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AutoBlog: REPORT: Toyota's push to build green cars may destroy 17th century Japanese rice paddies

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Filed under: Toyota

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Toyota has worked hard to cultivate its image as the "green" automaker. And with so many hybrids on the road, it's hard to argue. Some critics have cited the fact that mining for battery components is bad for the environment and the thousands of miles that massive, CO2-spewing ships travel to park those hybrids on our shores more than negate the positive effects. It's hard to argue with 50 mpg for $22,000, though, and, after all, politicians love them some hybrids.

Toyota's plans to build a new technical center and test track only 30 miles from its Aichi, Japan headquarters has those critics chirping anew, as the land pegged for construction is a 17th century rice patty. Toyota plans to use the facility to fine-tune its vehicles and stay ahead of Honda and GM in the hybrid game, but the cost of the price may be a bit too steep.

To clear the 1,631 acres to create the facility, Toyota will need to deforest 691 acres, fill the rice paddies and flatten mountains. Flatten mountains? Really? Good thing Toyota also owns Hino heavy trucks. Activists allege that the construction will destroy the habitat of the endangered gray-faced buzzard and oriental honey buzzard, too.

[source: Bloomberg | Image: Three Lions/Hutton Gallery/Getty]

REPORT: Toyota's push to build green cars may destroy 17th century Japanese rice paddies originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jun 2009 08:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Whatever... hybrid drivers are already too busy wrapping their lips around their vehicles' exhaust pipe to care about the huge environmental consequences from manufacturing the batteries, and other components, so I doubt this will be a big deal for Toyota's PR department.

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REALITY WILL SINK IN SOONER FOR ALL THE TREE HUGGERS

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REALITY WILL SINK IN SOONER FOR ALL THE TREE HUGGERS

So I assume you want GM to discontinue development of the Volt.

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Well, they could say that this cuts down on GHG emissions, because rice paddies are a huge source of CH4.

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So I assume you want GM to discontinue development of the Volt.

These so called GREEN cars arent as great as people think they are. Wait until they get smacked in the face with reality when something on them needs repaired. I don't think its gonna be to cheap.

Edited by Daryl Z71
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These so called GREEN cars arent as great as people think they are. Wait until they get smacked in the face with reality when something on them needs repaired. I don't think its gonna be to cheap.

I'm sure people said the same thing when DOHC engines started replacing OHV ones.

Bemoan hybrids (and other alt. fuels) all you want, but the reality is that they're here to stay and they're a small part of reducing our dependence on foreign oil. "Drill baby, drill" isn't going to happen, and even if it did, thats just putting the problem off another day. Hybrids, electric, hydrogen...these are the powertrains of the future.

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