Vast wastelands around the nickel mines

The Recorder — We covered one aspect of this in the blog in 2006 and newer information backing up the seemingly ludicrous notion that the Hummer is environmentally more sound that the Prius. I wouldn’t own a Hummer because it is a clunker that is too darn big. It seems to be brought up time after time as a screwball example of why the Prius is a scam. In this report someone finally mentions real economy cars such as the Scion. Hybrids may actually be an environmental disaster if the reports in and around the nickel mining operations in Ontario are true. But the hybrid is trendy and hip.

Through a study by CNW Marketing called “Dust to Dust,” the total combined energy is taken from all the electrical, fuel, transportation, materials (metal, plastic, etc) and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime of a vehicle. The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles – the expected lifespan of the Hybrid.

The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles. That means the Hummer will last three times longer than a Prius and use less combined energy doing it.

So, if you are really an environmentalist – ditch the Prius. Instead, buy one of the most economical cars available – a Toyota Scion xB. The Scion only costs a paltry $0.48 per mile to put on the road. If you are still obsessed over gas mileage – buy a Chevy Aveo and fix that lead foot.

related link:
Old post on Hummer versus Prius
Biggest source of Acid-rain



  1. its a german car [sic] says:

    Also, since its german it will never break down or require any major work.

    [sic]

    Ha. Haha. Ahh, hahahahaha. That’s pretty darned funny. Never break down, no major work, etc. Right.

    Just what I need — a car with 12 moving parts in the gas cap that’s engineered in Germany and assembled in Mexico.

    Before you tell Americans to get an education, why don’t you go to school and learn basic grammar, spelling, capitalization, contractions and punctuation?

    Get you act together [sic]

  2. julieb says:

    The flaw here is the expected lifespans. The Hybrid will last much more than 100,000 miles and the Hummer will not last 300,000.

  3. BubbaRay says:

    #32, JulieB, I doubt the hybrid will last much more than 100K miles with the original battery assembly, and I certainly wouldn’t want to pay to replace it. At 100K miles, a new battery assembly could be worth more than the car.

    In NYC, Lincoln limos last well over 500K miles, some as much as 1M according to a friend who drives one, so I can certainly believe the 300K mile life expectancy of a Hummer.

    Just my 2 cents (3 new gold dollars) worth.

    #33, Montag, yes, what you said!

  4. jim h says:

    TIZ_HO #22, I’m honored but I can’t take full credit for “the stupidest thing [you’ve] read in a long time.” The idea came from Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse” which I highly recommend.

    He doesn’t suggest buying “green” products that are obviously phohy, but explains the powereful, incremental affect of consumers beginning to choose, for example, lumber marked as coming from sustainable sources. It forces giant retailiers like Home Depot to start tightening the screws on their vendors.

  5. Janky-o says:

    So who’s paying the $300,000 beyond what I paid for the car? I volunteer to pay the $7500 for the 2500 gallons of gas it will take me there, and I will pay another $1000 for the 30 or so oil changes it will take to get there. That leaves over $290,000 that SOMEBODY is going to have to pay. Ain’t me.

  6. Mark Derail says:

    The technology inherent in the Prius can be reused to make current cars less polluting.

    It’s called a PZEV exhaust system.

    For most brand new cars, it’s an extra 500$, and can reduce by 90% airborne pollutants.

    As for my Prius, Toyota warranties the battery and drivetrain 10 years & 150,000 miles who else gives such a warranty?

    For the 1 million Prius on the road, the total amount of Nickel used from the Sudbury mines is less than 1%, so the mine pollution is a straw man argument.

    Plus the NiMH Prius battery, like all NiMH batteries, are recycled, the nickel can be re-extracted.

    #36 – than 290,000$ – you, and every tax payer, are paying for it. Domestic gas/oil is heavily subsidized by the governments, using your income tax money.

    Conclusion – the best drivetrain is diesel generator, electric motors inside the wheels.
    With or without batteries.

    Toyota did not do that, opting for something cheaper and more convenient.

    GM Volt does not do that, have opted for a single electric motor connected to a transmission. To keep costs down.

    If the Volt is ever released – 2013 is the new year number – it will be a nice compromise of gas & batteries.

    Meanwhile, LiON kits for my Prius – it’s next upgrade, is coming down in price.

    So in 2010 I will have a fully electric car for sub 50MPH and 50+ mile range, for less than 5K$.

    Oh, I still have my petrol engine, meaning unlimited freedom – THREE years ahead of GM’s Volt.

  7. Gareth Thomas says:

    #31, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz are renowned for their build quality. And are infact not built in Mexico.

    I didn’t know I needed to fully punctuate, and grammatically correct my posts but in future I will since that would seem to be the way to get shouted at. Not because of an opinion but because of an aesthetic.

    My education tought me enough to know where Germany is on a map and that a view is more important than how it is presented. What did yours teach you? it would seem only to critise without knowledge, and the inability to use your real name.

  8. hhopper says:

    Hummers aren’t quite as tough as they might appear.

  9. Mister Catshit says:

    #38, Mister Thomas,

    German build quality is a myth

    In it’s latest survey released in August, the UK-based consumer magazine Which? gave VW bad marks, putting it in the lowest “poor” category, a position it has now held for two years. Mercedes-Benz, which used to be in the top “best” category has steadily slipped two notches into the “average” category. Audi, once judged to be “good,” is now considered “poor,” and BMW has gone from “good” to “poor.”

