When I was invited by Toyota to take part in their #50kmRoadTrip in Girona, northern Spain, I was initially surprised. I don’t write about cars! But I do write about sustainability, in particular, sustainable travel and tourism, and when I found out more about the weekend I knew it was right up my street.
Emission Free 50 km Road Trip
The aim of the weekend was to show, via Instagram, just how many places you could see and explore on a 50 km road trip, as with their soon-to-be-launched Prius Plug-in Hybrid you can drive 50 km using the battery alone, thereby producing zero CO2 emissions.
Now, I’m a big wuss when it comes to driving abroad so I turned to my trusty companion from last year’s Canada road trip and asked my friend Sara to join me. She did most of the driving, but of course, I had a go too. Thank you to Sara for your encouragement!
Our hotel was the stunning Mas de Torrent Hotel and Spa in L’Emporda, west of Girona. It is a wonderful region of Spain with numerous medieval villages and pretty seaside towns. We plotted a route that would take us to some very photogenic places which turned out to be just over 50 km round trip.
above: First stop was the medieval village of Peratallada, complete with cobbled alleyways, picturesque arches, and narrow streets.
below: The medieval village, Pals, was just a short drive away from Peratallada and just as charming.
above: The hilltop town of Begur in Cataluna
below: And the pretty seaside town of Calella de Palafrugell made me long to return when the weather and the sea were a little warmer.
above: The Jardins de Cap Roig was a lovely place to wander around, even in February.
All this, without producing any CO2 emissions!
At least it would have been if we hadn’t got lost a couple of times, so I’m afraid we did have to use the petrol engine for a little way.
Prius Plug-in Hybrid Instagram Campaign
Click on the place markers to see the Instagrams.
Mas de Torrent
Calella de Palafrugell
What I loved about the Prius Plug-in Hybrid
While I expected to like the car for its sustainable credentials, I didn’t expect to fall so completely head over heels in love with it – but I did. And here’s why…
- She was beautiful and stylish, inside and out.
- She was extremely comfortable.
- While in eco mode, she automatically changed between the petrol engine and the battery, to be as eco friendly as possible, changing to the petrol engine at higher speeds.
- The dashboard was amazing. A camera at the front of the car recognises speed limit signs as you pass them and shows you what they are, next to your actual speed. It also turns red when you go over the limit, but is discreet enough not to be distracting. A simple diagram next to this shows you what type of energy you are using, be that the petrol engine or the battery. As you brake, you can see the battery charging up. There’s also a built in sat nav which was a doddle to use. And if you get too close to anything, as well as beeping, it shows you which part of the car is too close on a little diagram, turning first orange then red as you get closer. Very handy when squeezing through tight alleyways in pretty villages.
- The rear facing camera. It’s a huge help when reversing and parking and comes up automatically on the dashboard when you put the car into reverse.
- The obstacle detector/ automatic braking. Yes, that’s right, if a pedestrian steps in front of the car, and you don’t react in time, the car will automatically brake. While there is no guarantee that you will not actually hit the person or obstacle, the impact will at least be minimised. Thankfully we didn’t test this function out!
- The solar power. While not a standard feature, you can opt to have solar panels on the roof. While these don’t generate a huge amount of energy, over a year it certainly adds up and makes the car even greener. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid is the first production car to have solar power.
- It is so very easy to drive. Much like my automatic, you simply put her in drive and away you go.
What I didn’t like about the Prius Plug-in Hybrid
- When accelerating using the petrol engine, it sounded as if you were revving it too hard which was very off-putting, although I’m sure you’d soon get used to it.
That is honestly the only negative thing I can think of to say.
And in conclusion…
The Prius Plug-in Hybrid is a beautiful car, in the way it looks, in the way it drives, and in its sustainability. I really hope we’ll all be driving them before too long. We are currently losing the fight to save the planet and more eco-friendly cars are a big step in the right direction.
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