iWoz Going Too Fast

August 21, 2007: Source – San Jose Mercury News

Apple Racing Prius

If you get stopped for speeding, don’t bother telling the judge you thought the speedometer was set to kilometers. Especially if you’re clocked at 104 in a Prius.

That’s more or less how Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak explained his inattentively excessive velocity.

Wozniak was headed to Las Vegas for a business trip with his pal Dan Sokol on March 28. Little head wind, light traffic, a straight road. His Prius was sailing along so smoothly that neither realized the speed Wozniak was reaching.

“I pleaded guilty, with an explanation,” Wozniak said in one of several e-mails exchanged [with Gary Richards of the San Jose Mercury News] the past few days. “I said that I was really scientific, and in the last year had been in Athens, Moscow, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich (twice), Zurich, Canada (three times), Columbia, Singapore, Japan, London, etc., and had gotten used to kilometer speeds.”

The judge didn’t buy it. The Apple bazillionaire can probably afford the $700 fine imposed, but going that fast is hell on fuel efficiency. Now that Wozniak’s reformed his driving habits, he says he can get up to 55 mpg on some highway trips. But at 104, that could drop to between 31 and 37.


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  • WOZ critic

    He should have explained to the judge how pulse and glide works.

  • Stefan

    If Al Gore can have that mansion with those solar panels and those non-adjacent double layered windows, then I can drive a Prius at 104 (which is not worth risking). At least 31-37 mpg is much better than a Toyota Corolla at that speed.

    I hear at that people say that speed and fuel economy are like oil and water. Well, have you heard of the ELIICA (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)? This car is all electric, yet can go 230 mph. The only problem is it only has a range of 125 miles. Look the Lexus GS 450h versus the GS 430. The thing that will impress people even more is a car having higher gas milage and more speed. It just comes down to TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION.

  • domboy

    AT 104mph I doubt a Prius gets any better fuel economy than the Corolla…

  • langjie

    that’s pretty amazing traveling at 100+ mph.

  • vidur


  • mduoba

    In my lab we wish we could do more high-speed fuel economy testing of hybrids vs conventional vehicles (see fuel economy sensitivity study that was highlighted in an article a while ago). We are very confident that the Prius does WORSE in high speed travel than a conventional, the cross over speed is believed to be around 80MPH. That is why GM pursued the 2-mode power split – avoiding high losses at high speed and high load, and smaller motors in the 2-mode.

  • Otto

    Fine with me;
    install a clutch;

    My Prius does 50 MPG at 70 MPH

  • BB
  • pgtw8s

    ‘light head wind…’, maybe a little Tail wind? I have driven those desert roads at 70-80 against a Strong (25-35mph) head wind and had 37mpg for the tankfull (my lowest tank in 30K miles). I think 31-37@100 is representative performance.

  • suv

    What a bad excuse getting use to the Kilometer. If he drives 100kmh, that will be 62mph. No wonder the judge didn’t buy it. Even if he looks at the Speed Limit saying 65mph at the highway, he should be driving 65kph?, so if we convert this into miles that will be only 40mph. DING DONG!!!

  • john