Monday, April 02, 2007

Prius All It's Cracked Up to Be?

A friend of mine sent along this article from Central Connecticut State's The Recorder Online touching upon the "true cost" of the Toyota Prius. The article highlights the energy and environmental costs associated with the mining, refining, and transportation of the nickel that goes into the batteries. I found it interesting since it starts thinking about the overall lifecycle costs of an object.

The element that is not addressed is the downstream impact of the vehicles, though it may be encompassed in the “Dust to Dust” study referred to in the article. I am thinking mostly about CO2 emissions. These emissions have yet to be regulated and priced, but if they are, their costs will be borne by the operator of the vehicles. Of course, in addition to the CO2 emissions, what about the end-of-life of the vehicles? Will they (or can they economically) be recycled? Will they be added to the scrap heap?

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