Are Hybrids Putting the Brakes on Greener Options?

French researchers are concerned that consumer demand for hybrid cars, fueled by advertising and PR, is slowing down the development of genuinely sustainable green auto technologies. Their report, Hybrid Vehicles: A Temporary Step, states that "There is a general convergence of strategies toward promoting hybrid vehicles as the mid-term solution to very low-emissions and high-mileage vehicles ... Such a convergence is based more on customer perception triggered by very clever marketing and communications campaigns than on pure rational scientific arguments and may result in the need for any manufacturer operating in the USA to have a hybrid electric vehicle in its model range in order to survive." Technologies that may be taking a back seat as a result include hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. Nearly 24,000 hybrid vehicles were sold in the U.S. in January 2008.


Hydrogen is energy negative to produce (it take more energy to make it, than you can get out of it)

The biggest proponents of Hydrogen right now? The people who want to build nuclear power plants.

Makes a nice back door, no?

Until we we can tap into Jupiter, we can and should consider hydrogen a means of storing and transporting energy rather than as an energy source.

Every means of storing energy gives you less back out than you put in. There's no lack of practical questions about hydrogen, but I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand.

I agree that we need to guard that nuclear "back door" very vigilantly.

What greener options? Certainly not electric vehicles. EVs are benefited by advanced research and testing of batteries and motors and all the other electrical components that go into hybrid vehicles.

The better question to ask would be: Are hydrogen vehicles and hydrogen hype putting the brakes on electric transportation and other options?

One must educate themselves on the subject and history of anti-EV activities. But consider whose interests are served by pushing hydrogen and criticizing battery electric hybrids.

More than 90% of all hydrogen produced comes from natural gas. Nothing renewable about that. And we know which industry sells it.
Many automotive companies missed the hybrid boat and are not at all happy about Toyota's remarkable financial success with hybrids.
Tax dollars spent on hydrogen vehicle research vastly outstrip those spent on hybrid and battery electric vehicle research.

Possibly this report is genuinely independent. Possibly it, like France, is bias toward the nuclear power industry. Possibly this report like so many others on the subject are designed by PR firms to spread disinformation about hybrids. The fingerprints of PR manipulation are all over the demise of the General Motors EV-1 all electric vehicle. We know that fake front groups funded by oil and auto companies were formed to thwart California's efforts to jumpstart zero emission electric vehicles. Why would any of that have changed with hybrids which are a step in the direction of electric vehicles?

What I'm wondering now is if the Center for Media and Democracy has itself fallen victim to a PR ploy by posting this asinine article.

Thanks for your comment. The point that I was trying to emphasize, but perhaps didn't well enough, was that consumers are not necessarily aware that hybrids are not the best ultimate options, and that there are other types of vehicles that in the future may be better. There has undoubtedly been a PR and advertising push for hybrids which is the extent of information a lot of consumers have on the issue.