Is the Toyota Prius truly environmentally friendly?

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Old 28 Jun 2010, 04:45 pm   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is the Toyota Prius truly environmentally friendly?

A lot of people claim that the Toyota Prius is environmentally friendly since it has very good gas mileage. I was sort of tempted to go along with that, but I also remembered that you have to plug it in so that the electric engine can run. Since you have to plug it in to charge it, how big is it's carbon footprint? Since coal is burned to produce most of America's electricity, is the Prius truly environmentally friendly?
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Old 28 Jun 2010, 04:48 pm   #2 (permalink)
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not unless you live in the city and never drive over about 30 mph but past that it burns just as much gas as anything else
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Old 28 Jun 2010, 04:51 pm   #3 (permalink)
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No, it's all advertising/marketing.































There will never be a truly environmentally friendly car until solar cells can be utilized with higher capacity.















Nothing beats free power (i.e. Sun).















and yeah, takes electricity to make solar panels, well, it's not like it's a harsh thing, there's no emissions coming from a 100% battery driven car that recharges via the Sun.































the prius is not environmentally friendly at all. it helps save gas, but it is not the gas mileage champ, the Honda CRX and Geo Metro and Chevy Sprint have those records. Avg of 56mpg on highway for them, running on regular gas. no battery hoopla and no fancy gimmicks.















they are still the gas mileage champs.
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Old 28 Jun 2010, 04:54 pm   #4 (permalink)
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You do not plug the prius in. It has a hybrid motor. As long as the car is moving under 5mph (I think) it runs off of the electric motor. Once it goes above that speed, the gas motor turns on and not only powers the car but charges the hybrid battery pack.































It is not as environmentally friendly as most people think it is because there is a lot of toxic waste created when making the lithium-ion battery that powers the electric motor. More importantly, the batteries themselves are extremely toxic and just like any other battery will eventually die and must be replaced. In a Prius, the lithium Ion batery pack costs about $7000 to replace.































To put this in perspective, at $2.00 a gallon you could buy 2800 gallons of fuel for what the battery costs to replace. In a vehicle that only get 20 miles per gallon, that is 56000 miles. You could drive a "gas guzzler" 56000 miles for what it costs just to replace the battery pack in a prius.































My customers are shocked when I give them the bad news about their hybrid battery.
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Old 28 Jun 2010, 04:58 pm   #5 (permalink)
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Well no.
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Old 28 Jun 2010, 05:10 pm   #6 (permalink)
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first of all, your completely wrong. the prius right now doesn't allow you to plug it in. the gasoline engine recharges the battery. and since it still uses gasoline, i don't care how efficient, it's still not good for the air.































even if you did get your electricity from coal, you would be cutting carbon footprint by a lot. there are some kits that allow you to plug in a prius and to allow it to only run on electricity. and according to studies, plug in hybrids use very little electricity. do you own a plasma tv? well, that plasma tv's probably using more electricity than the prius believe it or not.































the most ecofriendly you can get is a bike or walking.































but if your lazy like most of society, your best bet is public transportation or FULLY electric cars. with an electric car, you'll be cutting your carbon footprint by a lot. electric motors use less electricity that clothes driers. as i said, even if you get coal electricity, your cutting your footprint cause electric motors are very efficient, use little energy. plus, a gasoline car on average emits EIGHT TONNES of CO2 into the air.































also, obama's pledges to create cleaner electricity, so your cutting more CO2 there. but here's where you can score the biggest. if you put a couple solar panels on your roof, you can run your whole house completely off the grid. so basically, you don't pay for your electricity, and neither does the earth.
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Old 28 Jun 2010, 05:14 pm   #7 (permalink)
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The Prius is a more environmentally friendly than most cars out there. One reason is because of fuel mileage. Another reason, is that when the gasoline engine is running, it emits extremely low levels of hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides & other emissions that contribute to smog & global warming - that's why it's rated as a Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV). The factory Prius does not yet plug-in to recharge its battery but regenerates via braking a deceleration of the gas engine. I've installed the plug-in option & it takes the equivalent of running a 50 watt light bulb to recharge (most of our Washington state electricity is generated by hydro power - another clean advantage). This upgrade, though costly, allowed me to get into town today, run errands with barely running the internal combustion engine at all (I got 113 mpg on my 12 mile trip).































