Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More Prius vs. Hummer

The debate over which iconic vehicle - the Hummer or the Prius - uses less energy over the course of the vehicle's lifetime comes up again and again. 
Joseph Romm, writing at grist yesterday, tries to put the argument to rest - finally, hopefully - with his post "Prius easily beats Hummer in lifecycle energy use; 'Dust to Dust' report has no basis in fact."
Romm specifically says he's tackling the story because the original study, by CNW Marketing Research, that claims a Hummer is better for the environment than a Prius keeps echoing around the Internet while "a couple of good debunking studies -- by the Pacific Institute (PDF) and by Rocky Mountain Institute (PDF) -- haven't gotten much attention, according to Technorati."
Romm's done a lot of work in his post, and I want to give him credit by sending readers his way. The important thing to takeaway from the post, though, is this:

I am mocking this [CNW's] report because it is the most contrived and mistake-filled study I have ever seen -- by far (and that's saying a lot, since I worked for the federal government for five years). I am not certain there is an accurate calculation in the entire report. I say this without fear of contradiction, because this is also the most opaque study I have ever seen -- by far. I defy anyone to figure out their methodology.

All in all, Romm debunks like the best of 'em. Whenever the Prius v. Hummer debate comes up again in the future, we'll just point people to his post. You wouldn't think it'd be so hard to convince people that a car that gets 45+mpg is better for the environment than a vehicle that gets ~17, but with marketing firms like CNW mucking the waters, common sense sometimes has a hard time finding the light.
[Source: grist, autobloggreen]

Monday, August 27, 2007

Toyota Uncertain of Consumer Demand for Plug-Ins

 Bloomberg. Toyota Motor is uncertain of US consumer demand for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), and says that extensive tests are needed to determine demand before it offers PHEVs for the US market.

“There is a consumer market at some price-point for plug- ins,” Bill Reinert, national manager for advanced vehicle technology at Toyota’s U.S. unit, said in an interview yesterday. “We just don’t yet know the size of that market.”

Toyota’s caution reveals a difference in approach between the Japanese automaker, which has sold more than 800,000 Prius hybrids globally since 1997, and General Motors Corp., which wants to build as many of 60,000 Volt plug-in electric cars in the model’s first year, people with knowledge of GM’s plans said earlier this week.

GM also says that it is moving forward with plans to develop a plug-in version of its upcoming two-mode Saturn VUE Green Line.

Toyota plans road tests later this year of modified Priuses with rechargeable nickel-metal hydride batteries that allow about eight miles of all-electric range.

“I know there’s a lot of enthusiasm right now about plug-ins,” Reinert said in the interview. “I’m a little cautious about how much of that ends up as real consumer behavior.”

[source: Green Car Congress]