Who wrote that the Hummer is more environmentally friendly than the Prius?

I heard through the grapevine that there is a study out there according to which the hybrid car Toyota Prius causes more environmental damage in the long run due to the toxicity of the manufacture and disposal of its battery than could possibly be done by driving the gas guzzling Hummer in that time frame.

I really want to find that study. I need it for a research project. Has anyone heard of it? Does anyone know where to find it?


2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There's a lot of myth, urban legend, and misinformation out there on hybrid vehicle batteries and vehicle production, thanks to a flawed marketing paper by CNW and a poorly researched student newspaper article that keep getting quoted...

    Anyhow, I suggest reading:

    Prius Versus Hummer: A Nickel for Your Thoughts:


    "I read an article stating the Prius has a worse impact on the environment than a Hummer because of the enormous pollution created in making the car’s batteries. True?" : http://www.straightdope.com/columns/080404.html

    Battery Toxicity: http://www.hybridcars.com/battery-toxicity.html

    Hummer versus Prius: "Dust to Dust" Report Misleads the Media and Public with Bad Science: http://www.pacinst.org/topics/integrity_of_science...

    Prius Versus HUMMER: Exploding the Myth: http://www.thecarconnection.com/Auto_News/Green_Ca...

    Giving Directions: No, the Hummer Actually Isn't More Energy Efficient Than A Prius, Let's Put This "Debate" To Rest: http://www.betterworldclub.com/articles/hummer-not...

    Heard the One About the Hummer?: http://www.toyota.com/html/dyncon/2007/september/h...

    Usually the mythic "article" from The Mail on the nickel in the hybrid cars' NiMH batteries is quoted from a now retracted article. The retraction that clears up this bit of misinformation is at:



    (They were using data from the early 1970's about the INCO-Sudbury nickel mine, which was more than 20 years before the first hybrids needed NiMH batteries, and the plant has greatly cleaned themselves up and reforested the area. If you were to add up the amount of nickel in the million+ hybrids sold since 1997, the total is less than 1% of the world's annual nickel production (far more nickel is used for stainless steel, for example).)

    Here's the 2004 Toyota Prius Green Report (life cycle assessment):


    (you'll need to download the Japanese fonts for your PDF reader in order to read it, but the entire document is written in English.)

    Over the lifespan of the Prius, when compared to a comparable mid-

    sized gasoline vehicle, the Prius comes out ahead in the life cycle assessment (LCA) for airborne emissions for CO2, NOx, SOx, HC, but actually does worse for PM (thanks to the material and vehicle production stages). Measured lifespan is given as 10 years use/100,000km. The CO2 break-even point for the 2004 Prius compared to this unnamed gasoline vehicle is given at 20,000km. (more CO2 is emitted during Prius production, but the Prius makes up for it over it's driven lifetime.)

    Another neat thing is that the Prius is one of the first uses of Toyota's Eco-Plastic (plastic made from plants, as opposed to petroleum products). The battery is recycleable (NiMH), as is much of the car (steel and aluminum body, for example).

    As for the batteries themselves:

    The lead-acid (Pb-A) 12v accessory batteries in hybrids tend to be smaller than those found in every traditional gasoline vehicle. Recycling programs are in place for traditional lead-acid batteries.

    All the hybrids on the market use NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) batteries, which contain no heavy metals (so they're not hazardous waste, like the Pb-A batteries), and are easily recycled.

    The hybrid battery packs in the Prius have labels on them for whom to contact to recycle them. See the HV Battery Pack Recycling section in the Prius Emergency Response Guides.

    page 11 (of the printed version):


    page 19 (of the printed version):


    To quote Toyota's press release:



    How long does the Prius battery last and what is the replacement cost?

    The Prius battery (and the battery-power management system) has been designed to maximize battery life. In part this is done by keeping the battery at an optimum charge level - never fully draining it and never fully recharging it. As a result, the Prius battery leads a pretty easy life. We have lab data showing the equivalent of 180,000 miles with no deterioration and expect it to last the life of the vehicle. We also expect battery technology to continue to improve: the second-generation model battery is 15% smaller, 25% lighter, and has 35% more specific power than the first. This is true of price as well. Between the 2003 and 2004 models, service battery costs came down 36% and we expect them to continue to drop so that by the time replacements may be needed it won't be a much of an issue. Since the car went on sale in 2000, Toyota has not replaced a single battery for wear and tear.

    Is there a recycling plan in place for nickel-metal hydride batteries?

    Toyota has a comprehensive battery recycling program in place and has been recycling nickel-metal hydride batteries since the RAV4 Electric Vehicle was introduced in 1998. Every part of the battery, from the precious metals to the plastic, plates, steel case and the wiring, is recycled. To ensure that batteries come back to Toyota, each battery has a phone number on it to call for recycling information and dealers are paid a $200 "bounty" for each battery.


    Meanwhile, there is this Swiss study that found the Toyota Prius to be the world's greenest car: http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idU...

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I don't think you'll ever find the writer of an urban legend:)

    Overall, electric cars use fossil fuel at 20 to 25 percent efficiency, but dismal as that sounds, it beats an internal-combustion car, which typically operates at about 15 percent efficiency.

    Source(s): straight doped pooba
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