The life story of the first SCN Prius

It was the year 2002 and Toyota was just beginning its push for more efficient gas-saving cars in the US. SCNs were focusing on saving our earth and protecting our resources. The Car committee wanted to test this new car, the Prius, that was wowing everyone with the promise of 40+ miles to the gallon.

Sr. Betty Blandford was in need of a car and was driving 40-50 miles a day for work. Being on the Car committee, she volunteered to drive the Prius and give feedback on its performance and promises. With Sr. Julia Claire, chair of Car Committee, they research all the Toyota dealers concerning the new Prius cars. It was the end of the car year and time for change of makes, so we settled on a 2002 Prius from Toyota on Dixie Hwy.

More promises: oil change for first 100,000 miles; warranty for 100,000 miles.

Betty got a new tiny notebook to keep in the car for updates on the car and gas/mile averages. She gave updates to the car committee regularly. Thus began the life of the “little Prius that could. And, the answer to everyone, asking “do you have to plug it in?” Was NO!

The color of the car was green. This was our ecological sign. And it was our attempt at Laudate Si before Francis even became Pope!

After the first year all promises seemed to hold true.

Betty offered the car to Sisters Susan Thomas and Phyllis Hannon for the long trip to Massachusetts for Phyllis’s home vacation. The “promise” from Toyota was the car could get 50 miles to the gallon on the open road (most cars were getting no more than 27). In gratitude the two sisters put a Harley Davisson’s steering wheel cover on it. This brought many laughs in the future. The trip was successful and the car did get 50 m/g.

The “little Prius that could” kept up its success story for several more years. More Prius cars were purchased for the Nazareth fleet.

Tragedy happened at 80,000 miles!

The entire battery system went out on the car. This was the main component of the car and why it had done so well. True to their promise, Toyota replaced the whole system at no cost!

This endeared the car even more and at 180,000 miles everything was still working except the air conditioning. Talk got serious about trading it in. After 15 years and wonderful service and an impending $1000 cost to fix the air, it was decided by the car committee to trade it in.

The decision was sad but “the little Prius that could” had done what it was supposed to do and all that was promised.

Betty Blandford, SCN


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