[Computational Complexity] My New Hybrid
- My younger daughter was deeply moved by An Inconvenient Truth and has become a staunch environmentalist ever since. She pushed me to change our lightbulbs as well as get a hybrid car as my next car. I usually don't let my kids influence our major purchase decisions but it's hard to argue with them when they're right.
So I got a Toyota Camry Hybrid about two weeks ago. When I ordered the car back in September I calculated I would make up the extra cost in about four years, but that was back when gas was $4/gallon and before Toyota slashed prices on their non-hybrid Camrys. I was told I had a 4-6 month wait but I picked up one sooner that someone else backed off of, probably because of the economy.
I certainly get good gas mileage—I've driven 250 miles and still have half of my original tank. But I do notice several features that simply exist to make me feel good about getting a hybrid. Most cars have tank sizes so the car goes about 300 miles on a tank. They kept the large tank size in this car so I can better feel the gas mileage. There is an MPG dial next to the speedometer, a fancy display showing arrows as energy gets transferred between the gas tank, engine and batteries and when I turn the car off it gives me an "Excellent" when I had good gas mileage. I wonder what I do wrong when I don't get the Excellent.
The neatest feature has nothing to do with being a hybrid. I never have to take the keys out of my pocket instead the car just senses them. The doors and the trunk just automatically unlock when I open them and I just press a key to start the car. All keys should work this way.
What's missing in cars these days is active Internet connectivity. I can easily think of many uses: Updates to maps, traffic, weather, local information, music streaming and VOIP. I'm sure there are many more possibilities people will come up with once a system is in place.
Oddly enough this will probably be my last hybrid, my next car will run solely on batteries or some other technology. That's life in the fast lane.
Posted By Lance to Computational Complexity at 11/13/2008 06:13:00 AM