Hybrids – Good for the Environment?

I have always wondered if Hybrids are really better for the environment. I know they save us in gas fumes from the battery pack that is in the vehicle. This saves the over all pollution in the air. The general concept is that the vehicle uses less gas by using the battery pack as energy to run the motor.

For people that don’t know what a Hybrid vehicle is - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Hybrid electric vehicle, increasingly common automobiles which employ both a traditional internal combustion engine and an electric motor/generators for provide motive force.

I currently work for a fleet leasing company and have seen a lot of new orders come in for the Hybrids. Every ordering cycle there are new hybrids being offered by the manufacturers. There are a lot of our customers that have started adapting a hybrid only policy. They will only allow their employees to order a Hybrid vehicle for gas savings and to provide cleaner air to the environment.

I just have always wondered what happens to the vehicle when it is time to be retired and sent to the junk yard. Will the battery packs be removed and if so can they be recycled? For instance in the Ford Escape Hybrids the battery pack is in the back of the vehicle, which is considered the trunk and close to the gas tank. This has always been a mystery to me. We might not have an answer for this yet as I haven’t seen many hybrid vehicles being taken to the junkyard yet.

I wonder if it might be a revloution in the future that car dealers pushed the hybrids on consumers and in the end the effects of the battery pack are worse for the environment then just driving a vehicle that used only gasoline. If anyone can answer this quesiton for me I would greatly appreciate it.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (16 votes)

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (16 votes)

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Recalling a controversy, I entered the phrase, "Hummer greener than Prius" using google search. Check out some of these to get a gist of the arguments.

I would love to see comments for or against after readers study both sides of the issue.

posted on Fri, 01/25/2008 - 5:33pm
art levine's picture
art levine says:

The below are from the EPA 2008 testing regimen

Toyota Prius City Hwy
4 cyl, 1.5 L, Automatic (variable gear ratios), Regular 48 45

Chevrolet Aveo 5
4 cyl, 1.6 L, Manual 5-spd, Regular 24 34

Hummer H3 4WD
8 cyl, 5.3 L, Automatic 4-spd, Regular 13 16

Any body tells you that the electric motor components are only good for 100,000 miles really has absolutely no idea about what they are talking about. I have personally seen 500hp electric motors under enormous loads started up and shut down repeatedly for over 20 years and with regular routine preventive maintenance they remain just as good as new.

oh yeah, and the electric motors start delivering 100% of their rated torque output the minute they are started.

as for the batteries, you really need to look into such things, nowhere that I am aware of are automobiles allowed to be disposed/crushed/shredded/recycled still containing batteries, fuels,or oils, and around here that includes tires too.

plain old lead acid batteries were bringing $8.00 each at the scrapyards a few weeks ago, at $10 you'll start hearing of them being stolen from parked cars..... that's the way to solve such problems, make everything mandatory to be recycled....

if you're worried about the "socialist" aspects of such, relax...... look into the recycling of lead and lead acid batteries, 98% of all lead in use in the USA is a recycled. America's greatest environmental success story....

posted on Sat, 01/26/2008 - 8:33am
JGuide's picture
JGuide says:

One factor that is not discussed in the articles is what kind of driving the owner does. If someone mainly drives in the city/around town, the gas savings will be significantly more than someone using the hybrid on highways.

And just like art says, the batteries can be recycled.

posted on Sun, 01/27/2008 - 7:00am
Camryfan's picture
Camryfan says:

from hybridcars.com:

"How often do hybrid batteries need replacing? Is replacement expensive and disposal an environmental problem?

The hybrid battery packs are designed to last for the lifetime of the vehicle, somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 miles, probably a whole lot longer. The warranty covers the batteries for between eight and ten years, depending on the car maker.

Battery toxicity is a concern, althoug today's hybrids use NiMH batteries, not the environmentally problematic rechargeable nickel cadmium. "Nickel metal hydride batteries are benign. They can be fully recycled," says Ron Cogan, editor of the Green Car Journal. Toyota and Honda say that they will recycle dead batteries and that disposal will pose no toxic hazards. Toyota puts a phone number on each battery, and they pay a $200 "bounty" for each battery to help ensure that it will be properly recycled.

