Top Five Reasons Why Hybrid Cars Are Not Environmentally Friendly

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While hybrid cars have been on the motor vehicle market from the late 1990s, before you think of placing a hybrid on the shopping list, there are still several peculiarities worth considering. The motivations why you would want to own and drive a hybrid car are quite numerous.

Some include:

  • Those fewer gas station stops
  • The feel good thing about being green
  • Saving the environment
  • Being trendy

Hybrid Cars

However, in the long run, not all the above reasons will hold out. While Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) continue to gain popularity as greener and more efficient alternatives, several points need to be brought to the fore:

  • First off, hybrid cars basically remain internal-combustion; they are still gasoline powered vehicles and they still contribute to emissions as you drive them around.
  • Most of the Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) still tap into the national grids. In the US for example, much of the existing power grid comes from coal with its well known environmental impact.

1. More Heavy Metals Mined

Besides the nickel used in the batteries, most HEVs and PHEVs utilize huge quantities of copper in their extensive wiring and electric drive motors. Similar to nickel, these have to be mined, either from underground mines or from open pits. This has the potential of degrading the environment further.

When using the strip mining method, miners are known to clear everything from the earth surface as they seek the heavy metals, rather than dig deep. This has a huge negative impact on the environment that can last for many decades to come.

In addition, this method of mining contributes to significant amount of air pollution, besides destroying grass and plants as well as drying up streams. The impact of what goes into producing that perceived eco-friendly hybrid car may, in fact be triggering untold environmental havoc elsewhere.

2. Promoting Usage of Unclean Energy

If electricity productions sources that are environmentally friendly are at full capacity, then extra needed power would need to come from sources that are less clean such as coal. This increases our consumption of energy sources known to have negative environmental impact, despite using Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs).

Particularly when the extra electric power is being generated from coal sources, the impact is greater; the net carbon footprint is bigger. Toxic waste will find its way into our water systems and when these gets combined with careless disposal of the toxic batteries materials, the net contribution of PHEVs could be negative in terms of environmental impact.

3. Production of Batteries Harms the Environment

Conventional motor vehicles utilize lead-acid batteries. This has for a long time been a major source of contention within the auto industry. This is because lead is a known toxic chemical which when released into our environment, can cause long-term damage.

The majority of Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) use lithium-ion and nickel-hydride batteries which are deemed to be better for their environmental impact, although that may not necessarily be true.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) point out that nickel is likely to be a human carcinogen, and when improperly disposed, the nickel-hydride batteries could pose a potential human and environmental hazard.
  • In addition, the production of nickel batteries requires much more energy in production compared to lead batteries.
  • The minerals used in hybrid cars batteries depend on mined materials such as cobalt and lithium. The mining process for these minerals can be extremely destructive. In its wake, it has been known to leave entire mountains leveled.

4. Electric Cars are not that Eco-friendly

Simply because your car is getting plugged into a power source, it doesn’t necessarily mean that automatically you’re utilizing clean energy. Different states, cities and nations produce electric power via a diversity of energy sources.

If where you are located is tapping into hydroelectricity grid of your city, then perhaps you are contributing positively into conservation of the environmental with your PHEV. However, if the source of your states electricity is fossil energy based, then your electric car may not really be that eco-friendly.

This is because the electricity to charge your PHEV must have an energy source which probably is:

  • Often burning coal or oil
  • Using chemical-laden batteries which cannot be said to be particularly eco-friendly.

Essentially, electric vehicles could merely be shifting environmental problems to other areas away from the road, where they are contributing to significant increases in levels of human toxicity due to their manufacturing process.

5. Hybrids Aren’t Totally Emission-Free

It’s a fact that most hybrid cars do contribute towards the reduction of smog-forming emissions, although that might not be as high as many assume. When contrasting a conventional compact car to the hybrid counterpart, it can be expected that the emissions could come down by about 10%.

More smog-forming emissions reductions can be witnessed in hybrid SUVs, although the total effect in terms of reductions in emissions ranges between 10 to 15%. Though helpful and significant, but don’t however assume that because you’re acquiring a HEV you are not contributing to the pollution of the air.

If widely accepted, Hybrid electric vehicles and Hybrid Electric Vehicles do have a huge potential of improving the total environmental impact, although that doesn’t necessarily mean their technology can be said to be 100% green. Nevertheless, understanding the known facts regarding the potential negative environmental impacts of hybrid cars will help you towards making a decision that is more informed as you plan for your next car. Before you buy your next car read our new car buying tip sheet here.

A Review Of The 2016 Honda Odyssey

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This post, a 2016 Honda Odyssey review, was written by guest author Brendon Turner. If you enjoyed reading this post please use the social share buttons above to share it with your friends.

