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From the Detroit Free Press:

Hybrids take more energy to produce than large SUVs

April 13, 2006

BY JIM MATEJA

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

You want to get more miles per gallon?

It's a no-brainer.

Check out the Honda Accord or Civic or Toyota Prius hybrids and forget those big SUVs, the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Hummer H2, Ford Expedition, Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator.

But while hybrids consume less fuel than SUVs, it takes more energy to produce the parts and components -- especially the electrical system -- that go into making one than it does to produce the typical full-size SUV.

That's the finding of a new analysis by CNW Marketing Research Inc., which calculated the cost of energy -- natural gas and coal, but primarily electricity -- that it takes to produce each part and component of a vehicle as well as the energy it takes to assemble the pieces into the final vehicle.

CNW came up with an Energy Index for producing each of the more than 300 models sold in the United States.

It found the Maybach, DaimlerChrysler's ultra-luxury brand, required the most energy to produce, more than 500% of the industry average.

And the most energy-efficient is the Scion xB wagon, which requires only 20% of the industry average to manufacture.

So the worst isn't an SUV, and the best isn't a hybrid.

The study also found that the energy needed to produce a hybrid is 30% greater than the industry average to produce any vehicle.

Specifically, the Accord hybrid needs 144% more energy to produce than the industry average, Prius 142% more and the Civic hybrid 141% more.

But the Suburban and Yukon took 137%, Expedition 134%, Hummer H2 132%, Tahoe 128%, Escalade 120% and Navigator 114%.

And those hybrids top their gasoline-only counterparts in energy use.

The Accord, for example, requires 95% more energy to produce than the average vehicle while the Accord hybrid requires 144%, or nearly 50% more than the gas version.

The reason is that it takes a lot of energy to produce the electric systems for hybrids as well as the exotic lightweight glass, aluminum and steel that goes into them. Hybrid tires also require special compounds for better rolling resistance to increase mileage, said Art Spinella, general manager of CNW.

The study also said that robots brought in to replace humans to cut costs, "cost more in power consumption, the electricity to run them," Spinella said.

But, Spinella said, the energy cost is offset by the fact robots don't take lunch or coffee breaks, don't get pensions or health care benefits and have no guarantees they'll get paid even if they don't work.

Perhaps the most startling finding is that those folks who praise the Japanese for offering so many hybrids and pan the domestic industry for offering so few don't realize that tardiness is conserving energy, Spinella said, with tongue planted part way in cheek.

"Most hybrid vehicles are produced in Japan, so people who buy a Prius or Civic hybrid are exporting energy consumption to Japan. The more high energy produced elsewhere, the better it is for us here," Spinella chuckled.
 

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That was a no-brainer, but I'm glad someone went and did the math.

Did anyone notice how they incorrectly worded a comparison??

The Accord, for example, requires 95% more energy to produce than the average vehicle while the Accord hybrid requires 144%, or nearly 50% more than the gas version.
It doesn't require 95% more energy than the average car, it required 5% less than the average car. They should have said it only required 95% of the energy required to make the average car. Naughty, Nauhty!

Also, it also says that the Accord hybrid requires nearly 50% more energy to produce than the regular Accord. 50% of 95% is 47.5%; while the difference between 144% and 95% is a total of 49%. So, if they could do math, they will clearly see that 49% is greater than 47.5% so therefore the Accord Hybrid takes MORE THAN 50% MORE energy to produce (51.57% to be more exact).

Clearly these guys don't know math, which makes me wonder.
 

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Are you correcting the article?
As I read it.
If the industry average is 100 units, them the accords takes 195 units, the accords hybrid takes 244 units.
So the % difference between accords is wrong.
Journalist can not write about math. They should state it as % of, instead of % more.

who the hells cares how much energy it takes to build? that number is of no consequence, because 100 gallons of gas probably has more than enough energy to build two cars.
 

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MikeW said:
As I read it.
If the industry average is 100 units, them the accords takes 195 units, the accords hybrid takes 244 units.
I wondered myself if that's what they meant, but I just can't see how the regular Accord would take 95% more energy to make vs the average car.

In fact, as I was typing this, I checked the website of the company that did the research and in fact the authors totally worded this whole article wrong.

The source data lists:

Industry Straight Average $2.281
Accord $2.180
Accord Hybrid $3.295

Therefore, I was correct in my thinking, that the Accord only takes 95% of the total energy used compared to the industry average and the hybrid version takes 144%, or more correctly 44% more energy than the average.


BUT....


The authors are even more wrong in how they interpreted the data. The numbers are a measurement of "The 'E Cost Per Mile' is the energy needed translated into cost per mile for vehicle from concept to scrappage (Dust to Dust) over an estimated lifespan. Data is based on historic scrappage of same or like vehicles adjusted for quality improvements that would result in longer life of the vehicle."

In other words, they aren't comparing just costs of production. They are taking into consideration the costs of making the concepts, gas mileage when in use and ultimately the cost to scrap the vehicle.

That’s the conclusion of long-term study of “dust to dust” energy costs for cars and trucks. The research tracked and calculated the energy cost of each model sold in the U.S. in 2005 from initial concept to the projected time it is scrapped.
The study measures all energy needed for vehicles sold in the U.S. in cy2005. The data applies to new and used vehicles even though calculations were made on cy05 models.

Data includes supplier as well as brand manufacturer energy consumption for the listed vehicles; transportation at all levels of distribution; use of materials (plastics, steel, light-weight steel, aluminum, etc.) and literally hundreds of other factors.

While historical data is spotty, CNW analysis shows the industry as a whole has improved manufacturing energy efficiency significantly in the production portion of the calculation – between 15 and 20 percent – since 1995. This, however, is only a small part of the total Energy Cost Per Mile calculation.
 

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Now if they would just factor in the energy usage per mile over the life of the vehicle.
I'm sure there are some numbers somewhere showing the average miles per vehicle ...
 

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Plus about $3,000+ to replace the batteries after 80,000 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Plus where do they put the batteries ??? I know I wouldn't like them in our landfill. Lord knows we have enough problems with contaminated well water with oxygenated gas in Maryland.
 
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