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  1. #11
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    Toyota them selves list the Prius's live expectancy at 100k miles. this is a little scary, but batteries and electrical motor wear are the big limiting factors. The average car starter goes out around 100-150k miles, and that is a smaller, more simple version of what’s on the Prius... An Electric Motor that turns mechanical parts.

    If you are realy for saving the environment, you would look at things like how much energy it takes to recycle. There is a reason they are willing to pay you for aluminum and not for paper or plastic after all, because it takes less energy to recycle aluminum then it does to dig out and process the bauxite into aluminum... hence, they pay you for their savings in energy. Paper, plastic, and most things people recycle, uses more energy to recycle then it saves.

    Also, if you were REALY REALY for saving the environment, you would not buy a hybrid at all. what you would do would be perhaps, buy a a Salvaged automobile and repair it? instead of re-processing the material for a huge energy loss, you would Re-Use the entire thing. In one action, you would do more for the environment then you could ever do with a lifetime of recycling Aluminum cans (the one thing that takes less energy to recycle remember).

    Or perhaps instead of spending 20k on a Prius, you would spend 5k on a used economy car, and spend 15k in a donation to an environmental organization... which I don't believe is a good choice, looking at the sizes of most of their "non profit" headquarters...

    bottom line, you actually have to think for your self when it comes to doing good for the environment. I have several cars...

    01 Pontiac Trans Am with 350 wheel horse power (which believe it or not, kids, is an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle. Look it up.)
    95 Chevy Tahoe (with 290k miles, doesn't burn any oil)
    04 Pontiac Grand Prix Supercharged
    99 Dodge Neon (purchased the shell of the car on its way to be crushed, and am rebuilding it using parts from other cars)
    93 Chevy Cavalier (purchased with engine problems, the owner was going to junk it. Its running fine now)

    So, you can see, even though I own alot of vehicles that burn a reasonable amount of dead dinos (the trans am gets about 16mpg the way I drive it) There is far more to think about when it comes to the Environment then just how much gas it uses...

    Otherwise you are like one of those suckers who thinks CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas. (Water Vapor accounts for about 80% of the greenhouse effect, yet some think hydrogen cars that exhaust nothing but "harmless water vapor are grand). You need to look this stuff up for your selves... and don't be so quick to claim "oh, they are just a stooge for the automotive industry" or "big oil." Otherwise, every time someone brings out something published by an environmental group, you need to point out that group's extreme Bias as well. its best to look at all the data and come up with your own conclusion, not to ignore data because you don't like what it says.

    so, perhaps you should look at purchasing a salvaged Chevy Tahoe instead of that brand new Prius next time eh?

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  3. #12

    driving old while waiting for something better

    Quote Originally Posted by zeeboid View Post
    The average car starter goes out around 100-150k miles, and that is a smaller, more simple version of what’s on the Prius... An Electric Motor that turns mechanical parts.
    This isn't completely correct. Modern electric traction motors such as propel the Prius are much simpler mechanically than old fashioned starter motors. Brushes have been eliminated in the modern traction motors so there is far less wear on them. Until the 'planned obsolescence' folks at the auto makers do a bit more work, the electric motors are likely to last a lot longer than anything else on the car since the only moving parts are the bearings. The complex electronics that enable brushless motors shouldn't go bad if they're designed right but we can't be sure of them. Just look at how the auto manufacturers botched up the early EFI modules in the '80's.
    I also ride the fence on buying and refurbishing old cars versus buying new ones. If we got more new, efficient cars out in the world and ran them longer, it might be better than running all the old, inefficient ones.
    On the other hand, my assumption is that newer cars will be even more efficient that today's so I, too, continue to drive an old car while I wait for the really good stuff to come out. This also saves me money so I'll be able to pay the premium to reward the auto manufacturers when they finally do produce something that lives up to my standards of efficiency and performance.

