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1st post, trying to find information

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
It seems that research on this, while available, isnt talked about. I know hybrid and electric cars are "fuel efficient", but how clean are they really? 

How are the materials for the batteries mined? Where, is it all in one place or several places? 

During manufacturing, where are these material transported and how many stops do they make until the final assembly? 

What process do they go through during production, is it clean? 

What happens to these betteries at the end of their usable life? And if theyre recycled, whats the environmentl cost of that? 

And have studies ben done on C02 emmisions of these cars within a range or driving habit and other factors, like driving in LA vs Austin? 

I did watch a test between a Prius and a new M3 (450Hp V8) and in a straight line at a steady speed teh M3 got more miles per gallon. Larger engine, more efficent. This was an extreme case but this and my questions above might show that theres a lot that needs to be answered and relly examined. Over the life of an average 4cyl or forced induction 4cyl gas motor, from prodution to disposal, how does it compare to a hybrid, from start to finish given equal driving behavior?
It seems the "going green" hybrid might be a type of clever plan (consumersism) to keep people spending money on the newest "Best" thing, and people ran out and bought them. Im still not sure. I know BMW's had a hydrogen powered car since the mid - late 90's and others are doing it as well. Not sure why its not viable yet. Eitehr its not stable, or there isnt enough money to be made. Either way, the shift away from gasoline will have to be gradual, even if the technology is here.

post #2 of 5
Welcome EVP1,

Let us see what comes for comments. Anything we do is a choice of least offensive vs. more offensive. I suppose nothing is totally clean.

There are those of us (meaning those like me) who have no desire to live in a cave or yurt but intend to enjoy life while doing in a less damaging manner.

Again - welcome,
post #3 of 5
 I know very little in comparison with EV/gas, but from what I have read many view are made.  I just "fell into" bicycle motors which were so advantageous, that I just *had* to have an electric car. Getting one has been a blast; having this transportation while people are still undecided!  Meanwhile- my econobox gas car sits and sits!

A lot of recycling is mentioned (90%+) and efficiency, but I went for the "fun" concept and found out about usefulness later.  I don't have a clue where materials come from or are manufactured for batteries.  I just know that almost every vehicle on the road has at least 1 battery! 
Nearly daily improvements appear, but range with mine always surprises me.  Just this morning we had a car show, which meant several moves of the vehicle, several long trips (caravan style) and I thought the batteries would give up any time.  They didn't!
post #4 of 5
 I downloaded and read David JC MacKay's book with the title -  
Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air  
It is a free book and can be downloaded at

It explains well many not so clear concepts in an understandable manner - well worth the time.

On page 254 it explains how to calculate the energy required to move a car. From the statement above by EVP1 it would seem a much lighter Prius required more fuel over a given distance than a much more powerful vechicle - which seems unlikely. Formulas in the book show it to be unlikely. It is really not possible unless someone 'rigs' the demonstration. 

The questions in  EVP1's post are rhetorical questions - if you get into all of that then just walk and give up as there is no hope. Posting questions to which no one really has an answer and doing nothing on your own to find those answers does no one any favors though sometimes it makes people feel good to do so. 
post #5 of 5

Studies have shown that basically the more electric a car is, the better it is for the environment.  In other words

gas < hybrid < plug-in hybrid < fully electric car

The battery mining is pretty minor.  There's a big myth that Prius batteries are very environmentally damaging because their supplier nickel plant in Sudbury, Ontario is on a barren wasteland.  In reality the environmental damage done by that plant happened about 30 years before the Prius was even designed.  The plant has shaped up and has even won some environmental awards in recent years.


Life cycle carbon analyses of cars have shown that 80-90% of their energy use comes during production while just 5-10% comes during production and disposal, each.  See pages 4-5 here.  That basically means that fuel efficiency is the dominant factor in determining environmental impact, so the better a car's fuel economy, the lower its overall carbon footprint.

At the end of their lives, the batteries are indeed recycled.  Here's some info on Prius battery recycling and Tesla Roadster battery recycling.

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