As society becomes more and more environmentally aware, consumers have become increasingly green conscious, what with the Mayan Calender predicting the end of the world late 2012! What better way to get in good with the cosmos than buying a hybrid car?
Hybrid cars particularly of the HEV(Hybrid Electrical Vehicle) variety have grabbed the attention of the more green conscious motorists across the world, boasting claims of dramatically lowered carbon emissions and increasingly efficient levels of fuel consumption.
However with such miraculous claims come major skepticism from the more performance driven petrol heads amongst us.
As well as the particularly green savvy market, the hybrid has also attracted the attention of a wide range of Hollywood A-listers. With the Toyota Prius, for example, the likes of Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz can be seen cruising down Mulholland Drive in the £20,000 green machine. However, this coupled with a few G6 flights makes this particular group of users slightly less eco-friendly…
Let’s use the Toyota Prius as our example. Despite much popularity and endorsement from the celebrity crowd, the Prius has received much criticism from quite a large group of nay-sayers. Jeremy Clarkson has on more than one occasion ‘voiced his concerns’ on a wide range of issues surrounding the green car.
A popular conversation point however lies in the facts and figures. Despite the Prius boasting a particularly below average level of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulphur oxide emissions, the brand went on to state that its emissions of non-methane hydrocarbons and particulate matter were somewhat worse than average.
In fact Toyota specified personally that during production Hybrid-only parts such as nickel-metal hydride batteries and inverters consumed more energy and resulted in greater overall emissions. Furthermore when looking at the manufacturing phase of materials in the car’s life cycle, the Prius performed worse than the class average across all five emission categories. Demonstrating that despite the car performing quite effectively during the consumer use stage, when looking at the entire manufacturing process of the vehicle from start to finish, the carbon footprint of the process was considerably larger than expected.
Toyota have since conducted entire life-cycle emissions examinations on over seven different vehicle series in 2009/10 and have analysed the data in the hopes of improving the current green range for greater efficiency and the desired result of a smaller overall carbon footprint.
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