Well what an interesting surprise. A study conducted by Toyota themselves has shown that the Prius’ manufacturing emissions are worse than the automotive industry’s average.
The general public all believe that it doesn’t get any “greener” than a hybrid car, and the Prius is often hailed as the king of the hybrids. Well, it turns out that this king has worse than average emissions of nonmethane hydrocarbons and particulate matter during the production process. In fact, during the “materials manufacturing” stage of the car’s life, the Prius falls short of the average across all five emissions categories evaluated by Toyota.
This, according to Toyota, is because of the added drivetrain components that they need to produce, such as motors, inverters, and the battery. In the car’s defense, they do claim that it is “slightly” worse than average. However, keep in mind that the Prius is manufactured in a special plant designed to be as eco-friendly as possible. Now think of the emissions caused by hybrids produced in average manufacturing plants. Also, we mustn’t forget the end of the car’s life, when the nickel battery has to be recycled, as well as all the extra drivetrain components. Until the industry somehow solves those problems, we’re not falling for the hybrid craze.
Source: Automotive News – sub. req.