The Toyota Prius has been one of the most driven cars by Hollywood movie stars and green lovers. Even I would love to drive one, and I’m not much of star myself. The advertisements of low CO2 emissions and low fuel consumption are tempting enough to take you to the showroom and buy one.
Actually, the things with the Prius are not so beautiful as they seem. Yes, it does have lower emissions than other cars, but there are also those naysayers concluding that the Prius has a higher impact on the environment than some other cars you don’t see over-appreciated in commercials about how little fuel they sip, or how small the emissions are.
The Prius scored worse than average in emissions of nonmethane hydrocarbons and particulate matter. The company defended itself saying that these are because it’s difficult producing hybrid parts (motors, inverters and mostly nickel metal hydride batteries) without much pollution, since their production requires lots of energy.
Only the materials manufacturing phase took the Prius down on the boards, because it was better than average in lifetime emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide.
In fact, a report had already been published in 2007, and it was called “D2D”, or dust-to-dust, which stated that a Prius would pollute more than a Hummer H1 during its entire lifetime. The report had been proven, however, false, since much of the data contained inside had been exaggerated, with the authors having considered the Prius as having a 12-year lifespan and overestimating a Hummer to a 35 year usage.
Anyway, Toyota seems to have heard all of these speculations and calculations about their cars and agrees to rethink the way their future models will be built and the materials’ sources.
A report on the D2D study is available here.