The Dark Side of the Hybrid: Lead Acid Batteries
Article by Jessica Hope
Hybrid cars have long been touted as the most promising sustainable lifestyle choice since recycling. It’s not hard to see why – hybrid electric vehicles use substantially less fossil fuel than your traditional automobile, and produce far fewer greenhouse gases all around. These are undoubtedly positive things – but while hybrid glorification isn’t completely off base, there’s a little more to it than most consumers may realize.
One major issue with the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is the type of battery it requires. Lead acid batteries are critical to a hybrid’s functionality; they allow for regenerative braking, the process that gives these vehicles the ability to save their own energy to power the vehicle when idling or driving at low speeds. Electric motor batteries are typically made from nickel and lithium, which contain high levels of toxicity, and can seriously harm the environment when disposed of improperly.