It’s ironic that Toyota Prius is applauded worldwide for being an environmentally friendly vehicle but that manufacturing it consumes more energy and creates more emissions than average.
Toyota examined the car's total environmental impact from factory to junkyard. We already know that the fuel-efficient Prius would lead in its class of vehicles in lifetime emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide.
However, its emissions level of nonmethane hydrocarbons and particulate matter was slightly worse than average.
Toyota explained that it’s because building hybrid-only parts such as motors, inverters and nickel-metal hydride batteries uses up more energy and produces more emissions.
The Prius actually did worse than the class average across all five emissions categories when viewing the "materials manufacturing" phase of the car's life cycle.
Toyota said that last year, it conducted life cycle emissions assessments on eight vehicle series. The carmaker than used the results to help redesign models such as the Prius, Lexus RX 450h and HS 250h and Japan-market vehicles like the Wish minivan and Mark X sedan. [via autonews - sub. required]