Prius, Anyone?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Desertrat, Mar 16, 2007.

  1. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #1
    http://clubs.ccsu.edu/recorder/editorial/print_item.asp?NewsID=188

    "Building a Toyota Prius causes more environmental damage than a Hummer that is on the road for three times longer than a Prius. As already noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. 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.

    The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius’ battery and Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist’s nightmare.

    “The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside,” said Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a British-based newspaper."
     
  2. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #2
    The basic point about hybrids remains the same, and is a good one: what about the battery?

    Basic conclusion is right: we should be driving small, lightweight, fuel-efficient cars.
     
  3. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #3
    I wish every model of car or truck was offered with a biodiesel engine.
     
  4. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

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    #4
    I was "thisclose" to asking about biodiesel. :eek:

    So it isn't just some sort of romanticized idea that biodiesel actually would be better for the environment than your typicaly fuel or hybrid car?

    Sorry, I'm pretty ignant. :eek:
     
  5. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #5
    Also, in the prius' defense, the question remains whether the concept itself is flawed or if, with further refinement, the idea makes sense. In theory, capturing the energy of braking and re-using it sounds like it should be very helpful. But having to accellerate a 500 lb battery and electric motors obviously counterbalances that.

    The biggest problem, really, is that all the improvement that we've gained in making more fuel efficient vehicles has been lost by making vehicles larger.
     
  6. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #6
    Biodiesel is cheaper to make than ethanol type fuels, have the efficiency of diesel engines, usually allow a wide variety of natural oil based fuels to be mixed in, etc.

    The cost and cleanliness of manufacture is much better than making batteries or distilling ethanol.

    I don't know about you, but I don't want to be riding in a cart filled with 30 batteries if and when someone hits me, nor would I want to pay the replacement cost when those batteries need replacing. I've never seen a car battery last longer than 5 years and it's usually closer to 3.

    I'm sure that others know much more about the advantages of biodiesel, but I really haven't seen anything negative printed about it unless I've missed something. Years ago I saw a indie film that actually showed a diesel engine running completely on hemp oil squeezed from seeds. I'm sure the Feds aren't going to allow something that easy to grow, cheap and easy to supplement our fuel needs, but I've been intrigued by diesel ever since seeing that.
     
  7. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

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    #7
    Yeah, I do agree with that. I have to chuckle (with mild disbelief) when I see ads for the latest fuel-efficient hybrid SUV. :rolleyes: And while in the States, my MINI looks relatively small, in Europe, I swear, it looks like a huge car! :eek:

    Mm, I <3 me some Smart.

    I was under the impression that those statements might be true, but was afraid to state so since I don't know it for a fact. :)

    And what about the fact that it is a renewable source of energy, right? Wait, right? :eek:
     
  8. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

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    #8
    I'm not often mistaken for smart, but it would seem to me that the concept of "clean burning" is ultimately impossible. When you burn something, you ultimately release something into the atmosphere.

    There's CAT (Compressed Air technology) cars that use electrically powered home-style compressers to charge your car overnight. Integrated with an agressive adoption of consumer-based solar/wind/thermal conversions, you can heat your house, power your car, and run the lights from the local environment.

    This would work on a community level if people saw wind turbines as less of an eyesore, and more as a beautiful alternative to smog.
     
  9. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #9
    A couple hundred thousands of windmills and then we'd have to hear about all the birds killed by the rotating blades.
     
  10. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

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    #10
    Sure, there'd be sacrifices, but we can bury them beneath the solar panels.
     
  11. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #11
    I like small cars, but unfortunately something like the Smart would only transport my leg. I can barely fit in my Subaru because of my height. (Although the thought of a turbo charged biodiesel Imprezza would have me zipping to the dealer in a heartbeat.)

    Oils from palm, corn, hemp etc. are definitely renewable and require little work other than to crush to get the oils rather than going through the fermenting and distilling process required for ethanol.
     
  12. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #12
    hm just on latest car expo in germany VW presented a Passat Diesel which actually uses 5.0 liters /100 km with 105 Hp which is bigger than a prius and only uses 0.2 liters more during summer and _less_ during the winter
    and also cheaper to buy

    and mercedes also showed a E-class with 170HP which uses ~ 5.4 liters/100km

    ecologically a prius is the worst from both world: it takes lot of energy making batteries like in a electric car and still burns fossil fuels like any other car

    edit: also it takes more energy in the oil plant to create standard gasoline compred to diesel which is even more ridiculous because there is more potential energy stored in diesel compared to standard gasoline
     
  13. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #13
    My only complaint with the Mercedes diesel that I looked at that's in the ML class was that it was of the ultralow sulfer variety rather than universally accepting any diesel. They couldn't give me an answer when I asked the dealer whether occassionally using regular diesel or biodiesel would destroy the engine or be ok. Then they said that a list of dealers offering the special blend was available on their website. There are stations offering the fuel in my town, but not along the path that I drive when I take longer trips.

