Hybrid Vehicles: the Dark Side Essay Example
Hybrid Vehicles: the Dark Side Essay Example

Hybrid Vehicles: the Dark Side Essay Example

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  • Pages: 8 (2121 words)
  • Published: November 8, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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This review examines the environmental impact of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) versus non-HEVs in terms of fuel efficiency and cost-effectiveness, as well as the lack of versatility for American families. The argument presented suggests that due to persistent environmental pollution, non-hybrid vehicles achieving similar or better fuel efficiency, lack of financial benefits, and limited suitability for American households, production of HEVs should be stopped.

I. Environmental Pollution and Hybrid Electric Vehicles

A. Batteries containing Nickel, Lithium, and Lead pose risks.
1. Mining these materials contributes to acid rain.
2. Transporting these materials is expensive and adds to pollution.
B. Car accidents continue to cause concerns.
3. Vehicular accidents are frequent and can release harmful acids into the environment from damaged HEV batteries.
4. Battery recycling is currently not feasible; raises questions about disposal methods.



Fuel Economy
C. Comparison between European Diesels and HEVs
5.European Diesel cars have been manufactured with MPG ranging from 40-90 based on vehicle size.
6.Their fuel efficiency is comparable or even superior to that of HEVsDespite disagreements over emissions controls and standards, hydrogen power is becoming more accessible in cities like Los Angeles and New York City. Although it is expensive, if the government invested in hydrogen power development instead of hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) development, it would reduce dependence on foreign oil and provide a reliable and renewable energy source. Non-HEVs are cost-effective to maintain with low costs and easy upkeep, allowing them to pay for themselves within a few years. In contrast, maintaining an HEV has become expensive due to unique features and limited availability of replacement parts. This includes not only the electric and gas motors but also the battery which can cost over $2,000. In congested cities

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concerned about fuel consumption and pollution, HEVs offer the convenience of running on electric power during stop-and-go traffic; however, they are also more susceptible to accidents in urban areas. On the other hand, rural areas require four-wheel drive vehicles prioritizing improved gas mileage – an area where HEVs have significantly failed in trucks and SUVs. Furthermore, blue-collar workers need vehicles that provide strength and power – qualities lacking in HEVs.Although HEVs were initially popular for their improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions, they have introduced several global environmental impacts. One of the concerns is that HEVs rely on batteries containing chemicals that could be released into the environment through accidents or improper disposal. This poses a significant problem, which is one of the four main reasons why the production of Hybrid Electric Vehicles should cease. Despite being considered a solution for pollution in heavily polluted cities, HEVs have both positive and negative impacts on the environment. While they effectively reduce fuel consumption and minimize harmful emissions, their "eco-friendly" reputation often conceals hidden polluting aspects. Hybrids require more parts than conventional cars and rely on significant energy from other sources. The production of HEV batteries generates more waste than an HEV will produce throughout its lifetime, contributing to pollution during manufacturing and while driving.Furthermore, if an HEV is involved in a major accident, the chemicals in the battery could contaminate water supplies. Recycling and disposing of these batteries remains challenging with no established efficient or environmentally friendly method yet available. The environmental impact of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) has sparked debate due to the use of toxic nickel metal hydride (NiMH) or lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries. According

to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the battery is the most environmentally vulnerable component of a hybrid vehicle. Proper disposal instructions for these batteries are still not provided by manufacturers, and the extraction and manufacturing of raw materials used in batteries pose significant environmental concerns.

Despite claims that Li batteries are not as environmentally harmful as previously believed by Dr. Dominic Notter, 15 percent of the total environmental load can be attributed to the battery, including its production, maintenance, and disposal.

The primary environmental impact of HEVs lies in the sources used to generate electricity for charging their batteries. On the other hand, non-HEVs have shown potential for achieving significantly better fuel economyIn recent years, European Diesel technology has made significant advancements. Many small Diesel cars can achieve 70 to 80 miles per gallon with standard configuration, compared to regular gasoline which only achieves about 30 miles per gallon in most small cars. By U.S. standards, the current fuel efficiency of 30 miles per gallon is considered good but can be improved. Larger trucks today can achieve 22 miles per gallon on Diesel fuel while smaller gas trucks only get 15 miles per gallon.

