Blowing a green horn
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.