• Oct 19th 2010 at 7:27PM
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2010 Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery

There are plenty of revelations in the annual sustainability report recently released by Toyota. By and large, the company is as ecologically-minded as a multi-national corporation can be, but as we've touched on before, not everything is as squeaky clean as it could be. The Toyota Prius has earned itself as one of the greenest vehicles on the road – a perception that the company's report confirmed by detailing the fact that over its lifetime, the Prius is likely to emit much less carbon dioxide than other comparable vehicles.

Unfortunately, that truth is offset a bit by the fact that the vehicle performs marginally worse than average when it comes to the emissions generated to build hybrid. Specifically, Toyota cranks out extra nonmethane hydrocarbons and particulate matter, thanks specifically to the manufacturing of the car's electric motor and battery pack. Those two pieces require larger amounts of energy and materials, snagging the Prius lower than average ratings across all five manufacturing emissions categories.



Photos by Sam Abuelsamid / Copyright ©2009 AOL
[Source: Automotive News]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 62 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is what I have been harping on from the beginning. From the mining of the lithium to the entire mfg process for these "green" machines they are anything but green. Its all about nobama land, his "i know what is good for you" agenda and of course the gullible public who need to buy these things to ease their conscience. You cannot void the laws of free market capitalism any more than the laws of physics. Creating new industries on the backs of taxpayers just queers the markets and nothing is really resolved. It burns me to think that the hard working taxpayer is providing $7500 of help to the people who buy these things and in most cases the people who buy these things do not need the help. On the other hand without the tax credit they would sell none. Like I said queering the markets. Hope all you gullible folks like the idea of helping to buy someone else's car!
        • 4 Years Ago
        How much does it take to produce the Ford Mustang GT?
        That huge hunk of V8 iron and aluminum must have been mined somewhere.
        Yet, no one ever wonders about the environmental damage of this or the massive amount of 5000 lb. SUV's using huge V8's to burn thousands of dollars of oil every year.

        Sometimes, the "right" is as dense as a rock.
        I find that the "right" is 90% WRONG.
          tgsid
          • 3 Years Ago
          Iron and Aluminum isn't toxic. Lithium is toxic. The area around the mine is used to test the mars rovers because it's just a wasteland.
      • 4 Years Ago
      There is no such thing as a 100% pollution free automobile.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Old news. I've been telling people this for years.

      Remember Jeremy Clarkson.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKTOyiKLARk
        tgsid
        • 3 Years Ago
        Everyone discredits Jeremy Clarkson. The Prius does more damage than an M3, Land Rover, or a HUMMER H1.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Had an enduring debate about hybrid vehicles on an Australian automotive site not so long ago and here are some figures representing the difference over 350 000 km's / 217 000 miles between a regular Australian spec 4-cyl Camry which still uses the aging 2.4 and it's hybrid sibling. I calculated the difference over 350 000 / 217 000 miles because Camry's are commonly known to be able to reliably travel upto and sometimes inexcess of these mileage and by also extending the comparison over a more realistic time expectancy of a typical Camry.

      Firstly ... Based upon Australian ADR, the common Australian spec 4-cyl Camry is expected to consume approx 8.8 litres / 100kms (60 miles) compared to the hybrid model of approx 6.0 litres / 100kms (60 miles). That is an expected difference of 2.8 litres / 100kms (60 miles) and calculated over 350 000 km's ( 217 000 miles) that equates to a difference of approx 9800 litres of petrol.

      Secondly ... An Australian spec regular 4-cyl Camry emits approx 208 grams of co2 / km (0.6 mile) while the hybrid equivalent emits approx 142 grams of co2 / km (0.6 mile) which is a difference of 66 grams of co2 / km (0.6 mile) and calculated over 350 000 km's (217 000 miles) that is a huge difference - approx 23 million grams of co2 to be exact.

      So ... how much energy is required and pollution is emitted to drill oil, refine the crude product to produce petrol and ship / supply 9800 litres of petrol to market coupled by the remarkable difference in emitted pollution during the driving careers of the cars gives an approx energy / pollution saving between a regular 4-cyl Camry and a hybrid model calculated over 350 000 km's / 217 000 miles of which the numbers are further enhanced for each km / mile travelled there after.

      With that highlighted ... i reserve absolute confidence to suggest the difference between a regular Camry and it's hybrid sibling outways the extra energy and pollution to manufactuer the 2 different models.

      Shame most Automotive journalist don't extend thier so-called professionalism to cover more of the entire hybrid equation instead of the usual part of. But then again ... why let the truth get in the way of a good story ... right ... mmm !!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Shock! So does the GPS unit, save gas, and cost something in carbon to make. Yet it's a net Plus. So do Wind Mills, which have to spin for 6 MONTHS before they pay for their manufacturing and Installation before they become PROFITABLE.

      More stupid Oil Industry Propaganda.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Another reason why we should all drive Veyron's and be happy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Short of killing yourself, the next best way to reduce your carbon footprint is to walk everywhere.

      The only option to the devastation of humanity is renewable energy. There is no middle ground.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I bet if Jeremy Clarkson saw this... he'll be saying... "It's about bloody time someone listen to Dr. Clarkson"
        tgsid
        • 3 Years Ago
        I don't understand if that is pro Clarkson or against him. He is correct about his claims.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The pollution emitted by (and energy cost of) a car over its driving lifetime is much larger than the manufacturing emissions (and energy cost). So a marginal increase in production costs/emissions is a small price to pay for the reductions while driving it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's higher than you might think. I asked my (Prius-owning) energy systems professor this about 6 years ago, and the number he came up with is that about 25-35% of a vehicles' lifetime energy usage is in the manufacturing process. So, to pick a number, if "marginally worse" means that the Prius uses 20% more energy in manufacturing, that's a 5-7% increase in lifetime energy and emissions relative to a similar size car. Since you'd expect about a 25% improvement in fuel economy vs. a comparable compact car, you're saving about 25% of 65-75% of the lifetime usage, which is a 16.25-18.75%. So your net savings vs a comparable compact car is ~10%.

        Obviously this calculation relies on exactly what "marginally worse" means. It would be nice to know.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Only for anecdotal scientific comparison, has anyone ever calculated energy consumption between a horse & buggy and that of a hybrid automobile; say, to travel 100 miles?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have been saying this for years, anyone that has been to a nickle mine knows just how bad for the environment these batteries are, nothing but wasteland for miles. I tend to think the same for CFL bulbs as they are far more complicated to make then incandescent bulbs and contain electronics with lots of toxic materials.
        • 4 Years Ago
        CFL bulbs contains trace amounts of mercury, not "electronics with lots of toxic materials." They save a crap-ton of electricity, and if you get your power from coal plants (as most of us in the US do), there's far more mercury going into your water from the coal plant than from the occasional broken CFL bulb.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have been saying this for years the true cost of hybrids is going into the shipping of all the exotic earth metals that compose the batteries. Plus the prius has no scalable model to tailor the car to the consumers needs. Its only a brand Id then not a truly friendly car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The worrying thing about this is that it affects the more relevant full electric vehicles of the (hopeful) future. If we can't iron out the manufacturing issues now, we may need to take the horrific path that is hydrogen.
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