At Seattle's City Hall officials are going into a frenzy over the soon-to-be-released Toyota Prius Sedan.  The gas and battery powered cars aren't available until May, after an Earth Day roll out in New York, but some buyers can hardly wait.

On the City Council, Heidi Willis is on the waiting list for a Prius. Margaret Pageler wants to lease one, and Richard Conlin is eyeing Honda's gasoline electric Insight, a model that's already on the road and still causing a lot of buzz.  Seattle Mayor Paul Schell thinks the Prius is great, but he's sticking with his limo for now.  However, he wants them for the city fleet and he's trying to borrow 15 for a mayors' conference in Seattle in June (after Toyota displayed a Prius at Seattle Center on Earth Day). "It's made for urban driving if
you don't' use the freeway, you don't use fuel," said Willis, who
heads the council energy and environmental committee.

Interest in the Prius is not just limited to Seattle, in Portland and the state of Oregon officials are ordering Priuses and governments in Washington and King Counties are interested, while Spokane may try them out for parking meter checkers, and Olympia will test one soon.  State fleet buyer Bill Griffin may buy ten Priuses, if state agencies are interested.  The Parks and Recreation Commission has already expressed an in using the cars for maintenance.

Seattle fleet engineer Matt Rathke will buy two or three to start.  If they work well, he'll by 20 a year, he says.  "The only drawback is the cost differential, initially, but the mayor has made a commitment that we should be looking at these emerging technologies, so we can say we're doing something for the environment," Rathke said. Priuses could be used by agencies that make a lot of short trips and for police investigators.  Kim Drury, Seattle's city environmental program manager, is ready to trade in her 1996 Toyota Corolla for a Prius.  "I really would like to," she said. " I think they're just so cool."

Electric Vehicle Association of the Americas
EV Update
APR. 14 2000