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Considered a Prius

It looks like I went through about the same thought process as many others. Prius was not readily available, The TDI people wanted a premium over sticker. I bought a Mini and am very happy. It is of very high quality. I was intrigued with the Prius, but I one thing bothers me. It seems that many owners talk of their decision based on more on anger and self-righteous moral and intellectural superiority over larger-car drivers than their love of driving. If I felt that way, I would be contemptuous of Prius drivers when I use my primary transportation, my motorcycle, which gets 65mph and has a very low environmental impact.

The Mini uses a 1.3 liter engine, gets 35mpg, and it may still be on the road in thirty or forty years, like it's antecedents, because I won't have to make a life or recycle decision whether to buy new batteries or not every five to eight years (and add old batteries to the landfill).

If your mathematicians amortize your battery costs as a consumable, even if Toyota pays for them, you wouldn't compare quite so favorably to the Humvee. Just some thoughts :D , Thank you for listening.
 

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Thanks Frenchie

Thanks Frenchie for the civil response. There seem to be at least three environmental issues. Reducing the rate of use of fossil fuels, air pollution, and greenhouse gasses.

It seems the epa has taken a dim view of diesel motors as contributors of poor air quality in local environments. Particulates are a problem of diesel engines, but on the other hand, they serve a valuable use in encapsulating the more harmful elements of exhaust emission.

Typically a soot particle will travel less than a hundred yards where it falls to the ground to be reduced by naturally occurring microbes. If not freed by secondary burning, such as brush fires, those components will never enter the environment.

According to the site you referenced, higher gas mileage means lower emissions. My 600cc motorcycle gets 65 mpg at 65mph. It is well maintained and I assume the environmental impact is low. It uses less oil, rubber, and requires less infrastructure.

I hope the batteries last a very long time. I am a believer in technology. It is the clever technical design that keeps hydrogen from the batteries from concentrating, possibly turning the driver into a screaming fireball. When the batteries are properly used, there is every indication they will perform for a long time at some level.

(Do the guys who turn the A/C off to get that great mileage know that the cooled cabin air is part of the system that keeps the batteries within a fairly narrow optimum operating range?).

Other cars have engines and gearboxes, but you do too. The Prius is a decent mileage car when gasoline powered, but uses batteries to exploit certain efficiencies. It seems fair to amortize the expense of these items when comparing the added mileage. Whether eight years or twelve, the Prius is a disposable item. Batteries have improved immensely in the last few years, but haven't gotten cheaper, well, ever. When they are dead, or aren't performing as well as you wish, you may get the opportunity to buy the car again. Obviously we all hope technology makes giant strides and this does not become an issue.

When you take you batteries to the recycle center, the process has only begun. They are hazardous waste and have to be deconstructed properly and unusable parts discarded. If many people used them, they would be a more significant environmental hazard.

I am sorry to hear I am not a typical Prius buyer, I was responding to a couple of people who were considering the same cars I was. I am also concerned that not all of your group usually feel concerned about the environment. I know that must be a burden on the few that do.
 

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got me

You got me. Sometimes battery prices do come down. Especially compared to prices during development. I just checked the price of the battery on my VAIO laptop. It is still expensive, but less expensive. As an EV enthusiast, I certainly hope they do come down.

I think the optimists' view is well represented in this recent industry report.

http://www.epri.com/corporate/discover_ ... 03_ev.html


If the batteries can be applied very widely in large quantities, not only will the prices be less, but disposal technologies will improve. If the industry isn't overshadowed by fuel cell application, lots of dollars and creative energy can be put into battery research. If a great new battery isn't invented that is on the expensive part of its development when its needed , the owner may decide not to discard his Prius. Maybe.
 

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thankyou Frenchie

Thanks Frenchie, for the information in the Panasonic battery, and your thoughtful response.

You are incorrect about hydrogen not being a safety issue. Even the site you referenced mentions Hydrogen can be produced faster than it can be recombined, but please chece the following report for a second opinion.

It is an interesting paper in general.

http://www.ctts.nrel.gov/BTM/pdfs/2a_2002_01_1962.pdf

Thermal Evaluation of Toyota Prius Battery Pack from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory under the section "pack thermal management"

As for particulate emisions in diesel engines, I hope that can be dealt with by filters in the future but certainly are a problem now. Exposure is worse in big European cities than out here in the open plains of the American west. You folks should reconsider your unhealthy lifestyle :D .

There is another side of the story, however. I wish I knew a better reference, but this review is supported by other sources.

http://www.visionengineer.com/mech/diesel_engines.shtml

"When the particulates emitted by diesel engines are collected and weighed, they are found to have more mass than those emitted by gasoline engines. This has prompted many critics to term diesels as dirty engines.

Studies done around 1999 have shown that gasolines also emitt as many particulates as diesels [in terms of number]. However, these are much smaller in size and have been overlooked prior to this discovery. In reality, particulates from diesels are easily filtered out by our lungs because of their size. It is particulates from gasolines that penetrate deep into our lungs and cause health problems."

If it is proven that particulates from gasoline are also carcinogenic and mutagenic as the particles from diesel are suspected to be, then the EPA will eventually have to realign their list.

If Prius has obviated concern for these particles, one more for the team.

Your transmission is a transmission. It is a box with a gearset in it. I suspect it functions much like the constantly variable transmission offered in the Mini Cooper.

On high gas mileage/greenhouse gasses. I assume that high gas mileage means efficient ignition. I assume efficient combustion means fewer emisions aggravated by inefficient combustion. Beyond that, for similar sized engines, I think that EPA list is a Consumer Report on catalytic converters. I admit ignorance and I can cite nothing to support the suspicion.

Finally more waste is a bigger hazard than less waste. Yes, we will deal with it.
 
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