  4. #13
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    mechanics, climate change, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by zeeboid View Post
    Also, if you were REALY REALY for saving the environment, you would not buy a hybrid at all. what you would do would be perhaps, buy a a Salvaged automobile and repair it?
    Alternatively, if you are the kind of person who is going to buy new, and you're not the kind of person who remakes cars, then isn't it better that you buy a car with an overall lesser environmental impact (all else remaining equal) than what you might purchase otherwise? I think the answer is definitively 'yes' (whether a particular hybrid model fits that bill or not — in the short term, I may indeed be doing alright by driving my used '95 Honda Accord into the ground).

    Quote Originally Posted by zeeboid View Post
    Otherwise you are like one of those suckers who thinks CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas. (Water Vapor accounts for about 80% of the greenhouse effect, yet some think hydrogen cars that exhaust nothing but "harmless water vapor are grand). You need to look this stuff up for your selves...
    I believe that, at least in the electrolysis version of the hydrogen fuel cell, there is no net increase in water, since the process consumes water to begin with, but admit that I'm not certain. [Combustion also produces water vapor, but according to one group of experts, this is "105 times smaller than the natural hydrological cycle" - Science, Nov. 21, 2003]

    CO2 gets the most attention, I think, for two reasons: (1) prior to the industrial revolution, it was sequestered safely in the earth; and (2) it's more persistent than other greenhouse gases (e.g. methane).

    IOW, the human activity of transferring that CO2 from the ground into the atmosphere is deemed the major culprit of the current global warming trend (but I'm no authority on these matters).

    Jason

  5. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeeboid View Post
    Paper, plastic, and most things people recycle, uses more energy to recycle then it saves.
    I'm curious where you learned this information cause I always wondered about that, which was better, have it recycled or recycle it myself (use it for a mulch or something idk)

    Could you give a reference to that information?

  6. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeeboid View Post
    Toyota them selves list the Prius's live expectancy at 100k miles.
    I do not know where you got that information and cannot claim what Toyota list as life expectancy but I can say that my Prius has a factory waranty of 160 000 km (100 000 miles) on all hybrid components. I would certainly assume that the life expectancy is somewhat longer than the factory warranty.

    With respect to the Dust to Dust article. Did they use US gasoline prices in order to come up with the cost?

    I drive 40 000 km per year in my Prius and the monthly cost in gasoline is about $150,- Before I purchased the Prius I drove my Cherokee 4.0l HO the same distance per year. Driving the Cherokee I paid per week in gasoline what I now pay per month using the Prius.

    With the very low (in comparison to most other countries) gasoline prices in the US, it is actually affordable to drive a Hummer. Today, I have to pay $2 per liter of gasoline. I do not think that many people could afford driving an 8 mpg vehicle with that price.

    Have a great Easter

  7. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCM View Post
    Alternatively, if you are the kind of person who is going to buy new, and you're not the kind of person who remakes cars, then isn't it better that you buy a car with an overall lesser environmental impact (all else remaining equal) than what you might purchase otherwise? I think the answer is definitively 'yes' (whether a particular hybrid model fits that bill or not — in the short term, I may indeed be doing alright by driving my used '95 Honda Accord into the ground).
    But you see, according to the Dust to Dust report, the Hybrids do not have a lesser environmental impact. They have a greater impact. The recycling of the batteries for example is not easy for the environment or for the wallet.

    As far as asking for a refrence to the whole "Recycling is wasteful" thing...
    Rinsing out tuna cans and tying up newspapers may make you feel virtuous, but recycling could be America's most wasteful activity

    So as I said... the prius may make you feel good, but if you are trying to realy help the environment (which is always the big arguement of the hybrids) you would be better off buying a Jeep Wrangler, or Sion Xb or Dodge Neon (or any of the cars on the top 10 list of the Dust to Dust report).

