dumbdave wrote:As has been mentioned though, its not just the benefits to carbon emissions during its lifetime, my personal concern with electric hybrid vehicles is that their emissions savings are outweighed by the need to dispose of the pollutants contained in the batteries at the end of life.
(In a similar way we now have 1000's of fridges & freezers piled up around the place because of the nasty CFCs etc they used to use) will we see 100s of prius battery packs awaiting safe disposal...then need to run a special disposal facility to get rid of them, and so generate more pollution in doing so than the prius ever saved in its time on the road? (ditto this for hydrogren fuel cells...i understand they have some nasty materials/chemicals involved in their construction as well!)
The same argument can be made for quite a few "green" technologies. For example "clean coal" relies upon carbon sequestration, which merely stores carbon dioxide rather than removing it from the cycle entirely. Nobody seems to want to think about what will happen when this carbon eventually escapes into the environment (which is almost inevitable).
There have even been plans to pump the CO2 into the ocean, allowing it to dissolve in deep waters. At first this seemed like a rational course of action, until you take into account the role of CO2 in ocean acidification and the effect this has on the fish stocks that millions of people rely upon.
All technological solutions to environmental issues are a trade off between priorities, often relying upon another (as yet undeveloped) technological advance to rectify the issues that will be raised when the current technology reaches the end of it's lifespan.
There can be no overnight fix for "green motoring", which is still in it's infancy. When you look at the slow but steady advance in ICE technology since it's invention (despite the continual acceleration in modern technological development) it's pretty clear that we've got a long way to go before we can experience truely green motoring, but at least we're making progress.
On the other hand, F1's ultra-restricted development of KERS technology is like putting a green sticking plaster on a shotgun wound. When toyota engineers are laughing at the F1 KERS systems for being less advanced than the one on their road cars, you know something has to be wrong.