Are the electric / gas hybrids a really good solution or?

the current design uses an increased number of lead-acid batteries to storage electric for the motor. these batteries have a life < 5 years on average. so are we just trading of air polution for ground and water polution with increased usage of lead and acid.

Hold on there. Lead-acid may be the only battery you know, but it is a TERRIBLE battery technology. They're toxic (lead! acid!) They're heavy for how much energy they hold (lead!) They have disgustingly short lifespans, only 3-7 years.

Nickel-iron "Edison cells" were invented by Thomas Edison's company, and they have a very long track record of lasting 20-40 years. Now, they've got some limitations which make them less suitable for an EV/hybrid battery, but that is more like the lifespan you should expect from a proper, quality battery. On NiMH, jury is still out - the technology was only invented 15 years ago so the batteries don't really have a track record, except that they seem to be lasting. The various lithium technologies, same thing.

Those are the technologies you'll see in hybrids, not those nasty lead-acids.

Anyway, lead-acid batteries have ALWAYS been recycled. Don't believe me! Go down to your local auto parts store and ASK them what happens to used batteries. They will show you a room full of scungy old batteries waiting to be picked up by the battery company so they can re-use the lead in new batteries. Smelting new lead is expensive, that's why car battery recycling is nearly 100% already.
They are better than just all gas.
The life of the batteries is much more than that, plus the auto companies recycle the batteries when they eventually do need to be replaced. And they encourage the consumer to recycle the battery by offering a $200 reward for each battery.

Larry: "It takes energy to charge the batteries and there is great loss of energy in power lines and cords and chargers so no, in reality you are just paying extra for junk science philosophy."

Bravo for missing the point entirely for one of the most advertised automotive technologies in years. The batteries DON'T NEED TO BE PLUGGED IN.
Your information is incorrect.

The Prius battery, for example, is designed to last the lifetime of the car. No Prius battery has been replaced due to age in the nearly 8 years the car has been in production. The record is a Prius used as a taxi which as like 300,000+ miles on the original battery.

Additionally, the batteries are fully rechargeable and thus do not create pollution at the end of their lives. Gas/Electric hybrids are indeed an excellent solution.
yes, if you're a 'bleeding heart liberal' that believes all the hype about humans having anything to do with 'global warming.' It takes energy to charge the batteries and there is great loss of energy in power lines and cords and chargers so no, in reality you are just paying extra for junk science philosophy. now, if we had more nuclear power plants it may be a decent trade-off. the same with all the alcohol hype. It takes a lot of energy to make a bushel of corn and then convert it to ethanol and ethanol has about one-fifth the energy gasoline has.
Yeah, its not really a long-term solution. But its got to start with something. . . . . .
The current Prius traction battery is also NiMh and it only weighs 99Lbs. Toyota has a $200 "bounty" on each one if they are returned. I personally want a Prius for the touch screen and other gadgets. I don't care too much about the "green" factor as I currently don't have a running vehicle and my 1 car wouldn't do much to offset the dozens of other cars around where I live that are either too old to have a catalytic converter or have had it punched out or cut off because the owner ignored a "check engine" light and caused it to overheat and plug up.
Only the low level plug in electrics and golf carts use lead acid batteries anymore. Most hybrids use NiMh batteries and soon will use Lithium Ion batteries. Since the batteries are never fully discharged or fully recharged they are expected to last the life of the hybrid. As the lead acid batteries have a ready recycling program in the works so does the Li-ion or any of the other batteries that use heavy metals.
Which is easier on enviorment? making a battery that last five or more years or providing your lites for 5 years?
They are a half-way alternative, with the main advantage being that they turn kinetic energy into battery power upon breaking and charges the battery when the car is at rest instead of simply losing that energy.

Firstly, as many others have pointed out, there's a tough question about whether people actually recycle the battery or not. On top of that, even if the battery is recycled, the process of recycling takes energy and burns fossil fuels...still, because of the enery saved through the recharging and breaking processes of hybrid cars, the efficiency outweighs the pollution of even the worst case IE dumping the lead-acid battery...and is much better for more current hybrids that often use cleaner battery types.

The short life, as you stated, also poses a problem though, as several answerers have noted there are other cleaner battery types in development (although the fairly recent Lithium type, for example, is more toxic than lead-acid).

Consider this as well...anything that involves gas needs transmissions, spark plugs, valves/pistons, cooling systems...and much more that contributes to their lack of reliability compared to simple 2-magnet electric motors with very few moving parts...not to mention decreased efficiency.
Car companies hate this because they can't make money off those many gas-only engine related after-market parts people use to repair their cars.

Oil companies, as stated by several, hate losing business for direct gas. But, moreover, they hate the idea of people turning to pure electricity or any source that does not allow them to use the same distribution channels they use to ship gas (pipelines, trucks, ocean liners, etc.). Go figure many of them are heavy into HYDROGEN CARS...they can make money shipping hydrogen the same way they do ship electric they'd have to pay for an entirely new infrastructure.

The real solution? Very light (think 1500lbs or less...IE the 1979 Comutacar) 100% electric cars refueled by some combination of solar, wind, and the now emerging tidal (from ocean not rivers) renewable power sources for the electricity.
The 1979 Comutacar went 40mph for about 60 mile range...battery technology now would push those performance specs to 80mph/200miles range no problem.

If they are light enough they will be able to be as quick as today's cars even on relatively small supplies of renewable energy.

Anything that involves burning gas/coal (other dirty fuel sources) to produce electricity to run the car somewhat defeats the point...although burning cleaner-burning natural gas to make electricity to power cars is getting closer to the point.

The answers post by the user, for information only, does not guarantee the right.

More Questions and Answers:
  • Is the weather making you feel like you dont know if your coming or going?
  • Beat the smoking ban. Fly to europe.?
  • What is the most "earth friendly" way to dispose of cooking oil?
  • What are the prerequisites for a sustainable society?
  • Do you think that 4th of July contributes to Global warming problems?
  • What do you think when you hear the word spring?
  • Live earth?
  • Are you using your light bulbs you received from yahoo?