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The Defamed Prius


Alpine
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For a long time I have been noticing people saying things about Toyota Prius which can only be viewed as a negative review. I strongly suspect if most of the people have actually driven one but that's not my concern as of now. I've been told that Toyota's Prius is not environmental friendly. I'm not sure whether to believe it or not and hence I come here seeking some hardcore facts and science.

People claim that the production of Toyota Prius is one of the most non-eco-friendly production ever. There are some questions being raised if the car itself is environmental friendly. I've also been told that TopGear did the math on all of this and proved that Prius is not as eco-friendly as it is claimed to be.

So, I leave it to you all science folks to prove whether or not Toyota Prius is an environmental friendly car or not (by which I mean that it's production is to be taken under consideration as well).

 

Thank You

Alpine

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For a long time I have been noticing people saying things about Toyota Prius which can only be viewed as a negative review. I strongly suspect if most of the people have actually driven one but that's not my concern as of now. I've been told that Toyota's Prius is not environmental friendly. I'm not sure whether to believe it or not and hence I come here seeking some hardcore facts and science.

People claim that the production of Toyota Prius is one of the most non-eco-friendly production ever. There are some questions being raised if the car itself is environmental friendly. I've also been told that TopGear did the math on all of this and proved that Prius is not as eco-friendly as it is claimed to be.

So, I leave it to you all science folks to prove whether or not Toyota Prius is an environmental friendly car or not (by which I mean that it's production is to be taken under consideration as well).

 

Thank You

Alpine

 

egat Brain! here's a source that lays out some "facts" for eco damage by the Prius. as i'm not familiar with this source, i can't vouch for their veracity. i'll poke around and see what the national center for policy analysis is all about; you would do well to do the same. :jab: :read:

 

PRIUS OUTDOES HUMMER IN ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

March 14, 2007

The Toyota Prius, the flagship car for the environmentally conscious, is the source of some of the worst pollution in North America, and takes more combined energy to produce than a Hummer, says the Recorder.

...

(list of 'damage' at above link)

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egat Brain! here's a source that lays out some "facts" for eco damage by the Prius. as i'm not familiar with this source, i can't vouch for their veracity. i'll poke around and see what the national center for policy analysis is all about; you would do well to do the same. :jab: :read:

 

 

that didn't take long. sounds like we have some defamers with a political agenda here, as i suspected. :clue: i recommend reading the full article below as it makes even more clear the agenda of the Prius bashers. all in all, i see no merit in the claims that a hummer is better than a Prius or that a Prius is more damaging to the environment. there's plenty here for you to follow up on Alpine. :sherlock:

 

National Center for Policy Analysis

The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a non-profit American conservative think tank[1] whose goals are to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control. Topics addressed include reforms in health care, taxes, Social Security, welfare, education and environmental regulation.

 

The NCPA was founded in February 1983[2] by British businessman Antony Fisher[3] together with Dallas businessmen Russell Perry (CEO of Republic Financial Services),[4] Wayne Calloway (CEO of Frito-Lay), John F. Stephens (CEO of Employers Insurance of Texas),[5] and Jere W. Thompson (CEO of the Southland Corporation).

...

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Thank you so much Turtle. I've been doing some research myself and I'm pretty much convinced that all the stuff said about Prius on TopGear,CNW and countless amount of blogs is to create a mass delusion among the masses (Average Joes). :|

I'll try to post the links soon.

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Thank you so much Turtle. I've been doing some research myself and I'm pretty much convinced that all the stuff said about Prius on TopGear,CNW and countless amount of blogs is to create a mass delusion among the masses (Average Joes). :|

I'll try to post the links soon.

