Naked Prius exhibit

AltWheels 2005, Larz Anderson Auto Museum

A stock '04 Prius, with many of the covers and panels removed to show all the wires and workings that most people never see, coupled with two days of discussion and making lots of info available. Each image shown here is a link to the fullsize version.

What was exposed for better viewing varied from parts as large as the casings for the hybrid driveline [normally hidden behind various air-flow dams] to details as small as the RF receiver for the key-fob remote. And many things in between.

[It was while poking around under here that I discovered the problem with the starter-motor blockoff plate cutting into one of the critical electrical harnesses. Most '04+ Priuses apparently have this issue.]

Most of this stuff simply snaps away, with relatively few bolts and screws involved.

But it is still prudent to remember which fasteners go with which parts!

The panels and parts that came out of the car eventually made a fairly impressive pile in the basement, where they remained for the weekend.

Meanwhile, a clear cover substituted for the normal aluminum inverter cover so people could see what's in there but not touch the Holy Bus Bars...

and the front cowling piece was reassembled [sans plastic garnish] so it could be quickly unbolted as a single unit on-site. And just as quickly bolted back in if it rained, since it's also the gutter for water off the windshield. Fortunately, the promised rainy Saturday from Ophelia did not materialize -- dark and threatening and idiotically humid most of the day, but the actual rain held off which was absolutely fabulous.

At the show, the wiper assembly doubled as a convenient way to display the sign. Prominently using words such as "naked" and "free" and "sex" and "beer" are a sure way to catch eyeballs, right?.

But in this crowd, so is having many scary parts hanging out, and the whole front of the car festooned with paper containing geeky information and cutaway pictures. And I was sandwiched in right next to the Toyota tent...

In the back, I had lots of techie handouts available as well as the battery box exposed with another clear cover over the relay area. [And a small essay about finding a productive job in energy-related industry, but that apparently was too subtle]

And of course most of the dash ripped apart, showing not only the gauge cluster and prototyping area but one could also peek underneath to see some of the connection taps into the ECUs. I also had plenty of in-depth resources on hand such as the Techinfo service manual on the laptop, and fun theoretical references such as "Art of Electronics" and "Electric Machinery".

And it was *hoppin'* for two days straight. I spent the entire time ranting Prius innards to people, answering questions, giving workshops on hints for better mileage, handing out paper, trying to not stumble all over myself while on camera, and telling countless people "no, this one doesn't have extra battery packs" to answer what had to be the number one question of the weekend.

The simple widget to explain torque balance in the driveline, as stupid as it looks, was actually quite handy.

At the end of the show came the BIG surprise. I knew something was up when the announcement called my vehicle up to the top of the hill and I had to scramble around and get it off the ramps and moved up near a few others at the awards table. They called me at the very end, because evidently the Naked Prius had taken the "peoples' choice" Best In Show, by a fairly large margin!

The day after I returned from the show, the car was completely back together, even down to that silly plastic radiator cover. Nothing missing, left over, or broken. The whole experience was a bit of work, but well worth it.

_H* 050920