So, how do you calculate the carbon footprint for a Prius? I have no idea. But, I know that its less than most of the vehicles out there! Plus, they are fun to drive.
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Old 28 Jun 2010, 05:15 pm   #8 (permalink)
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ill tell you what. find a Prius and stick your finger in the tail pipe. your finger will come out clean. there will be little to no black carbon. im a tech at a toyota dealer. i was under a Prius, looked at the tail pipe and it was still shiny. i though to myself hhm this must be brand new...looked at the repair order and the car had 40k miles on it. i was amazed. toyota does not market their prius as a car that gets great gas mileage. they market it as environmentally friendly car, although the best ive seen in a prius was 50mpg. the geo metro n what not may get better gas mileage then the prius but the prius is thee cleanest car on the market right now. You do not plug in the prius by the way. the battery cells are recharged by regenerative braking. dont confuse me with the other eric f. hes an idiot. just because a car gets better gas mileage doesnt mean its a cleaner car.
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Old 28 Jun 2010, 05:20 pm   #9 (permalink)
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no































just to create the nickel battery which powers the car at lower speeds make a lot of pollution















first nickel mining is not a clean business, a lot of pollution involved, the nickel is mined in canada, refined in europe, refined further in china, then assembled in japan































overall, just to create the nickel battery creates more pollution then driving a hummer h2 over its lifetime (about (200,000-250,000 miles)































buy yourself a volkwagen diesel instead,
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Old 28 Jun 2010, 05:21 pm   #10 (permalink)
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The Toyota Prius has been on the roads for over 10 years, and this is still listed in Toyota's FAQs about the Prius:















http://www.toyota.com/prius-hybrid/demos.html"10. Do I need to plug Prius in?















Never. Prius automatically recharges its batteries using regenerative braking, or by running the onboard generator. The driver never needs to worry about recharging the battery."































The hybrid battery is charged either through recapturing kinetic energy when you are slowing down by spinning a generator (called regenerative braking), or by taking excess power from the gasoline engine to spin a generator. Currently, no hybrids (without custom aftermarket modifications) are plug-in capable for charging off the mains. The hybrid battery is used to power the electric motor(s), which can solely propel the car under light load situations, or act as a turbo to the gasoline engine and provide extra power/acceleration on demand. The vehicle may move on either electric, gasoline, or a combination of both engines. Under low loads or at a stop, the gasoline engine may even be turned off. The gasoline engine is kept at its most efficient RPM with the eCVT transmission, so at its best fuel economy, and the electric motors compensate for any extra power demands.































There are no commercially-available plug-in hybrids on the market so far. (So you cannot plug them in, other than the same gas station pump that most other regular cars use.) Some hobbiests and aftermarket companies have been altering a few hybrids (Prius, Ford Escape Hybrid/Mercury Mariner Hybrid) to make them plug-in capable. Typically this requires adding additional hybrid batteries, besides the ability to charge off the mains.















For more information, check out http://www.calcars.org/vehicles.html















































Depending on the source for electricity in your area, a BEV (battery electric vehicle) may or may not put out more greenhouse gas emissions than a 55MPG HEV (hybrid electric vehicle). Mainly, if the primary source for electricity in your area is coal, your HEV is cleaner than a BEV running on coal-powered electricity. However, if your electricity source is natural gas, the BEV is usually cleaner than the HEV (depending on the method used for natural gas->electricity conversion), and it gets even better for the BEV if you are using a hydroelectric or other renewable electric source. In comparisons with a generic 17MPG SUV, an average 26MPG vehicle, and a high-efficiency 38MPG vehicle, the 38MPG vehicle still will beat the coal-powered BEV, but isn't as clean as the HEV (and gas and renewables powered BEVs are much better than the 38MPG vehicle).