 

:thumbs_up staying tuned. :phones: i was thinking how ironic that the folks who were against bailing out the american auto companies are the ones now promoting the hummer and bashing the prius. :doh: never mind that the hummer is out of production. :doh: :doh: and never mind that american auto companies are making hybrids that use the batteries that run the motors that drive the car with the crumpled horn that's made in the house that jack built. :doh: :doh: :doh:

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The NCPA is a political advocacy organization – as wikipedia accurately puts it, a “conservative think tank” so IMHO to be taken no more technically seriously than a politician making a campaign speech. Their 2007 “Prius outdoes hummer in environmental damage” propaganda blurb has been debunked – unfortunately, none too well in any I’ve yet read – several times, such as in the Pacific Institute’s (a legitimate science research and advocacy organization) 2007 “Hummer versus Prius: ‘Dust to Dust’ Report Misleads the Media and Public with Bad Science”

 

As with most propaganda, there’s a grain of truth in the NCPA and associated group’s claims.

 

The essence of it is that it’s energy and emmissions costly to smelt metal from ore. The Prius has a large (53.3 kg) NiMH battery. Were it necessary to smelt all the nickel metal needed for these batteries from ore, there would be an appreciable ecosystem impact. However, like most metals, nickel is easy recyclable, and is much less expensive from scrap than from ore.

 

Off the top of my head, I believe most nickel is used in the production of steel alloys, particularly stainless steel. NiMH batteries were popular as a consumer electronics battery (mostly in removable AAA battery form) in the mid 2000s, but has since lost over half that market to Li-ion batteries.

 

There’s a lot of Nickel available, demand being around 1,500,000,000 kg/year. About 400,000 Priuses have been sold worldwide each year since 2009, so doing the arithmetic, their batteries account for about 1.8% of demand for nickel.

 

As far as I’ve been able to quickly research, there’s not much environmental impact difference in one metal vs. another, so the environmental impact of manufacturing any car or truck is mostly a function of its mass. A Prius masses about 1380 kg, a bit more than half that of the smallest Hummers ever made, so I the claim that it’s environmental cost of manufacturing is greater than a Hummer seems to me grossly false.

 

Of course, Priuses get excellent fuel mileage, better than that of many much smaller cars, while Hummers get famously bad mileage.

 

Once past the NCPA’s and other silly conservative propaganda, there is a valuable lesson to be had here about the total environmental impact of a car: regardless of how little they emit when operating, manufacturing them has a significant impact. So it’s more ecologically responsible to keep an old car, maintaining and repairing it, as long as possible, than to frequently buy new ones.

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Hybrid cars have been a topic of debate for some time. Similar questions and debates have been held in other forums. A quick read of one which spans several years gives a quick overview of this issue.

 

http://www.greenhybr...657/index4.html

 

This link speaks quite pointedly to the comparisons between the Prius and the Hummer.

 

http://answers.yahoo...20003334AA1xn5K

 

I have been driving exclusively Toyota vehicles since 1995 for reasons of economy, road safety, durability and resale value. The Prius is of interest to me but I am not yet convinced that it is suited to our Yukon winters. I do not own a heated garage and I observe that even the batteries in regular vehicles become problematical in cold weather. Electricity is a cost to factor in to the overall performance and our costs for electricity are quite high at just over 12 cents per kilowatt hour.

 

The 15 mile all-electric range has me wondering as I live about that distance from town with plenty of rolling terrain in between. I observe that my fuel economy is slightly less driving home than to work simply because of the topography. For city commuters in warmer climates I can see this vehicle having merit in the future.

 

As for environmental costs, the battery will always remain a pivotal question in my mind as batteries do not last forever and they need to be properly disposed of so there is the transportation and reclamation costs at end of service as well as the ongoing cost of recharging the battery.

 

Nice idea but it still needs plenty of work and may have limited range of application in some climates, in my opinion. You've got me curious again though, and I think I'll stop by the dealership before long and chat up the knowledgeable fellow there. He's straight up and will give you the cons as well as the pros and allow you to form your own opinions. :clue:

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The Prius is of interest to me but I am not yet convinced that it is suited to our Yukon winters. I do not own a heated garage and I observe that even the batteries in regular vehicles become problematical in cold weather.

