Prius/hybrid bashers have a new angle of attack, thanks to Cardiff University and UK automotive consultancy Clifford Thames (who currently features Toyota's logo on its website). The Financial Times reports that the dynamic duo studied a range of vehicles and concluded that many conventional petrol or diesel engined machines (e.g. the Mini Cooper D diesel hatchback and Fiat Panda) are "greener" than the gas – electric Prius. How's that then? "The Cardiff/Clifford Thames ranking gave CO2, nitrogen oxide and other emissions a 50 per cent weighting in assessing cars’ overall environmental friendliness. For the other 50 per cent, it ranked vehicles on their construction, energy and end-of-life costs, based on their length, width and weight." We'd like to see a bit more detail on that formula. Meanwhile the study's author was aware that their results were a bit, um, skewed. “We’re not saying that any car that is the same size as the Prius is better," Clifford Thames’ Richard Barber admitted. "but the gap is closing very rapidly, and conventional technologies will pass the Prius." In fact, “Conventional technology will overtake the Prius over the next 12 to 18 months, and consumers won’t have to pay a premium for it,” said David Riemenschneider, Clifford Thames’ chief executive. Let the eco-games begin! Oh wait; they already have.
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