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I submit that the changes from the 2001 to the 2004 Prius were on a par with the changes in any new car model. The people who called themselves "pioneers" did so to tout their willingness to "take a chance" on the hybrid concept, which had already been on U.S. roads since 2001 and Japanese roads since 1997, from a car company with an impeccable reputation for quality. Buyers of the 2004 Prius (including me) were not pioneers or early adopters in any rational sense of the word. Most of the changes were due to the liftback body style, regardless of how many pages of new stuff. The drive train is what those 2004 and 2005 Prius buyers were talking about, and that was tried and tested technology by the time of the 2004 Prius.
The people who paid substantial fees to get on the Tesla list before the Roadster even went into production, were indeed early adopters. And I'd extend that honorific to anyone who bought it in the first year or so, before reliability was well established.
I consider myself an EV early adopter for buying the Zap Xebra and driving it as my daily car for 4 years. I was a very late adopter of the Roadster, being one of the last buyers.
---First off, my apologies for bringing this up after a month....which I fully understand is a long time in the internet world but the bottom of another thread suggested it and this is a great thread with many valid points worth keeping alive----
I have long felt that if Tucker were given a better chance the auto world would have looked much different. Far too often the revolutionary ideas are not appreciated in their time.
One thing that may or may not be a slight debate modifier is the general fact that people are scared of orange cased cables commonly found in many HEVs and the Leaf. There are not many technicians willing to go beyond the usual maintenance items. In Tucker and even DeLoreans' time the running gear and repairs were similar to something else on the road. There is usually a short transition experienced but a technician can typically make a brand switch with relative ease, and successfully repair almost anything with an ICE. Tesla vehicles are not going to be looked at like that. Battery degradation monitoring and cell servicing are not really going to be items that anyone would really find much of a market in at least right now.
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