Monday, March 12, 2007

Small is greener than hybrid

After electrics and hydrogen-powered, hybrids have the least emissions -- right? Not necessarily! The carbon dioxide rejection rate is roughly the same for a Toyota Prius (touted as the most efficient hybrid currently on the market) and a Citroen C1 (a smart-looking small car, sadly not available in North America) -- roughly around 100ish grams per kilometer. I'm sure that an even smaller car, such as a Smart car, would be even lower...

But that's just the start. One could then argue that the environmental footprint of the C1 is smaller than the hybrid Prius simply because it can be manufactured with less stuff; it is lighter, its engine is simpler, it is easier to recycle. Not to mention that its smaller physical size is good in other ways; it doesn't require as wide a road to operate, needs smaller parking spaces, etc. -- so it doesn't comtribute to the general encroachment of paved space into the world's green spaces.

I don't buy the way hybrids are presented as the responsible, green choice. It's good marketing for sure, but the truly environmentally responsible choice is to go small!

(Hints to Citroen: make a hybrid version of the C1, oh and don't forget to bring it over to the U.S. and Canada!)

1 comment:

  1. Someone with some serious cash needs to deconstruct a Prius, strip out the batteries and associated equipment, and then rebuild with some extra aluminum and plastic, perhaps. Equip with one of Toyota's own diesels which they use in say, the European Yaris, and figure the economy. Engine stop-start would be some useful tech to retain. Build in lightness. Hybrids don't do light. Toyota's iQ concept and Volkswagen's up!, both discussed at stand a much better chance at 'becoming' the future than any Prius, engineered as it is now.