    Other surveys, including that of US-based J.D. Power and Associates, show comparable results. While BMW faired better, with only 264 problems per 1,000 vehicles — above the 269 industry average, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, with 295 and 327 problems per 1,000 vehicles respectively, scored well below the average. Volkswagen, with 386 problems reported per 1,000 vehicles, was near the bottom of the list.

    BMW has a plant in South Carolina. Volkswagen is in Puebla, Mexico. They used to own a plant in Pennsylvania but closed it due to poor sales due to poor quality. The cars were assembled from German imported parts. Mercedes Benz has a plant in Mexico as well and a plant in Alabama.

  10. Mister Catshit says:

    Oopps, I messed up the link. The quote comes from the German Magazine DW-World, English Edition.

    http://tinyurl.com/2433tk

  11. BubbaRay says:

    #37, Mark,

    Oh, I still have my petrol engine, meaning unlimited freedom – THREE years ahead of GM’s Volt.

    My nephew sure likes his Prius.

    That 150 kilomile warranty makes one heck of a difference. Is it prorated?

  12. Mark Derail says:

    I don’t know about the prorated part – http://www.priuschat.com is a good resource, they have a few threads on the subject.

    What’s important to know – why a Nickel Hydride battery?

    – No memory
    – Quick charge and discharge
    – Never fully discharge the battery

    The Prius software keeps the battery between half to full over 75% of the time.

    This allows the battery to have a longer than usual lifespan.

    LiON has more energy density, however, has other problems.

    Using air or hydraulic fluid under pressure in a special tank as a storage medium, is quite costly.

    What sold me on the Prius, is the base price + Plug-In Full-Electric, is cheaper than ALL commercial EV’s available today.
    Plus :
    – cheaper than full EV’s
    – Seats 4 or 5
    – Hatchback
    – 60/40 folding back seats
    – Heating system
    – AC system

    If you want confort & luxury, Lexus or Camry.
    If you want 4×4, Ford Escape (same technology).

    What I don’t like about the Honda Civic hybrid, is no back folding seats, and the gas motor & electric motor are in-line.
    Both have to always spin. At red lights.

    So the Civic Hybrid does great on the highway, but can never be upgraded to Plug-In hybrid, like the Ford Escape or Prius can.

    Most “fancy” hybrids not using Toyota’s drive train are “in-line” meaning a smaller gas motor with electric assist.

    Toyota’s tech is better, and the future Volt should be better, since the gas motor is a pure generator, not a power assist.

    Sure a regular economy car, half the price of the Prius, getting 35Mpg or better with Manual 5-speed transmission, sounds like the better option.
    – economy cars rarely last 10+ years as-is
    – factor in all costs and rising fuel price
    – how much to “upgrade” to EV?

    So if you want to go EV eventually, the choice is clear. If you don’t care about EV, wait.

    Best advice, keep your old car if you can’t afford a real hybrid. Keep it tuned. Pay for quality tires.

  13. hhopper says:

    Quality tires! Yes! I just bought a new set of tires for my Toyota Sienna mini-van and my mileage went up 5 mpg! Unbelievable!

  14. BubbaRay says:

    Too late to post again, but what the heck. I have no data on the “quality tire” aspect, but there is data on keeping proper tire inflation. That can have a marked influence on mpg.

    I suspect the “quality” difference could be due to radial structure, sidewall strength, rubber composition, etc.

  15. RickCain says:

    Hummers lasting to 300K miles? Do rich people even keep one that long before buying another.

    Nowadays even the crappiest $6000 KIA cars last 200,000+ miles. I sold mine off at 135K and as far as I know its still running.

    The oil industry doesn’t want electric cars. Thats basically handing all their business over to the coal and nuclear energy guys, no incentive there. The only real long range driving I do is on the occasional trip and my commute, but the commute is still well within an electric car’s range. I just wished they electric car makers would design something that doesn’t look like they smoked some PCP before drawing its shape.

  16. Paul Scott says:

    I’ve been driving a fully electric Toyota RAV4 EV for over 5 years and some 55,000 miles. This vehicle has needed exactly zero maintenance so far. The NiMH battery pack is still providing a full 120+ miles per charge and the vehicle runs exactly the same as the day I got it.

    We have several hundred of these RAVs in California, and a few dozen others spread around the country. All of them have experienced very little need for repairs or maintenance.

    A recent survey found that 48% of EV owners in California use solar PV to generate the power for their cars and homes. This contrasts with the less than 1% of the general public who use solar. The savings when using solar are significant. My electric bill for the past 5 years is less than $300. That’s for both the car and my house. Add up what you paid for electricity for the past 5 years and what you paid for gas for the past 5 years. I paid less than $300 for the lot of it.

    Several of these RAVs from Toyota have passed 100,000 miles and one is over 135,000 miles. The battery packs are still going strong. The new Lithium batteries are promising to be even better.

    Fully electric cars are quite viable now. We only need to demand that the car makers build them and offer them for sale.

    For the full story on why these cars were made in the first place, and why they are not currently being made, see the documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?”.


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