and not very practical way of going about it, so maybe I just need to find a Toyota MGR or the type plates of off an older EV with a series wound DC motor, and stuff it into whatever I like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtamiyaphile View Post
Another option would be to swap your diesel engine to a later Euro X standard.
Yeah, it doesn't work like that, the Euro type on the papers stay, even if I swap in some 2014-made engine.. (The other way around though, I get to remove all the emissions crap *if* I put in a 2014 style engine)
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Old 11-03-2014, 07:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtamiyaphile View Post
The Prius, especially in Gen1 form is a hybrid, it's electric motor was originally designed for maybe a 20% duty cycle. If you try going down the full EV route you can be quite certain that the OEM motor won't last.

I don't know what that would possibly be based on. it has two motor/generators and they are pretty much always either motoring or generating or both. With the power split driveline you are always using electrical power, car won't move on the ICE alone.

get a new country sounds like the right answer

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