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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sure this has come up before, and I believe I have read similar arguments in the past about solar panels, but I didn't find anything in a brief search of the boards. How would you respond to the following? Is it true?


The Toyota Prius is the biggest crock of **** to come down the pike in years!

It gets about 50mpg from the gasoline it burns, but there is a MAJOR problem.

The energy needed to make the storage batteries EXCEEDS THE ENERGY SAVED BY THE FRIGGIN' CAR!

If you compare it to the most efficient Toyota conventionally powered car, which gets approx. 35mpg, the the Prius appears to save 15 mpg.

Over the 100000 mile life of the storage batteries (an optimistic assumption) that 15mpg equates to 857 gallons of gasoline saved.

The battery bank sells for approx. $5000
The energy to produce batteries is roughly 1/2 the cost, or $2500 worth of energy.

If we assume that Toyota pays the energy equivalent of $2500 of gasoline to produce the batteries (again a very generous assumption), then at current costs of $1.36 per gallon of gas, they just spent 1840 gallons of gasoline to save 857 gallons, or 1000 gallons of gasoline wasted.

So the actual mpg of the Prius is 2000gal, plus 1840 gallons to go 100000 miles, or
26 mpg!

Hell, I get better gas mileage than that in my VW bus!!!!
 

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The energy needed to make the storage batteries EXCEEDS THE ENERGY SAVED BY THE FRIGGIN' CAR!
I'm not sure where they got their information from. If they go their facts from anywhere at all.

Over the 100000 mile life of the storage batteries (an optimistic assumption) that 15mpg equates to 857 gallons of gasoline saved.
First, as far as I know, no one has had the batteries replaced for simply wearing out yet in the classic. They have been destroyed in accidents and other draining mishaps, but other than that, most of us expect the batteries to last well over 100,000 miles. They're just warrantied for 100K!

The battery bank sells for approx. $5000
The energy to produce batteries is roughly 1/2 the cost, or $2500 worth of energy.
Where did that figure come from? Is that for the retail cost of a battery or for the actual cost? And what kind of energy? Gas is not energy, it's fuel.

In the traditional model of overall cost of car ownership, the manufacture of the car accounts for 15% of the materials and energy. The rest is consumption of fuel and other repairs during its usable life (and then the waste that it creates when disposed of). I am not certain how the hybrid fits into this 15/85 model, but a recent MIT study has shown that a hybrid is far more efficient and has a lower overall footprint than a traditional car or diesel car.

Yes, creation of the actual car and the batteries requires energy and creates pollution. But there is something to be said for that pollution being created in concentrated and heavily controlled places - like factories. Air pollution in our cities causes huge health problems in addition to contributing to overall environmental problems.

There are some interesting and very readable articles on these topics at http://www.gristmagazine.com and the MIT study was cited at Discover Magazine (December) http://www.discover.com/issues/dec-03/r ... fuel-cell/.
 

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Sounds like ol' g shepherd's glass is half empty......
Glad everyone interested in the environment doesn't cling to his philosophy since there's more to the Prius than saving a gallon or two.....
 

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OK, first things first, the costings are wrong. The actual battery itself (ie not including the casing and attachments / accessories etc) comes to only ~$1,000 dollars for entire replacement, and that's not even wholesale. (see here)

Second, the major part of the cost of the battery comes not from the use of exotic materials that require vast amounts of energy to make them (as you could argue for an all aluminium body shell derived from non-recycled ore, for example) - it comes from the low volume, almost bespoke nature of the manufacturing. Nickel is not a difficult metal to refine, and neither are the other components of the battery, so in terms of actual raw materials, the NiMH battery in the Prius is not much more expensive than any other part of the car. Remember that the design of the Prius saves on a whole gearbox assembly (the powersplit device is much simpler and lighter than a traditional 5 speed), so probably saves as much metal here as it needs to make the battery.

In the future, as Toyota rolls out hybrids across the range, expect the price of the battery to drop dramatically once mass-manufacturing principles can be applied to it.
 

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So let's apply this guy's premises and assumptions to any automobile. Do you factor into your operational costs the energy required to mine the ore, make the iron, steel, aluminum, etc., manufacture the cloth fabric and plastic parts, the rubber for the tires, the window glass, the battery, and on and on? Oh, and how about production and development costs for the driver (gee, Mom, the hospital charged you *how* much for the delivery?). And you can't leave out the oil companies: how much does one of those gasoline pumps cost to design and manufacture?---not to mention salaries for the drivers who deliver the fuel to the stations.

Thinking this way will keep the accountants busy for years. Come to think of it, what does this guy do for a living anyway....?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks so much for your replies!

I'm not trolling---I should have been a little more clear in my original post that this quote didn't come out of my mouth. I pulled it off an unrelated forum. I'm a proud Prius owner of two years.

Your replies confirm many of the things I considered last night while thinking more about it:

-the guy's numbers are off regarding cost/price of the battery
-"fuel" doesn't mean "gas"
-it's better to concentrate pollution at a point source like a factory

Another point is that the Prius has very low emissions, even sacrificing some fuel efficiency to acheive it. Fuel efficiency isn't the whole picture.

I hadn't considered that, except for the batteries, the Prius might be cheaper to produce than a conventional car.

Anyway, thanks again!
 

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clett said:
I've been meaning to ask someone for ages - what does "trolling" mean?
A troll is someone who post something just to get a rise out of people. Sometimes they're really seriously deranged people who like to get into fights and other times they just like to provoke or play devil's advocate because they think that it's funny (or maybe they think they're making a point).

Sometimes "newbies" can be mistaken for trolls, which is sad for the newbie who gets flamed for asking what some may think are stupid questions.
 
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