  8. #17
    Zeeboid,
    Clearly you've drunk the koolaid and likely, you'll die no sooner than the rest of us even though we're working to delay that day. I know you feel good about yourself, however, you need to read the report with a bit more scrutiny and see that it is simply a biased piece of trash carefully crafted by an auto industry shill to make hybrids look bad.
    If you took that Jeep Wrangler or Scion Xb, and put in a hybrid drivetrain, you'd find it would stack up well above it's pure ICE counterpart if you use the study's criteria.
    Therefore, by buying a hybrid vehicle today, in addition to reducing your ecological footprint today, you're also encouraging the auto manufacturers to put hybrid drive trains in ALL their vehicles. This will have a huge impact on the planet's future.

  9. #18
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    ex-EV1 driver, your skepticism is well placed, but your observations can be accurately explained.

    The reason why non hybrid vehicles are anticipated to last longer and drive further is because they do. SUVs and trucks are built stronger, and their larger engines have longer life-spans. The same for the difference between a standard Honda Civic or a Hybrid Civic. The standard will last longer and drive further because of the simplicity of its parts (engine and drive train). In hybrids, the batteries are a HUGE liability, in terms of life-expectancy. They are expensive to produce and need replacing sooner.

    Do you own "rechargeable batteries"? They loose their charge capacity over time.

    It doesn't surprise me that large SUVs have a lower life-time cost than a new hybrid. Their technology is perfected and has been around much longer. I suspect that as hybrid technology continues to develop these ratios will change.

    For the time being, however, it's quite possible that that Hybrid you love is worse for the environment than a Ford Escalade...

    My other comment on this study, is that it illustrates the extreme difficulty of assessing the cost of environmental impact. It's voo-doo at best.

    If you want to have an impact, reduce, reuse and recycle... And support continued new energies development. It's the best you can really do. ... and you should approach those selling "environmental solutions" with the same skepticism as you would a snake oil salesman.

    I'm sure those florescent bulbs consume less energy, but they're loaded with Mercury, and other pollutants that incandescent bulbs aren't. Your best bet is to turn of lights when you leave the room... and go to bed earlier. Sunlight is free.

  10. #19
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    One more comment: pure electrical vehicles in the 1970s had the same problem... they exported the polution impact to power plants, had short lives, and were expensive to manufacture.

    Again, some of this technology is relatively new and will be perfected over time. I saw an article not long ago about guys tweaking their hybrids to make them more efficient... same as muscle cars in the 1950s and 1960s seeking more horsepower.

    When the technology gets better, it will become less expensive, and have a lower environmental impact.

    Environmentalist are banging the drum of understanding the "true costs" of our consumption... well, here's a report that tries to figure that out... and some people here are appaplectic about it.

    Rather than attack the report, do your own research or find a better way.

  11. #20
    Chestnut,
    Thanks for working on balancing my posts. If my position can't stand up to scrutiny then I need to adjust my position accordingly. I do, however, still feel that my position is more right than wrong whereas the dust-to-dust article is clearly more wrong than right - and as such is very dangerous.
    While I agree with your assessment that trucks may have longer lives than passenger cars because of the second utility life that they have after they are no longer comfortable nor aesthetically pleasing, this does not fully justify the assements of the article.
    Your suggestion that "SUVs and trucks are built stronger, and their larger engines have longer life-spans. The same for the difference between a standard Honda Civic or a Hybrid Civic. " while seemingly true from the outside does not apply to hybrids. The electric portion of the drive train takes much of the strain off of the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and (barring infant mortality issues with a new design) should enable the hybrid engine to run much longer than a pure ICE. There's also the question as to whether you are assuming that the heavy steel in the truck comes from recycled metal or includes the smelting from ore. If the assumption is made that the aluminum alloys and copper used in hybrids comes from raw ore, then it would require extensively more energy than recycled steel, however, once many hybrids have cycled off of the road then the amount of already recycled aluminum in the 'system' will equalize out, just as it has for automotive steel.
    This attack may also be geared toward the passenger automobile in general as consumers seem to be more willing to get rid of their lovely automobiles a lot faster than industry gets rid of their trucks so perhaps it isn't fair to judge they hybrid drivetrain but rather the planned obsolescence in the car industry and the buyers who embrace it. It doesn't address the reason that the pure ICE Civic lasts longer than the hybrid.

