Should Buy Hybrid Or Not To Buy
A hybrid car is a great option if you want to reduce your carbon footprint. These hybrid cars are attractive because they offer powerful options and impressive features. Auto transport services can be used to bring your vehicle home after you have purchased it.
As I was preparing to purchase a car, it was the first time that I felt able to change the carbon footprint of an important part of my life. The technology of today's vehicle, including electric power and kinetic energy recovery systems, along with more fuel-efficient gasoline models, could make a huge difference to my 11-year-old, 27-mpg-fuel economy car.
My two biggest concerns when driving 30 miles per day in stop-and go traffic was the emissions from idling as well as fuel economy. Being a renter in the city means that I don't have a reliable spot to plug my car in every night. I also didn't like the idea that I would have to rely on my local electricity grid for any potentially harmful-impact energy sources.
Given my limited location and lifestyle, I chose as my best option. I could reduce, reuse and recycle. The hybrid was especially appealing to me from an energy conservation perspective.
These new technologies have also received negative press. Hidden environmental costs are still a factor in car production. Is battery safety and long-term durability legitimate concerns? Many of the information is out-of-date, scattered, or based on targeted persuasion or profit.
I was concerned about being a responsible commuter and citizen. So, I did my own research and compiled my findings to help others.
The Hybrid: Why?
HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles) have an ICE engine, but the engine is smaller and uses energy recovery systems. It shuts off when it's stationary, reducing tailpipe emissions. Edmunds says that the hybrid vehicle was created to reduce gasoline consumption.
Compact hybrid cars are on average more efficient than conventional vehicles. Although they produce fewer emissions, they still burn more gasoline. However, the overall reduction is only 10-15%. The hybrid's energy is lost due to inefficiencies in the engine and axle-turning driveline or used to power accessories. HEVs are more efficient than traditional vehicles for other reasons.
First, I love that the kinetic energy from the ICE is captured and used to recharge the battery.
A hybrid engine is smaller than a car with a similar size engine. The majority of engines are optimized for maximum use at the highest power levels and burn gasoline in a comparable manner. The hybrid engine uses only the fuel it requires for its optimal use. The battery provides extra power when the car requires it. This is called "electric motor drive/assist".
Third, hybrid engines produce less heat than idling and reduce the heat island effect, heat-related heat-health issues in urban areas that are caused by human activity.
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After the excitement surrounding EVs, there were fears about the materials and mining required to make the nickel-metal hydride battery used in most EVs. There were many concerns, from the environmental impact of copper and nickel mining to the energy required to produce the battery and the materials necessary for production.
Conventional ICE vehicles use lead-acid battery technology. The Environmental Defense compared the environmental impacts of lithium, nickel, and lead batteries. Lead batteries are the worst for the environment. Next is nickel-hydride and then lithium-ion.
Refining and mining nickel for nickel-hydride battery batteries can all result in the release of cobalt. Humans can also be exposed to using or making these compounds. Cobalt is a cancer-causing chemical and is being mined in greater numbers in the U.S. due to increased demand for rechargeable, high-capacity batteries for electric cars, smartphones, and laptops. However, responsible processing uses emissions control equipment and refinement methods to capture and reduce most of this waste material, before it is released.
Opponents of electric cars point out that electricity to make them is still drawn from the US's carbon-intensive average grid mix. The car's emissions are as important as the power it uses to make it. However, the most energy-intensive production process for lead-acid batteries, which are commonly found in ICE cars has been demonstrated.
EVs are no worse than conventional vehicles in terms of environmental impact, both in manufacturing and mining. Hybrid car manufacturers are actively encouraging and incentivizing customers who recycle nickel-hydride batteries. Although lead-acid batteries can be recycled easily, there is no infrastructure to support them. Toyota and Honda have strong collection and recycling systems for hybrid batteries.
Batteries are not included
Hybrids can also lead to increased exposure to people in the vehicle. There has been much discussion about the potential dangers of high-voltage wiring and the possible carcinogenic effects of nickel in nickel-hydride batteries.
The nickel-hydride battery is safe to use in normal conditions. Only if internal components of the battery cells are released, there is a risk.
Similar to the misconceptions about nickel exposure, safety concerns from high-voltage electric components are only relevant if the wires are exposed. This can only happen if the wires are exposed to excessive voltage or in an accident. EVs are becoming increasingly popular, so qualified mechanics and responders can also avoid this risk.
Tin foil hats are unnecessary
There are fears that electric vehicles could expose drivers and passengers to electromagnetic radiation (EMR), very low frequency (ELF), or magnetic fields, which could lead to cancer.
A study done by the Wyoming Institute of Technology and funded in part by BP friends and partners found that hybrid and fully electric automobiles pose very serious health hazards to consumers. This is because the radiation absorption rate with exposure was higher than the standard safety rating (for MRI equipment and cell phones).
However, other studies have refuted this assertion. A 2014 research study that involved ten European companies and research institutions, and led by The Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (Norwegian Institute of Technology), concluded that passengers in electric-powered cars and cars powered by petrol, or diesel are not exposed to higher electromagnetic fields than recommended by international standards.
Consumer Reports state that there is no safe level of EMF from electric motors and that it is not proven to be harmful to human health.
There are very few savings
Hybrids don't offer the same cost savings as pure electrics. This is because they still use ICEs or gasoline. It is understandable that hybrids might require more maintenance, due to evolving technology, dual-engine problems, and battery degeneration.
The battery's life expectancy has been a major topic of debate. Both Nickelhydride and lithium-ion batteries are subject to a loss in capacity, performance, fuel economy, and overall lifespan. Based on laboratory bench testing, the expected life of a hybrid vehicle battery today is 150,000 miles.
All hybrid-specific parts on the current market are covered by a warranty for either eight years/100,000. miles or ten years/150,000 miles depending on their state. However, testing in real-world conditions has shown that these components have a longer life expectancy. The nickel-hydride batteries in Prius, and other Toyota hybrids, are considered durable by Toyota engineers.
A third important benefit of regenerative brake systems is the fact that they reduce wear on mechanical brakes. Brake pads last longer.
Credits for conventional hybrids, as well as most state and region incentives for hybrid purchase, have been phased out. However, there are incentives available for vehicles that use more than one type of energy to propel their vehicle.
Pass it on to the dealer
Given current gas prices and the elimination of tax credits, my more expensive HEV won't help me reduce my auto expenses in the future. Hybrids are more efficient and emit less tailpipe pollution, so I am really interested in it. Research has shown that the concerns about the health and environmental impact of hybrid cars are not as common or as legitimate as those associated with conventional cars.
Pure hybrids were the first thing that convinced me to stop driving any other vehicle when I saw how they worked. Why would I want to contribute more to the world's pollution? If I could just get my foot on the brake to reduce it even a tiny bit, I would be sold.
If you are primarily interested in cost savings, the premium for a hybrid vehicle over traditional ICE vehicles won't be proportional to the operational costs (around 6-10 years). It might be worth looking at whether an all-electric hybrid or plug-in hybrid would suit your needs. The hybrid may be the right choice for you if you want to reduce your carbon footprint and not change your lifestyle.