Often stereotyped as extreme environmentalists, hybrid drivers actually come in a variety of flavors. Some do drive the cars as a personal statement of their love and commitment to the Earth, but others are actually car geeks who appreciate technology for technology's sake. No matter how efficient their green ride is, these owners are always looking for the next step.
Paul Goldman, the CEO of JuicedHybrid.com, falls into this category. Although he drives a second-generation Toyota Prius, he also manages to race a Porsche 911, and knows his way around an automobile.
"My grandfather owned a salvage yard," Goldman said, "so as a kid I grew up working on cars. I can still remember working on a particular 1957 Chevy and a 1962 Corvette."
The concept for JuicedHybrid.com came to Goldman in April 2008, when he longed for more performance from his Prius. "My car didn't handle as well as I would have liked, and I couldn't find any performance parts for it," he recalls. His racing experience told him that the Prius' chassis needed more rigidity, so he consulted with a local race shop and developed a chassis stiffening kit. The subframe mount fits all 2004-2009 Prius models, and is fabricated in the U.S.
Other offerings from JuicedHybrid.com are sourced from other suppliers. For example, high-performance suspension parts for the Prius are fabricated by Toyota, while a body kit comes from Japanese tuning firm KenStyle.
JuicedHybrid also sells accessories that claim to improve a hybrid's electric powertrain. Goldman claims they're fully tested by their manufactures, and hears "good things from customers," but we're a bit skeptical of their overall performance and long-term reliability. Caveat Emptor.
Goldman believes performance is being redefined as something more than simply speed and vehicle handling. "Efficiency will become a greater part of the performance equation as we go forward, and JuicedHybrid.com will be there to help enthusiast hybrid owners find just what they're looking for."