see: "Battery-Powered Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Projects to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A Resource Guide for Project Development," July 2002















http://www.eere.energy.gov/cleanciti...reductions.pdf















mainly section 4.3































(and that's besides the arguements that it's easier to manage emissions from a handful of electric plants, as opposed to millions of independently-owned cars... typically, electric charging rates (especially the off-peak charging times which would use otherwise lost power and level the loads) are still cheaper than petroleum rates, too. Of course, there are still emissions to worry about other than just greenhouse gas emissions, too.)















































There's a lot of myth and misinformation out there on hybrid vehicle batteries and vehicle production, thanks to a flawed marketing paper by CNW and a poorly researched student newspaper article that keep getting quoted...















Anyhow, I suggest reading:















Hummer versus Prius: ?Dust to Dust? Report Misleads the Media and Public with Bad Science: http://www.pacinst.org/topics/integr...sus_prius.html















"I read an article stating the Prius has a worse impact on the environment than a Hummer because of the enormous pollution created in making the car?s batteries. True?": http://www.straightdope.com/columns/080404.html















Prius Versus Hummer: A Nickel for Your Thoughts: http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200....asp#headaches































Usually the mythic "article" from The Mail on the nickel in the hybrid cars' NiMH batteries is quoted from a now retracted article. The retraction that clears up this bit of misinformation is at: http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/news/a...a-factory.html















(They were using data from the early 1970's about the INCO-Sudbury nickel mine, which was more than 20 years before the first hybrids needed NiMH batteries, and the plant has greatly cleaned themselves up and reforested the area since then. If you were to add up the amount of nickel in the million+ hybrids sold since 1997, the total is still less than 1% of the world's annual nickel production (far more nickel is used for stainless steel, for example).)































Hybrid battery replacements aren't all that common, and on some models very rare. (The hybrid battery is designed to last the life of the car.) In the US, the hybrid battery packs are usually warrantied for 8 years/80,000 miles or longer (depending on manufacturer and if an AT-PZEV model in a CA emission state (10 years/150,000 miles). Full warranty, NOT pro-rated.































Meanwhile, here's the 2004 Toyota Prius Green Report (life cycle assessment): http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/k_forum/tenji/pdf/pgr_e.pdf































(you'll need to download the Japanese fonts for your PDF reader inorder to read it, but the entire document is written in English. note that this was published well before the Inco-Sudbury "article" and CNW "report.")































Over the lifespan of the Prius, when compared to a comparable mid-sized gasoline vehicle, the Prius comes out ahead in the lifecycle assessment (LCA) for airborne emissions for CO2, NOx, SOx, HC, but actually does worse for PM (thanks to the material and vehicle production stages). Lifespan is given as 10 years use/100,000km. The CO2 break-even point for the 2004 Prius compared to this unnamed gasoline vehicle is given at 20,000km. (more CO2 is emitted during Prius production, but the Prius makes up for it over it's driven lifetime.)































Another neat thing is that the Prius is one of the first uses of















Toyota's Eco-Plastic (plastic made from plants, as opposed to















petroleum products). The battery is recycleable (NiMH), as is much of















the car (steel and aluminum body, for example).















































the ACEEE finds the Toyota Prius to be the 2nd "Greenest Vehicle" of 2009 for the US: http://www.greenercars.org/highlights_greenest.htm































The Toyota Prius has the best fuel economy of all vehicles sold in the US. CO2 output is directly dependent on the vehicle's fuel economy. However, the Prius is also rated in California-emission states as a AT-PZEV (alternative-technology partial zero emissioins vehicle). To be rated as such, they have to have extremely low emissions of CO, NOx, and particulate matter (90% less than the average new car), zero evaporative emissions (no leaks from the fuel system, so even when off in the driveway no emissions are emitted), plus a long 10 year/150,000 mile emissions warranty.































Many of the often-suggested TDI diesel vehicles, which get similar fuel economy if driven correctly with a manual transmission, are often not available for sale new in CA-emission states because their emissions of NOx and particulate matter is too high. (NOx and particulate matter develop smog and other low-level air pollution.)
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