- Paul McCartney and a Lexus LS600h via the Daily Mail

Was Paul McCartney Wrong about Hybrids?

Back in 2008, Paul McCartney’s hybrid Lexus LS600h was flown to England instead of shipped by sea adding unnecessary carbon to the environment.

4y ago
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Few of us will intentionally go out of our way to generate greenhouse gases; we may not be willing to sacrifice horsepower for a greener car… but choosing not to sacrifice horsepower to save the polar bears, is far different from intentionally modifying your truck so that it blows out massive amounts of greenhouse gasses in defiance of environmental regulations like these morons:

Back in 2008, Sir Paul McCartney, a well-known environmental activist, ordered up a hybrid Lexus LS600h so that he could do his part to save the polar bears. Lexus didn’t want the famous Beatle to have to wait for his new car to arrive via the slow boat from Japan, so they put it in a plane and flew it to England. It was calculated at the time, that shipping the car would have added 297kg of carbon to the environment, while flying it added 38,050kg! That’s 128 times more carbon! With the 2008 Lexus LS600h rated at producing just 219g of carbon per kilometer, it means that the flight cost the equivalent carbon foot-print of driving the Lexus for over 172,000 kilometers!

Paul McCartney via NPR

Paul McCartney via NPR

Sir Paul was dutifully horrified that Lexus had flown his new eco-friendly vehicle half way around the planet, ruining his efforts at saving the polar bears. This of course didn’t stop him from using the car; after all, the damage was done. Here he is seen using the car to go to the recording studio not long after the car had arrived in the UK:

Paul McCartney with his infamous Lexus LS600h via the Daily Mail

Paul McCartney with his infamous Lexus LS600h via the Daily Mail

But what is interesting is that even back in 2008, 219g of carbon per kilometer was not all that great. The standard selling economy vehicle was only producing 154g per km, and a luxury Jaguar XJ of similar size was only producing 249g per km! At only 30g per km more carbon, that means Sir Paul could have driven the Jaguar XJ for nearly 10,000 km just on what shipping the Lexus via boat would have cost!

2017 Jaguar XJ via Jaguar

2017 Jaguar XJ via Jaguar

What is really surprising is how much petrol engines have improved when it comes to the carbon foot print, less than 10 years later. In 2017, the top 20 best-selling cars in Europe produce only 100 to 130g of carbon per kilometer; a 20-25% drop over the previous decade! Even more surprising is that a 2017 Jaguar XJ produces as little as 149g of carbon per kilometer, that’s nearly a 40% drop! However, Sir Paul’s beloved Lexus LS600h is still producing 219g of carbon per km in 2017, just like it was back in 2008!

EU CO2 Monitoring

EU CO2 Monitoring

This of course is nothing new for Hybrids. Toyota still falsely claims that the Prius emits around 70g of carbon per kilometer, when independent testing has shown time after time that it actually does more in the 104-120g per km range. The truth is that the Prius barely keeps up with a standard economy car when it comes to the environment, which makes one wonder why anyone would spend the extra $10,000.00 (roughly) to buy the hideous thing over a comparable vehicle. Worse, still, the Prius owner has added to the environmental damage because of what the Prius’s batteries do to the environment!

Toyota Prius Battery via YouTube

Toyota Prius Battery via YouTube

It would seem that the technology of hybrids is falling far behind the technology of standard gasoline and diesel engines, when it comes to being green.

The bottom line is that Hybrids didn’t make a lot of sense back in 2008, and they make even less sense today.

Keep driving my friends!

My thanks to Mark and Larry for all their help with this article.

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Comments (14)

  • Sir Paul should have kept his Mini

      3 years ago
  • I'll just keep killing dinosaurs lol

      4 years ago
  • Something else everyone with hybrids like to overlook is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. It just doesn't make sense. You CAN NOT produce energy from one source and transfer it through another without a significant loss. Driving off electricity produced by an on-board gas engine is less efficient than just driving off the gas engine alone. But, fuel efficiency isn't the selling point of a hybrid, after all. The tax breaks and 'feel good' are the selling points. Because, if someone made a 30 horsepower car that WAS good for the environment we [in general] wouldn't buy it. A hybrid is just a low(er) powered gas motor with an electric boost.

    Oh, and, "MPGe" needs to be tossed.

      4 years ago
  • The math gets trickier, though, when you include other forms of environmental damage. Electric cars need to be light, which means they include a lot of high-performing metals. The lithium in the batteries, for example, is super light and conductive—that’s how you get a lot of energy without adding a lot of weight. Other, rare metals are sprinkled throughout the car, mostly in the magnets that are in everything from the headlights to the on-board electronics.

    But those rare metals come from somewhere—often, from environmentally destructive mines. It’s not just Tesla, of course. All electric vehicles rely on parts with similar environmental issues. Even solar panels depend on rare metals that have to be dug out of the earth and processed in less-than-green ways, says David Abraham, author of the book The Elements of Power.

    We can’t look at mining as an over-there thing and at Tesla as an over-here thing. They’re intricately linked. David Abraham

    Rare metals only exist in tiny quantities and inconvenient places—so you have to move a lot of earth to get just a little bit. In the Jiangxi rare earth mine in China, Abraham writes, workers dig eight-foot holes and pour ammonium sulfate into them to dissolve the sandy clay. Then they haul out bags of muck and pass it through several acid baths; what’s left is baked in a kiln, leaving behind the rare earths required by everything from our phones to our Teslas.

    At this mine, those rare earths amounted to 0.2 percent of what gets pulled out of the ground. The other 99.8 percent—now contaminated with toxic chemicals—is dumped back into the environment. That damage is difficult to quantify, just like the impact of oil drilling.

    And, as in every stage of the process, mining has hidden emissions. Jiangxi has it relatively easy because it’s digging up clay, but many mines rely on rock-crushing equipment with astronomical energy bills, as well as coal-fired furnaces for the final baking stages. Those spew a lot of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the process of refining a material destined for your zero-emissions car. In fact, manufacturing an electric vehicle generates more carbon emissions than building a conventional car, mostly because of its battery, the Union of Concerned Scientists has found.

      4 years ago
  • What do you have against rolling coal? If your truck is old enough you aren't breaking any laws. I personally think it's stupid but the feaux righteous indignation is laughable.

      4 years ago
    • it is explained pretty clearly, some people did it in protest of environmental regulations tightening up which is just ridiculous.

        4 years ago
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