Blow­ing a green horn

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

GREEN cars, greener cars and the green­est cars are gen­er­at­ing a lot of dis­cus­sion. We’re not into the ze­roe­mis­sion era yet, but many car­mak­ers are do­ing their best to ac­cel­er­ate the change and push­ing their so­lu­tion as the best one.

BMW says it’s all about ef­fi­cient dy­nam­ics.

Mini be­lieves its baby diesel is the green pace-set­ter.

Honda has plans for a huge fam­ily of hy­brids. And then there is Toy­ota . . . I have al­ready driven the endgame pro­to­type from Brand T, a hy­dro­gen-pow­ered fuel cell ve­hi­cle, but Toy­ota is still push­ing hy­brids and is about to un­cork a new Prius as its bench­mark.

So it’s no sur­prise the world’s largest car­maker also has gone on the of­fen­sive af­ter the slurs, ques­tions and doubts raised by its ri­vals in the lead-up to the new Prius.

‘‘There ap­pears to be a gap in knowl­edge or un­der­stand­ing of the com­plex is­sues sur­round­ing al­ter­na­tive fuel ve­hi­cles and hy­brids,’’ Toy­ota Aus­tralia spokesman Mike Breen says.

‘‘We would like to clar­ify the sit­u­a­tion, es­pe­cially with re­gard to Toy­ota hy­brids.’’

Breen points out that the life­cy­cle im­pact of a Prius — it’s cra­dle-to-crave CO2 pro­duc­tion — is sub­stan­tially less than that from an equiv­a­lent-sized petrolpow­ered ve­hi­cle. It gets ahead of a petrol car af­ter only 20,000km and even un­der­cuts the CO2 emis­sions of a diesel.

On the bat­tery front, Toy­ota Aus­tralia says it has re­placed only a hand­ful, de­spite sell­ing more than 15,000 hy­brids in the past eight years. And some bat­tery packs have de­liv­ered more than 400,000km in taxis in Cairns.

The bat­tery cost is $3050 in­clud­ing fit­ting, a price Toy­ota claims is cheaper than the parts in many cars.

What about re­cy­cling of hy­brid bat­ter­ies?

‘‘We have had a re­cy­cling pro­gram in place since 2001. We also have a hy­brid-car dis­man­tling man­ual for the car-re­cy­cling in­dus­try,’’ Breen says.

We’re sure Honda will have its own good-news story for the all­new In­sight.

Then there is the BMW 7-Se­ries diesel. Far­ther into the fu­ture, there are hy­brids from Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, and the first of the mass-pro­duc­tion fuel-cell cars . . .

Clar­i­fi­ca­tion: Toy­ota has gone on the of­fen­sive in the lead-up to re­leas­ing its new Prius.

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