Science Sells: Toyota Teaches Physics in New Web Campaign
Posted on: August 16, 2012
by Zach McDonald – HybridCars.com
Last year, a study by AutoPacific found that about 70 percent of Prius drivers have a college education, which probably comes as little surprise to anyone who’s ever listened to a hybrid owner proudly describe the inner workings of his car’s regenerative braking system. Indeed, at least in its early years, the Prius came to develop a bit of a reputation as a “geek-mobile,” which is what GM Chairman Dan Akerson derided it as several years ago. (Perhaps the Prius line’s recent climb to the become world’s third best-selling platform serves to confirm that “the geeks shall inherit the earth.”)
For its part, Toyota is more than happy to sit at the nerd table. The company has already featured famous eco-geek Bill Nye in internet advertising supporting the releasing of the Prius c, and sponsors the sustainable technology section of the “How Stuff Works” website. Recently, the carmaker released a series of promos posted on “How Stuff Works” featuring the host of a Discovery Channel show of the same name, which was inspired by the site.
Over the course of five relatively short videos, host Ben Bowlin uses the Prius v wagon to illustrate simple physical concepts like mass and the four states of matter. The spots are light-hearted and probably best suited for younger Prius fans, with Bowlin exploring such scientifically dubious questions as “how many plasma screen televisions can fit into the Prius v’s cargo area?”
For those interested in a little more substance, “How Stuff Works” does have articles explaining the mechanics behind the Prius, the relationship between horsepower and fuel economy, and hybrid vehicle design.
The Prius v’s expanded cargo area makes it an ideal fit for many families who held out on buying the Prius liftback because it didn’t meet their storage needs. Though these “How Stuff Works” video science lessons are unlikely to teach potential Prius v owners much they didn’t already know, maybe they’ll help to get the kids a little more excited for a hybrid-powered trip to grandma’s.