Toyota's Prius is Less Efficient and Environmentally

Aug23

Toyota's Prius is Less Efficient and Environmentally Friendly than a Hummer?

Auto News | By David Walker, LeaseTrader.com | 3 Comments |

Toyota's Prius is Less Efficient and Environmentally Friendly than a Hummer?

 

2006.toyota.prius-thumb

According to an article posted on The Recorder Online by Chris Demorro, the Toyota Prius, the most popular hybrid is not actually that efficient. "Their ultimate 'green car' is the source of some of the worst pollution in North America; it takes more combined energy per Prius to produce than a Hummer."

In order to fully understand this argument, you need to know the overall architecture of the Prius powertrain. The car consists of two engines, a 1.5L gas engine and an electric motor. The electric motor is capable of propelling the car up to 25mph and from there the gas engine kicks in. Therefore the car saves fuel by turning the gas engine off when it is idling and driving in traffic. The battery for the electric motor is recharged through the braking system.

When the current Prius was released for the 04' model year, Toyota boasted about the car's estimated 60 mpg in the city and 51mpg on the highway. Consumers ate this information up and flocked to Toyota dealers in droves. Soon after its release consumers began to complain about the fact that their cars were not achieving the claimed mpg. This was due to the out of date EPA tests that the government uses to estimate a car's mpg. (The new tests will be applied to 2008 models) In most real world applications the Prius only manages to achieve 45 mpg, which is not much higher than most subcompact economy cars (Aveo, Yaris, Scion).

That is the first main issue with the current Prius. Second is the issue with the actual production of the batteries for the hybrid cars. It is only slowly being revealed that the nickel batteries that hybrids use are not environmentally friendly. The nickel for the Prius is produced in Sudbury, Ontario. According to Demorro, " This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the 'dead zone' around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles." Toyota produces 1,000 tons annually. The production of the batteries does not end in Canada, the nickel is then sent off to a refinery in Europe and then off to China and finally it ends up in finished form in Japan. This in turn uses more energy to create the batteries since it involves many factories all over the world.

When you factor in all the energy it takes to drive and build a Prius it takes almost 50% more energy than a Hummer. In a study by CNW Marketing called "Dust to Dust", researchers discovered that the Prius costs and average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles (the expected lifespan of a hybrid). On the other hand the Hummer costs $1.95 per mile over an expected 300,000 miles. Which means that the Hummer will last three times as long and use less energy than the Prius. ( I am not sure about the claim that the Hummer will last three times longer...)

This also doesn't take into account the problem with disposing of the used batteries. Most of the hybrids have not been on the market long enough to be disposed of yet, but when it does happen there are going to be more environmental implications.

Basically to sum this up, the Prius and all hybrids for that matter are not exactly what the public perceives them to be. Hybrids for the most part do not have huge gains in gas mileage over their gas powered counterparts. There is also a premium to buy a hybrid and there is a large chance that the premium will not be offset by the time you get rid of the car. According to Demorro, "It takes five years to offset the premium price of a Prius. Meaning, you have to wait 60 months to save any money over a non-hybrid car because of lower gas expenses." Then there are the issues with the batteries and their effect on the environment.

Basically if you want to save gas and pollute less you should buy a subcompact with a PZEV rated engine. It will save you more money in the long run and the earth will thank you.

This may all change in the coming years as technology gets better and the price of hybrids drop.

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This story posted by LeaseTrader.com, the automotive service company that lets people transfer out of their Car Leases early. If you're looking to swap a lease or transfer out of your car lease, please visit www.leasetrader.com.

Feedback

left by Jon at 8/28/2007 1:48 PM Gravatar
Some facts you should know:

1) Chris Demorro filed a subsequent story admitting that the CNW report on which he based his claims about the cost of a Prius v. Hummer are dubious at best.

2) The publication Demorro writes for is a college newspaper previously famous for its article suggesting that rape is beneficial for women.