    I'm watching Mercedes closely though along with VW and others to see if they offer the diesel AWD small wagon that I want as my everyday vehicle.
     
  14. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    Yes, though biodiesel is still considered a wash when it comes to net petroleum use. This though is due to the factory farm system being so fertiliser- and pesticide-dependent.

    That in turn is due to the rotten state of the farm food market, which drives farmers to be overly productive to the detriment of efficiency.

    Poorly manufactured biodiesel can cause a buildup of waxy esters in the fuel system, effectively ruining it (looks like cancerous fat deposits inside the tank). This was more a problem with homebrewed bio-d than reputable mass market stuff. Also, pure biodiesel (B100) cannot be used in near-freezing temperatures as it cannot be winterised with additives and #1 oil. It gels around freezing and must be mixed with petrodiesel.

    I personally run a 2002 TDI with B10, which is available from a commercial pump just down the road from work. It gets 50mpg, which is at least 15%better than a hybrid's real world performance, and it only cost $18,6k, meaning the hyrbid is 20% more expensive. The diesel engine option for my car was $1500, which means it took about two years to pay for itself over the gasoline base engine. The more fuel prices go up, the more I save.
     
  15. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #15
    15ppm ULSD has been rolled out and fully replaces the 500ppm rotgut trash truck fuel. Biodiesel has no sulfur.
     
  16. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #16
    We can build 40 mpg cars that run on gas only the Govt is owned by the corporations. Look at the Toyota Yaris, 34 city 40 highway. Who needs batterys,diesel,when this can be done plus the car runs zero to 60 in less then 10 seconds. We just dont have anyone pushing for this. SUVs should be paying a waste tax because they are just pissing away this resource. Everywhere you go you see 1 person by themself driving the pigs down the road. If they dont want to tackle this then they should offer big incentives for those of us with cars getting 30 plus mpg.:)
     
  17. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    To be fair to Toyota, they have acknowledged there are problems and they are working on them.

    Here is an upcoming version of the Prius that is much more environmentally clean. There are drawbacks, of course. The sunroof option is now mandatory, the rear seat room is nonexistent, and they still haven't solved the "garage door" problem.
     

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  18. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    "We can build 40 mpg cars that run on gas only the Govt is owned by the corporations. Look at the Toyota Yaris, 34 city 40 highway."

    DHM, I think you need to think about what you said. If the government is owned by the corporations, and the corporations are building cars such as the Yaris, what's the problem?

    And since we have a fair number of cars that do better than 40mpg highway, where is there "evil"?

    If your gripe is about Big Fat Thingummies such as the Hummer, hey, people want them and have the money to buy or lease them. That's just people, in a free society.

    :), 'Rat
     
  19. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #19
    A wise president once said, "there ought to be limits to freedom."
     
  20. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    The Prius makes most of its fuel efficiency gains by using an Atkinson cycle engine. The battery is mere accoutrement.

    If Toyota put that engine into the Yaris it'd pull down better mileage than the Prius.
     
  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #21
    Underpasses might also prove challenging until the auto-retract feature is perfected.
     
  22. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #22
    "A wise president once said, "there ought to be limits to freedom.""

    Oh, yeah, I remember that. If that kind of notion doesn't give you a serious case of the vomititis, what will?

    That's exactly the sort of wisdom that has given us the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, the Patriot Act, the Son of Patriot Act, the Dept of Homeland inSecurity and the TSA. Somehow I fail to be impressed.

    Regardless: Who decides about the limits to freedom? El Supremo Maximo? Some Madam "I know what's best for you!"?

    'Rat
     
  23. MACDRIVE macrumors 68000

    MACDRIVE

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    #23
    The only problem I have with that statement 'Rat is that the cost to fuel the big behemoths is driving up the cost of fuel for everyone else. So in a sense, by proxy, everyone driving their fuel efficient cars are having to pay for the people driving their SUV's.
     
  24. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #24
    In theory hybrids are a nice compromise. In practice, not so much. Way too expensive for what you get, lower gas mileage than some non-hybrids, most of them are smaller than is comfortable for most people, there's still a question of reliability, and the manufacturing process still leaves something to be desired. It was a nice step 5 years ago, but we expected far better by now. Just not getting it.

    I drive a CNG hybrid, but I'm sure there's something bad about it too.
     
  25. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #25
    Now if they could only make more fuel efficient cars that accommodate those of us that are 6'4" and taller as well as our large families. I know there are those that are neither large nor are they hauling anything more than their own tushes in those Escalades, but no one has come up with a way to prevent that without penalizing those that really have a need for a larger vehicle.

    Seems to me that having a diesel engine option for EVERY vehicle, especially larger SUVs is a good way to immediately net better fuel economy without enforcing vehicle size restrictions.
     

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