The technology already exists to make Non-HEVs more fuel efficient; it just needs to be utilized and implemented. However, differences in emissions standards between Europe and the U.S are holding back the adoption of new Diesel technology in America's vehicles industry. Nevertheless, introducing smaller and cleaner Diesel vehicles to the market in the U.S. is a valid possibility.

Engineers have been consistently improving internal combustion engine efficiency for over a century. As mentioned in the article "Fuel Economy Today—Alt Fuels Tomorrow" (2010), Diesel fuel

is well-known for its fluid energy efficiency and holds the title of king. It plays a significant role in powering approximately 1.3 million long-haul semi trucks on American roads daily ("Aerodynamic," 2011).The demand for advanced Diesel technologies has increased due to the reliance on Diesel-powered engines or semi trucks for product delivery. This is part of efforts to make the U.S. economy more eco-friendly. Additionally, there is a growing popularity of Diesel among smaller and lighter duty vehicles, suggesting it could be an alternative to gasoline in the future.

According to Joe Wiesenfelder's article "Gasoline Panic 2011: Hybrid/Electric Vehicles Not the Answer" (2011), he argues that purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle (HEV) does not make economic sense. Instead, Wiesenfelder suggests buying compact cars like the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, and Hyundai Elantra as better long-term choices due to their lower price and decent fuel efficiency. Although non-HEVs may not match up to hybrid vehicles in terms of efficiency levels, opting for non-HEVs makes financial sense when buying a new car because of the additional expenses associated with HEVs.

Investing in hydrogen fuel (H) as an alternative energy source offers America an opportunity to decrease its dependence on foreign oil and achieve greater independence. Hydrogen is a clean and efficient fuel that only emits water vapor, unlike regular gasoline which is both inefficient and releases toxic gases. If the U.S. were to heavily invest in hydrogen development within the next century, it could potentially achieve complete freedom from foreign oil and even experience reduced fuel prices.
Currently, select major cities offer hydrogen vehicles for rent. However, mass production of these vehicles is limited due to engineering constraints related

to durability and cost-effectiveness. The slow progress in hydrogen fuel technologies can be attributed primarily to political factors, as stated by Jonathan Gal (2009). The lack of enthusiasm towards alternative energies is a result of their significant financial requirements. Oil companies have taken advantage of this situation by increasing prices on oil-based products. These large corporations are aware that once alternative fuels become widely accessible, their profits will decrease. Consequently, they have been resistant to transitioning towards alternative fuels but acknowledge the potential profitability in embracing these new energies by rapidly acquiring interested production companies.

Overall, hydrogen shows great promise as a revitalizing fuel source for America's energy needs. Some argue that hydrogen is too volatile and poses safety risks for passenger cars, citing the Hindenburg disaster as an example. However, it should be noted that the Hindenburg incident was caused by its highly reactive coating rather than hydrogen itself. This incident does highlight the danger of using hydrogen in machines.

There are also concerns regarding the cost-effectiveness of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) compared to non-HEVs when considering alternative options such as HEVs with hydrogen technology incorporated into themNon-hybrid electric vehicles (Non-HEVs) typically become cost-effective within five years, while it is believed that hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are not financially viable in the long run. American families prioritize cars that are reliable and provide a return on investment, often keeping them for 10 to 15 years before buying new ones. However, finding replacement parts for HEVs can be both expensive and challenging. For instance, the battery alone can cost over $2,000. Fleming et al.'s study estimated that the annual cost of maintaining and replacing batteries for typical

