Image credit: Toyota
Are hybrids really greener?
I don't usually get excited about cars, and haven't since I was about 14. But I must admit a fondness for the Prius - and not just for environmental reasons. I actually find it fun to drive, yet every time we post on the Toyota Prius we get commenters complaining that it is boring, or ugly, or that the environmental impact of the batteries outweighs any emissions savings. And posts about Toyota's plug-in hybrid efforts almost always attract as many detractors as they do praise. Now all you Prius-haters (and lovers) have a chance to direct your comments straight to the source - Toyota are holding a week-long Q&A; over at The Guardian.
The You Ask, They Answer: Toyota online event is running all week as Toyota prepares to launch the third generation Prius in the UK - so there is still time to get your questions in. Topics covered so far include whether battery impact negates environmental savings (no, says Toyota - the Prius emits 37% less life-time emissions than a similar-sized gasoline car); will Toyota be using Lithium-ion batteries (maybe); why no diesel hybrids (cost and technical issues); and why isn't the Prius more fun to drive (fun is in the eye of the beholder, says Toyota).
Of course it goes without saying that Toyota's answers will be naturally biased toward, well, Toyota. But it's still great to see a forum like this where folks can directly challenge environmental claims and get some answers to those questions that are on everyone's minds. Head on over to the Guardian to post your own questions - and feel free to continue the discussion below.