The Truth behind Hybrid Batteries…

Most people think that going green entails buying a brand spankin’ new hybrid car to help get better gas mileage. There are, of course, people out there who think that this is a bunch of bologna and have come up with reasons why hybrid cars will not help in the long run. I believe that to support a vision you need to address the negative aspects head on.

The opposition centers their negativity on the hybrid car battery. They say that it they are made out of a highly contaminable substance and they cost too much to replace.

The nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery is made out of nickel and comes from a mine in Canada. Nickel mining is a filthy business and highly controversial that many people protest because it produces a lot of sulfur and acid rain. After the nickel is mined, “it is shipped off on an enormous gas-guzzling cargo ship to Europe, where it's refined. After Europe, it's shipped to China, where it's turned into a type of foam and then finally shipped to Japan” where makers, like Toyota, produce the batteries they use in their cars. (Shomar)

The cost to replace the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery packs is around $3,000. Because of its substance, these batteries are hard to find. You cannot just go out to local Les Schwab and purchase one much less what person in their right mind has an extra three grand lying around? Toyota, the makers of the highest selling hybrid car, the Prius, claims that consumers do not need to worry about the batteries because they can last the life of the car. Unlike most batteries, with regular use, they do not ware out and they will not hinder the power of the vehicle. The only time they would need to repurchase is if there is was an accident and the battery was damaged. “Toyota claims that not one has required a battery replacement due to malfunction or wearing out.” (Cotta)

It seems that we are doing more harm than good when we drive our gas saving automobiles, we call hybrids. I think that these cars are still fresh to the market and there are not many replacements yet so these highly corrosive batteries have yet to hit our landfills and do their damage. They may seem like a good purchase for right now, but what about the future? What about when we have to come up with new way of solving “global warming” when these MiMH batteries are aiding to the problem? They are sort of like duct tape: they are holding us together for right now but will not be sticky like glue forever.

Cotta, Rick. “Hybrid Batteries: None the Worse for Wear?” Consumer Guide Automotive. 11 July 2009

Shomar, James. “The hybrid facade: the truth behind fuel efficiency and costs.” The Dailey Orange: 27 December 2008. 11 July 2009

Posted by: Kallie Martin