HEVs over a 10-year period is quite high, although many HEVs have not yet required replacements. Automotive dealers state that an HEV battery costs around $2,600 with installation totaling approximately $3,400. In contrast, Non-HEV batteries range from $30 to $40. This considerable price difference makes it difficult to fully offset the vehicle's cost during its lifespan of ownership.Non-HEVs have been available for a significant amount of time and offer repairs at relatively low costs with easily accessible parts. Many components can be substituted and installed by anyone without specialized knowledge or expertise.According to Virginia Tech's Consortium on Energy Restructuring (2007), the internal combustion engine has historically been favored as an energy source due to its simplicity in maintenance, familiarity among users, and high reliability.HEVs are being promoted as a new option for families, but there are factors to consider before they can be widely adopted. In urban areas like Chicago or New York City where alternative transportation is available, many people may not see the need for HEVs. However, in cities like New York and Los Angeles, HEVs offer benefits such as reducing emissions by shutting off the engine when idle and running on electric power during stop-and-go traffic. It is important to mention that accidents are common in cities, ranging from minor collisions to major crashes. While HEVs have advanced safety technologies, there is concern about battery acid leakage after an accident. Additionally, these vehicles are quieter than gasoline vehicles which poses a risk for pedestrians who may be hearing impaired or distracted by music. Joanne Silburner from NPR's Health Blog states that blind individuals and people listening to music are particularly vulnerable to

unintentionally stepping into the path of a hybrid vehicle because of its lack of engine noise.Silburner also highlights that uninformed HEV drivers may cause panic reactions from other drivers when the engine shuts off while the car is not moving. In smaller towns and rural areas across the US, families require fuel-efficient and reliable vehicles that can easily accommodate multiple passengers and need low maintenance. However, these areas are not suitable for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) due to their poor highway gas mileage performance and the long distances between locations. Automakers did try to address this problem by introducing hybrid trucks and SUVs, but they didn't significantly improve gas mileage as intended. Luckily, there are now large diesel trucks available that can achieve an impressive 22 miles per gallon while carrying heavy loads. These trucks adhere to the same emissions standards as regular gas vehicles but offer greater power and fuel efficiency. Nonetheless, major car manufacturers are unlikely to remove HEVs from their vehicle lineup since they have a significant impact on the market. Many individuals value eco-friendliness in their vehicle choices, so companies must cater to this diverse customer base. However, it's crucial not to overlook other factors when evaluating the benefits of eco-friendly vehicles such as environmental pollution, non-HEV advancements, HEV ownership costs, and population demands; all these elements play a role in determining the true advantages of these vehicles.Additionally, improvements in aerodynamics can decrease fuel consumption for semi-trucks by 7-12% (Fleming, Privott, Taylor, & McDuffie) [source]. It is important to consider the value for money when comparing hybrid electric vehicles and internal combustion engine vehicles (Fleming, Privott, Taylor, & McDuffie) [source]. The

current fuel economic system may impact future alternative fuels (2010) [source]. The political aspects of alternative energy are discussed in a 2009 article by Gal [source]. According to a PR Newswire article from March 4th, 2011, hybrid/electric vehicles may not be the solution to the gasoline panic [source]. Niderost (2010) found that Li-ion rechargeable batteries for electric autos have a greener eco-balance than expected. Retrieved from EMPA Materials Science and Technology.Switzerland.Retrieved February 24th., 2011 from http://www.empa.ch/plugin/template/empa/*/99149/—/l=1. Silberner (April19th.,2022) states that silence of hybrid cars is just one factor contributing to high pedestrian death rates. Retrieved on March24th.,2022 from "http:npr.org/blogs/heath /20222/april/hybrid_cars_silence_just_one_factor_in_high_prosaic_decease_rate". The United States Department of Energy provides information on diesel vehicles. Retrieved on March24th.,2022 from "http:fueleconomy.gov/feg/di_diesels.shtml". The United States Environmental Protection Agency discusses environmental impacts from cars.The impacts of batteries on automobiles can be found at the following URL: http://yosemite.Environmental Protection Agency.gov/R10/OWCM.NSF/product+stewardship/autos-impacts # batteries.

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