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Hybrid Ride to the Dead

Hybrid 001 (145K)

By Steve Jones

Ninety miles up the road in Greensboro tonight awaits the opener of the Dead's Tour. A beautiful Easter day that will bring my daughters' first Dead show. Adding to the good karma is we are driving there in a 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid.

My friend Britt Harris, owner of Critical Power Services (CPS), purchased the hybrid last October. He pulls the metallic blue mobile into the drive and the kids and I take a first look.

It is a good looking car. Nice sight lines, large trunk, killer satellite radio/stereo, and plenty of comfort. We all pile in and head for I-85 North and soon the hybrid is zipping us down the road.

The initial noticeable thing is how quiet the car rides. The engine isn't always cranking so noise is minimal. The quiet pleasantly adds to the sound quality of the Dead channel as we head up I-85.

The hybrid Camry has a mileage consumption monitor that lets you see how many m.p.g. are being attained per minute. This allows the driver to vary their driving habits to improve mileage. There is also a simpler m.p.g. gauge to reference next to the speedometer. According to Britt, the average overall mileage (city and highway) is 35 m.p.g.

The really cool in dash device is the Energy monitor. A hybrid gets its power from two sources; the combustion (gas) engine and an electric motor/generator. The car can run on the electric motor which is powered by a battery. The battery is charged by the turning of the wheels, as in coasting or slowing down, and that feeds the generator. When the power is not sufficient, the motor shifts to the combustion engine. The Energy monitor allows the driver to see where the vehicle's power is coming from.

Before you can say "Jack Straw", Greensboro is upon us. The Sun is shining through a clear blue sky as we arrive at the Coliseum parking lot. Parking in the last row, we hop out to stretch our legs. Folks of all ages, blissfully wander the lot, taking in the scene. Vendors of all sorts peddle their wares as various pungent aromas waft through the air. Smiles are all around. It's great to be back amongst the Deadhead Family. This pleasant feeling is enhanced knowing that the show will be soon and that we had travelled here in an environmentally friendly manner.

Hanging in the lot before the Show
Hybrid 002 (379K)