Prius Watt’s the story?
With the motoring world seemingly moving towards alternative propulsion like hybrid, plug-in and electric drivetrains, I thought it was maybe time for a mindshift in my own motoring buying ways.
I’ve been looking at various smaller hybrid options, some listed in your Buying Used Guide in the October issue. I’m a Toyota fan, and the Prius has been around the longest of the lot, so it’s clearly a well-proven package.
It was interesting to note the depreciation in value of pre-owned Prius models... it must be the only Toyota to suffer from this! But then I realised an important factor that may have an influence on that value: the limited life of the battery pack. Surely this must cost a fortune to replace? And that’s why older Prius cars go for a song? Herman Mantor, Johannesburg You raise a valid point Herman. With Jaguar Land Rover SA investing R30 million in establishing a new electric charging network in SA, it seems the mainstream arrival of the alternative propulsion vehicle is not as far off as we may think. But back to the Prius.
The latest Prius model’s batteries have a standard warranty of eight years/195 000km. After that mark is exceeded the batteries may, of course, still last a long time, especially if the owner has looked after the vehicle with all due care.
If you do need to replace the battery though, a new pack will set you back around R27 000 (and you get an eight-year/195 000km warranty). This is not cheap (and excludes fitment costs) but it is also not the price of a new car.
Alternatively, there are local companies that offer a repair and recondition service for these batteries, at less than R10 000. It also includes a one-year/60 000km warranty – Ed.
WRONG SIDE OF THE LAW
In the August issue we featured a letter from a reader, saying that we were in the wrong for publishing the story of the Aircooled VW SA club scaling Sani Pass in 2WD vehicles (normally only 4WDs are permitted), even though the club members secured permission from local authorities first.
More readers have responded to the epic drive; one for the effort, and one against it. Here’s what they had to say:
I just read the winning letter Breaking The Law in your September edition of Leisure Wheels. All I can say is, “Ag pleeez!” My wife and I recently were in KZN near the Sani Pass and thought we would attempt to drive the pass! We were in our Amarok 4×4 but, when we got to the SA border post, were very disappointed to be told that we required our passports to do the pass even though we only wanted to drive to the top without going into Lesotho.
We turned around and started descending the road back down from the border and were surprised to meet a Lesotho-registered Quantum minibus full of locals from Lesotho on their way up the pass, presumably going home after a shopping trip to SA.
They were driving a 4×2 and were loaded to the gills.
And there were all the tour vehicles with their occupants in their safari gear doing the pass in their special off-road 4×4s.
On our return to Underberg we visited one of the local tour operators’ offices and during our chat, asked how it was possible that the Quantum minibus was allowed to go up the pass to Lesotho.
We were told that the Lesotho authorities at the top border post allowed the local taxis through to do their shopping in Underberg and the South African police post could do nothing about it as it is the only route into SA without them doing a long detour to get into SA.
If a 4×2 Quantum bus can descend the pass and then return to Lesotho fully loaded with passengers and their purchases then ‘so what’ if a 4×2 Volksie does the pass? So my comment is, “Ag pleeez!”
Thank you for a great mag. Les Palmer, Johannesburg Thanks for your letter Les. However, we suspect that some (but probably not all) of those Quantum taxis are 4×4s. Lesotho legislation allows for the importation of pre-owned vehicles, and especially from Japan.
We found a nine-seater Toyota Quantum 3.0D-4D 4WD van with 116 000km on the clock for just $13 000 (or around R195 000) on the interweb... sadly, these vehicles cannot be legally registered in SA – Ed.
They broke The lAw! buT…
The writer of the winning letter is absolutely right and a public road is not the place for this.
On a technical note and as an owner of a 1990 VW, I would like to point out these vintage Volkswagens had an incredible off-road ability, despite being a 4×2.
It lies in the fact of the engine/gearbox weight being on the rear wheels, a reasonable ground clearance and being relatively light. For this reason, neither the Mini Club nor a modern 4×2 bakkie with diff lock may be as successful, conquering the pass.
The father of a friend of mine, who grew up in southern Namibia related the story of a government contract to lay a pipeline through a section of dunes and desert.
His workhorse was a watercooled VW Kombi with the pipes on the roof rack and motoring through dunes with a worker stationed on the roof rack, throwing off the pipes as they went along.
But I do agree with the writer of the winning letter about the law. Piet Coetsee, via email