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Old 04-30-2007, 07:16 PM
Uberwagon Uberwagon is offline
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I'm terribly sorry if we're getting off topic about this but... I think hybrids such as Prius are obviously a stopgap. Using ANY carbon-emitting fuel or middle-eastern oil will continue the problems we have today (climate change/regional volatility). Until that's changed, cars like the Prius are just a step -- a very good step but definitely just a step.

The production of the batteries, much like other auto-related production processes, is problematic. There are both short-term energy usage and long-term toxic disposal issues. However, many of these processes and problems are the result of an "immature" technology. That is, the economies of scale to deal with some of the problems haven't yet caught up with the emerging technology. That is changing, fast, and it doesn't negate the positive aspects of hybrid techs: Reducing unnecessary carbon emissions.

Ultimately though, electricly powered vehicles look to be the dominant technology of the forseable future. Hydrogen, like gasoline, is just a stop-gap energy storage medium but it will be used (through fuel cells) to produce clean electricity. Some inside the labs feel that the most efficient vehicles will be strictly plug-in battery powered cars. Regardless, each of these techs create some new problems, but the most pressing one of carbon emissions must be met first.

Interestingly, the next-gen Prius will be a "plug-in" hybrid. It is rumoured to have more electric capacity, should have the potential to run on batteries alone and can be charged at night during off-peak hours, when you are not creating any additional emissions in electric usage (that's another subject!). This will reduce carbon emissions per mile driven drastically and will make the Prius an even bigger step in the right direction.

Apologies to those who I've bored with this update!

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