“We didn’t start the fire, though we did ignite it”, I love this line from the famous 80’s song, simply because it’s the real truth about all of us. We didn’t mean to damage the Earth, but we did it anyway. I still remember reading about the Black Smog, London, used to have during the Industrial Revolution. The major reason for so much smog and pollution were not just the industries, but also the new Horseless Carriage, which we now fondly call cars.
The evolution of the car industry can also been seen as the destruction of environment. We cut down forests to make way for bigger and faster expressways, we dig deeper and deeper into the earth’s core to find more oil to run our vehicles and consume more and more of practically every possible natural resource, to provide us a simple means of transportation.
The fact is that we seldom change our ways of living,. We, as humans, have always looked for ease and comfort. We don’t want to carpool as it’s too inconvenient to wait for someone else and also what would the neighbors think? We hate travelling by buses as they are too crowded and the autowallas always overcharge, so we save money like Uncle Scrooge and buy ourselves a spanking new Maruti, don’t worry, I am not lecturing; I am one of you.
I first read about Toyota Prius in a magazine at that time I paid no attention to this hybrid car, which looked like one of those never to see daylight concept cars. But a few years later, in my MBA class, I did a case study on Toyota launching Prius, and that is when I learnt about the power of the Hybrid. The car has a “regenerative battery system”; it means that the batteries charge themselves and don’t require electricity or gasoline.
We all know about the Kyoto Protocol and how the USA has declined to sign it and has instead, made its own environmental safety norms, one of which is the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) norms proposed by California Air Resources Board (CARB). The ZEV proposes that 10% of all vehicle produced by any car manufacturer must have Zero Tailpipe Emission and Toyota, keeping in mind this proposition and several long term benefits of the first mover advantage in the hybrid sector , went onto build Prius.
The concept of hybrid cars is fairly new and it will catch up in the years to come, but the overall impact on the environment is very high because of this technological breakthrough. We can become less dependent on fossil fuels and leave a cleaner and much greener earth for our children. Toyota Prius is a runaway success in the North American markets, and I wish that even we get this car here in India and till then, let’s try some other things for a change; let’s make travelling alone in a car taboo, let’s switch our petrol vehicles to CNG , use more CFLs at home and LED lights in offices.
I know you may feel it’s too expensive and time consuming but trust me, I haven’t changed a light bulb in the past three years because I have only CFL’s at home, and I just got a CNG kit in my car and it costs me only 500 bucks a month . Let’s try to consciously become a regenerative generation like Toyota Prius and rejuvenate our Mother Earth.
And as they say, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.