3) The CNW study has been rejected by every scientist or engineer that has reviewed it -- you correctly note one of its many flaws, i.e., the arbitrary and unfounded assumption that a Hummer has 3x the lifespan of a Prius.

4) The British newspaper that "broke" that Sudbury story has since retracted it as non-factual.

5) Prius batteries are made out of a very valuable mettle, nickel, and in a non-toxic form of that mettle that is very easy to recycle. Toyota pays a $200 bounty on each one returned to it (its contact phone number is stamped on each cell). Nickel is much too valuable to throw away. The battery issue is pure FUD.

While you do not appear to have a grudge against the Prius, you have recycled many of the most unfounded and discredited arguments against the car to be found floating about on the Internet. I would urge you to review a few highly creditable sources of information (e.g., Edmunds, Consumer Reports, the U.S. government, etc.) and reconsider your post in light of more solid facts.
left by bob at 3/24/2009 9:24 AM Gravatar
hi
left by deen at 7/31/2010 1:27 PM Gravatar
Actually, these claims have all been validated by Top Gear of London as well as many of the "car expert" reviewers in the US as well. It's great that people are thinking "green-friendly" but the technology isn't there for us yet. The hybrid car movement at this point is just a fad that we're hoping can get better and better so we do actually benefit the environment.
Title  
Name
Email
Url
Comments
Please add 2 and 4 and type the answer here:

This story posted by LeaseTrader.com, the automotive service company that lets people transfer out of their Car Leases early. If you're looking to swap a lease or transfer out of your car lease, please visit www.leasetrader.com





  • 2012 Smart Fortwo Passion Cabriolet
    2012 Smart Fortwo Passion Cabriolet
    2012 Smart Fortwo
    Passion Cabriolet
    8 months remaining
    $158.66 per month
    Black color
    Black interior
    Scotts Valley, CA 95066
  • 2013 Toyota Sienna XLE
    2013 Toyota Sienna XLE
    2013 Toyota Sienna
    XLE
    21 months remaining
    $319.00 per month
    Dark Green color
    Pewter interior
    Dana Point, CA 92629
  • 2014 Toyota Camry SE
    2014 Toyota Camry SE
    2014 Toyota Camry
    SE
    25 months remaining
    $199.00 per month
    Black color
    Black interior
    Laguna Beach, CA 92677
  • 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan TSI
    2013 Volkswagen Tiguan TSI
    2013 Volkswagen Tiguan
    TSI
    23 months remaining
    $449.00 per month
    Black color
    Black interior
    Boston, MA 02114
  • 2012 Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupe
    2012 Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupe
    2012 Mercedes-Benz C250
    Coupe
    8 months remaining
    $399.00 per month
    Charcoal color
    Black interior
    Hollywood, FL 33021
  • 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Sedan
    2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Sedan
    2013 Volkswagen Jetta
    TDI Sedan
    24 months remaining
    $299.99 per month
    Silver color
    Black interior
    Sausalito, CA 94965
  • 2012 Scion iQ Compact
    2012 Scion iQ Compact
    2012 Scion iQ
    Compact
    14 months remaining
    $110.85 per month
    Blue color
    Black interior
    Hopewell Jct, NY 12533
  • 2014 Chevrolet Cruze LT
    2014 Chevrolet Cruze LT
    2014 Chevrolet Cruze
    LT
    37 months remaining
    $199.55 per month
    Beige color
    Beige interior
    Wittmann, AZ 85361
  • 2013 Toyota Prius c One
    2013 Toyota Prius c One
    2013 Toyota Prius
    c One
    11 months remaining
    $205.89 per month
    Black color
    Black interior
    San Francisco, CA 94116
  • 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SE
    2013 Volkswagen Jetta SE
    2013 Volkswagen Jetta
    SE
    23 months remaining
    $178.00 per month
    White color
    Beige interior
    Stamford, CT 06901

Categories
Archives