    Regarding your suggestion that "The standard will last longer and drive further because of the simplicity of its parts (engine and drive train)." This is pure prejudice (phobia?) toward new things and is not based upon any understanding of how today's hybrids work. The Honda hybrid drivetrain simply puts an electric motor on the same drive shaft as the ICE to provide assist. This is extremely simple. The Toyota and Ford have a very simple planetary gear arrangement to combine the power from the ICE and electric motor that is similiar to a traditional differential. When was the last time you had to replace or rebuild your differential?
    I'll willingly grant that the battery is the weak link in a hybrid or pure electric vehicle, however, remember that battery technology has been improving about 10% per year over the past 3 decades and the price has been dropping about the same amount. This means that if you drive about 12K miles/year (about average), you will reach 120K miles in 10 years. During that time a $5000 battery (new) will only cost ~$2000 and the new one will perform better (possibly longer unless the planned obsolescence engineers have been successful). Given the current hybrid designs, it isn't likely, however that most batteries will need replacing until the 150Kto 200K point anyway so this really shouldn't be much of a problem.
    "Do you own "rechargeable batteries"? They lose their charge capacity over time. " I may come from a bit of an advantage here since professionally, I've been a whole lot closer to the rechargable battery business than most. There certainly is a loss of capacity in rechargable batteries over time and usage, however, this is a fairly well understood issue and doesn't have to be quite as bad as the junk we see in consumer electronics where there is some benefit to making the products die after a few years so that the consumer will have to replace them. Battery capacity and lifetime issues are one of the main reasons that today's hybrids get such paltry improvement over their pure ICE counterparts since the algorithms are biased to minimize the battery use and maximize the ICE. This is also a reason that plug-in hybrids pose such an engineering challenge. From the looks of things, however, newer battery and other energy storage technologies will solve most of these problems.
    Now, 2 things I'll beg you to retract:
    1. "The reason why non hybrid vehicles are anticipated to last longer and drive further is because they do." This isn't a fair statement. Hybrids have only been on the road for about 6 years. Very few have gone out of service and most are still in active use.

    2. Your badly mis-informed statement that pure electric vehicles . . . "exported the polution impact to power plants". This is patently untrue (and it was in the '70's as well). The extreme efficiency of the pure electric drivetrain (85 - 90%) and the efficiencies of the stationary power plant (50 - 75%), coupled with the efficiency of the power grid (greater than 90%) compared with the horrible (~20% or less) efficiency of the automobile ICE makes the plug-in electric drivetrain a much lower polluter (overall system). Even assuming the electricity is generated completely from the oldest, inefficient dirty coal plants, the pollution caused by running a plug-in electric is about the same as today's hybrids. Of course, with the traditional mix of cleaner and more efficient power plants that is in actual use across our country, the plug-in electric is much cleaner than any automobile using an ICE.
    I applaud your suggestion that we should REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE, in that order (I independantly coined that exact phrase myself about 25 years ago) and that "environmentalists" who think that they can simply buy a hybrid and a few CO2 credits without having to do anything else are just greenwashed and not helping anything. I'll add to your concern with Compact Flourescents Lights (CFL) that they may not save any energy during the winter if the heat is on since the only waste from an incandescent is in heat and that offsets the house's heating system. The only energy savings that a CFL offers is if the heat generated by an incandescent is not used or is wasted (as with some recessed lights). Overall, however, I believe that CFL's are slightly better than incandescents but they aren't as great as their face value would indicate.
    By the way, I'm not a drum banging environmentalist, rather, I'm a conservative engineer who has done a lot of research. I highly encourage everyone to do their own, independent research as well since the amount of literature generated by snake oil salesmen and buggy-whip preservers greatly exceeds the amount of rational thought. This is mostly because of the money to be made there versus the money to be made from the truth.
    Thanks for the rational arguments that help keep me honest.

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