There's no definitive word on replacement costs because they are almost never replaced. According to Toyota, since the Prius first went on sale in 2000, they have not replaced a single battery for wear and tear."

posted on Tue, 02/05/2008 - 7:33pm
hmoob_muas's picture
hmoob_muas says:

i think they are better then gas car

posted on Mon, 02/18/2008 - 11:51am
diamond2008's picture
diamond2008 says:

I think tha's a good idea so far

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 10:51am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

they are great

posted on Mon, 05/12/2008 - 10:59am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

ok, lots of people has been saying that Hybrids are not "American" like. i dont think the sameway. so ya

posted on Thu, 10/02/2008 - 12:06pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Hybrids can't even come close to high efficiency diesels, and
can't even compete with current (or old) technology diesels.


A 1979 VW Rabbit Diesel got up to 55 mpg (actual).
40 pmg was no problem even around town driving like a maniac.

posted on Thu, 10/16/2008 - 3:24pm
HybridLover's picture
HybridLover says:

hybrids would be better than cars, cars produces too many gases and damages the atmosphere

posted on Mon, 11/17/2008 - 12:34pm
readtwice's picture
readtwice says:

Its not an argument about just the car itself. It's arguing the whole product is bad because of how the material is made. Example: The factory that builds the batteries is fined every year for its damage to the environment. Shipping the batteries to four or five different countries. That is what makes the Prius bad for the environment.

posted on Fri, 11/21/2008 - 3:05am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I believe the concern is the factory behind it, not the technology itself.
The handling of the factory is not done well, which is then the manufacturer should play their part in pressuring the supplier to make sure their waste handling is done properly.
If Toyota keeps on silent on this, then it is a bad thing.

posted on Fri, 12/18/2009 - 4:47am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Hi, my name is Nino and I am writing a high school research paper for my College English course on the inefficiency of hybrids and how environmentally friendly they actually are (specifically due to the battery). We are suppose to conduct a mandatory interview with a well researched individual via phone or e-mail and I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me out or direct me to someone who can. I would just like to ask you a few questions about the construction which would greatly help out my case. So if you could write back to me as soon as possible that would be great, Thanks!

posted on Wed, 12/03/2008 - 11:52pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

You might try AFS Trinity that I wrote about (click link to read). Follow the "press release" link at the bottom to get to their web site then click the "contact" link on the upper right corner of their web page for an e-mail address.

posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 11:32am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Hey Nino, I am doing a similar paper and am wondering what your interviewing and research has brought you if you get this please reply I am not finding very many sources.


posted on Mon, 11/30/2009 - 12:51am
Dylan Bergman's picture
Dylan Bergman says:

Does nobody know about the Nickel plant in Sudbury Ontario where Toyota get its nickel from for their "efficiant" cars? Not only is there a barren wasteland surrounding trhe plant, but Nasa even uses this site to test moon rovers because the land is most like that of the moon. A Toyota Prius has an average life of only 107,000 miles while a Hummer has an average life of 375,000 miles. Also, to make the batteries for the Prius, it must be shipped all the way around the world, using more gas than if u would have just bought a regular gasoline car. Its very hipocritical of Toyota to promote a "green" environment when they cant even do it themselves.

posted on Wed, 04/01/2009 - 9:03am
ThomasD's picture
ThomasD says:

Any body tells you that the electric motor components are only good for 100,000 miles really has absolutely no idea about what they are talking about. I have personally seen 500hp electric motors under enormous loads started up and shut down repeatedly for over 20 years and with regular routine preventive maintenance they remain just as good as new.bumpers

posted on Fri, 04/30/2010 - 3:12pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

hybrids will take the world in 20 years perhaps

posted on Tue, 11/30/2010 - 12:19pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0jmvdh.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options