I wasn’t a fan of Honda until I married into a family of Honda owners. My wife’s parents both drove a Honda and always spoke favorably about the brand. I myself was always a fan of domestic’s and had only ever owned GM vehicles. While today I still drive a GMC Sierra 1500 Denali pickup truck, my wife up until last week drove a Honda Civic model with DXG trim.

Last weekend we took delivery of a brand new 2016 Honda Odyssey from Calgary Honda for my wife. We purchased the EX-L trim. I would say that she’s rather enjoying her new ride since I’ve barely seen her in the three days since she took delivery of the vehicle because she’s been out driving.

2016 honda odyssey

Available Trim

The 2016 Odyssey is available in six different available trim packages with an MSRP* as follows.

  • LX – $29,275
  • EX – $32,425
  • SE – $33,375
  • EX-L – $35,925
  • Touring – $42,180
  • Touring Elite – $44,750

Available Colors

We purchased our EX-L with a White Diamond Pearl paint color, however the 2016 Odyssey is available in 7 different colors from the factory.

  • White Diamond Pearl
  • Smoky Topaz Metallic (EX and above)
  • Crystal Black Pearl (EX and above)
  • Modern Steel Metallic
  • Lunar Silver Metallic
  • Deep Scarlet Pearl
  • Obsidian Blue Pearl

2016-honda-odyssey-paint-colors

Accessories

Although the 2016 Odyssey already has a sharp look and style to it, there are a lot of accessories available for the Odyssey. I won’t list them all here but they include roof rails, door guards, wheels, locking wheel nuts, towing equipment, lighting, body side molding, all weather floor mats and even a Honda camping tent that attaches to the rear open hatch. There are no shortage of add-ons that can be purchased for the Odyssey.

Standard Features

2016-Honda-Odyssey-vacuumStandard features that vary by model include the HondaVAC, which is essentially a built in vacuum. Handy if the children are throwing Cheerios around.

2016-honda-odyssey-entertainmentAlso the kids can enjoy a rear entertainment system with wireless headsets. In the Touring model you’ll find an HDMI port on the side panel interior of the 3rd row of seating. And a 115V power outlet. This is great if you want to plugin a gaming console. Did I mention that the Odyssey also features an air conditioned cooler box too?

Engine

The Odyssey features a 6 speed automatic transmission and a very smooth powertrain. The engine also has a cylinder-deactivation switch on its 248 horsepower 3.5 liter V6 block, making it quite fuel efficient. The EPA rating on the 2016 Odyssey is 19/28 MPG. The engine can produce 0-60 MPH in 7.5 seconds. And has a top speed of about 120 MPH.

Spacious Interior

2016-honda-odyssey-interior

The 2016 Honda Odyssey is an 8 passenger minivan that has 5 doors. It features dual sliding doors for the second and 3rd row seating. The sliding doors can also be remotely opened and closed with the key fob. We found that with two boys ages 2 and 6 years old it’s quite easy to lean into the vehicle and buckle them up into their car seats in the second row without actually having to step into the vehicle. This is a definite plus. The second row of seats can be removed from the vehicle completely. The third row of seats easily fold down into the trunk area creating a flat cargo space behind the second row of seats.

Other Highlights of The 2016 Honda Odyssey

This vehicle drives well and handles most road conditions with agility and grace. I test drove a 2016 Honda Odyssey Touring model a few weeks ago in very heavy rain conditions and the vehicle held the road very well. What surprised me the most was the Lane Departure Warning feature. Even in very heavy rain when I could not see the painted lane lines on the road ahead the vehicle’s camera mounted at the top center of the windshield was able to accurately warn me when I was departing my lane without using my turn signal. Clever technology!

2016-Honda-Odyssey-dashboard

The dashboard features easy to read gauges and has a central display mounted lower that shows audio and phone functions apart from the upper central display screen – on EX models and up.

The second row of seating offers built in retractable sun shades on the side windows. There are two external view cameras. One rearview camera mounted on the rear hatch of course and one right adjacent lane view camera mounted on the right side external mirror. Activated when signaling right the right side mirror camera is a nice touch enabling you to see what’s directly in the lane to the right of you.

The headlights on the 2016 Honda Odyssey’s have a dark trim housing HID, High Intensity Discharge, bulbs. They also feature LED lit taillights too.

With a roomy interior, an exterior length of 202.9 inches, width of 79.2 inches and height of 68.4 inches most families would agree that the Odyssey has more than enough space to accommodate their needs.

The 2016 Honda Odyssey outperforms most any three row crossover and looks a lot nicer than some of its direct competitors.

If you’re considering purchasing a new Honda Odyssey click here to get a price quote.

*MSRP is noted in US dollars.