The Prius is a wonderful piece of engineering, but If you live somewhere with many hours/day and days/year of under-freezing temperatures, it’s not a good choice.

 

The Prius is reliable in even very low temperatures (by virtue of having, compared to ordinary vehicles, a huge battery and starter motor, so rarely if ever too little electric energy to start its internal combustion engine (ICE), and a very good system control computer), but at temperatures near or under 0 C, get nearly all of their power from their gas motors, so both their drive power and fuel economy are greatly reduced, by about 50%. This is compounded by the Prius’s use of an engine coolant cabin heater, requiring the gas engine to run continuously to maintain a comfortable inside temperature when it’s very cold outside.

 

Also, where there’s sub-freezing temperature, there’s snow and ice. The Prius get much of its efficiency from special, small contact patch wheels. They are safe in dry or wet conditions, but not very in snow. They’re also have smaller than usual diameters, so get more easily stuck in snow or mud. Smaller-wheels can be compensated for by 4-wheel drive, but the Prius is front-wheel only drive.

 

Another potential problem with the Prius is that, although its battery is very large, it’s NiMH, so has a high self-discharge rate. In true long-term snow-in conditions, it can self-discharge so much that, combined with greatly temperature-reduced output, it can effectively go dead. Unlike with a conventional car or truck, you can’t removing the battery and bringing it inside to warm it to a working temperature.

 

Electricity is a cost to factor in to the overall performance and our costs for electricity are quite high at just over 12 cents per kilowatt hour.

Keep in mind that the conversion factor electric/gasoline energy is 9.5 litre/KWH, giving $0.12/KWH = $1.14/litre. So your electric and gas energy costs are about equal. The best ICEs, however, are only about 38% efficient, compared to about 66% for a typical NiMH battery, and 90%+ for typical electric motor, so the effective equivalent gasoline cost vs. $0.12/KWH electricity is about $0.72/litre.

 

The 15 mile all-electric range has me wondering as I live about that distance from town with plenty of rolling terrain in between. I observe that my fuel economy is slightly less driving home than to work simply because of the topography.

Though a Plug-in hybrids has the cold weather-advantage of having a built-in charger to prevent a dead battery, it’s still not well-suited to cold weather.

 

Good economy over rolling terrain is a great strength of all regenerative-braking equipped hydrid and all electric cars. The Prius, for example, can take full advantage of a drop of up to about 600 m. It takes a pretty major mountain to have a descent long enough for a Prius to have to begin wasting braking energy.

 

As for environmental costs, the battery will always remain a pivotal question in my mind as batteries do not last forever and they need to be properly disposed of so there is the transportation and reclamation costs at end of service as well as the ongoing cost of recharging the battery.

The environmental cost of NiMH batteries are low compared to other common battery types. Partly, this is because their material – a plastic case, potassium hydroxide electrolyte, a small amount of rare earths, and a lot of nickel – is innately non to only slightly toxic, but mostly this is because nearly all of them are recycled, and are nearly 100% recyclable.

 

In researching this, I came across this interesting datum, at this autobloggreen article:

The nickel plates are sent to a smelter where they are used in making steel.

I wonder why this nickel is recycled in steel alloying, rather than the making of NiMH batteries?

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Great posts everybody. I live in a small Washington town, and I see lot's of Prius's, so they are very popular here. However my needs would be met better with a rechargeable hybrid such as the Chevy Volt. It will go about 30-35 miles on the battery and I rarely ever drive more than that on any given day. So I would have to make an effort to use the tank of gas at least every 6 months to prevent it from going bad in my tank.:)

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I just read up on the new Prius C and I was quite impressed.

 

The base price of this car is under $19,000, and est. mileage for city driving is 53 mpg, 47 Hwy. This car has a 9.5 Gal tank which means it can approach 500 miles between fill ups. I only get about 300 miles on a 14 gal tank now. The Prius C would more than double my current gas mileage. I think I could live very nicely with that car. It doesn't hurt that the interior has many bells and whistles I wish I had now.

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