Province Commuter Challenge: Mission to North Van

Mike Teigen is what you might call an Ironman commuter.

“I drive from Mission to North Vancouver everyday, so about 750 kilometres a week to get to and from work,” the Capilano University web development manager reported.

Needless to say, he’s an ideal candidate for the launch of the Province Commuter Challenge.

The 36-year-old does his work commute in a 2000 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, noting he bought the 1.9-litre diesel-powered vehicle over a conventional gas-engine car primarily to save money

His first impression of the Prius C, however, concerns the ergonomics, which, when you think about it, is a major factor in a commuter car.

“This thing looks small on the outside but it’s pretty big in here,” Teigen observed as he first settled into the
driver’s seat. “There’s a good spot for my coffee; that’s important. “It feels good and it’s comfortable. This should be fun.”

So off Teigen went, and after a week of commuting he returned the car and offered his critique.

“I’m pretty impressed with it. It’s been comfortable and I like how quiet it is.”

As a tech-savvy guy, he also liked the digital readout that tracks all aspects of the hybrid powertrain system and provides real-time feedback on fuel usage.

“My favourite part is the eco-saving because I can actually see the dollar amount,” said the father of four, with one on the way, joking, “So I’m going to be able to start charging my kids when I drive them places.”

He also liked the graphic that displays which power supply is in use at any given time. “It’s kind of cool. It’s kind of a game you can play while you’re driving to save money.”

Doing his own calculations, Teigen figured he went through about nine dollars a day in fuel in the Prius C on his commute, and “with my diesel I’m probably spending almost double that.”

* Cost (diesel @ $1.40/L) ** Cost (regular @ $1.30/L)

* Cost (diesel @ $1.40/L) ** Cost (regular @ $1.30/L)

And where his Jetta has a fair amount of cabin noise, he found the Prius C to be blissfully quiet.

“I really like when you stop, how everything goes silent,” he noted of the idle shut-off feature. “I just like knowing I’m not wasting fuel.”

He was surprised by its performance too, calling it ‘punchy.’

“There are a lot of hills in Mission and I’m just able to dart up them.”

Admitting he had some preconceptions of what a hybrid was going into the commuter challenge, he’s come out a bit of a convert.

“(Hybrid) is sort of just a buzzword, but when you actually see it working — the battery doing its thing and then the engine kicking in — it actually does work the way it is sold.”

And in addition to the fuel savings, Teigen was excited about the fact he’d reduced his typical weekly carbon footprint.

“I polluted less this week!” he exclaimed.
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About Andrew McCredie