Toyota's rivals have long complained that the popular Prius hybrid has a less-than-green legacy due to its manufacturing process. Now the car maker has flashed its green thumb by creating two new species of flower that help offset the carbon emissions from the Prius plant in Japan.
The new version of the cherry sage plant can absorb harmful greenhouse gases, such as nitrogen oxide, through its leaves. And Toyota's variant of the gardenia acts as a natural humidifier by creating water vapor in the air, to help cool the factory grounds, reducing the energy required for air conditioners.
The Age reports that Toyota has made a broader effort to reduce the Prius manufacturing footprint on the environment, and has managed to reduce CO2 from its Prius plant by 55 percent since 1990.
Even the grass grows more slowly thanks to some Toyota tinkering. The new grass variant only requires mowing once a year, as opposed to the old version that required mowing three times a year.
The Prius plant also boasts reflective solar tubes in the place of many electric lights, motion-sensitive lights in the toilet facilities, and an air-conditioning system used in moderation. We'd wager that these efforts may contribute more to Toyota's greening goal than flower power, but the genetic engineering is still a pretty stunt.
Toyota has recently debuted its plug-in version of the Prius, as a possible counter to GM's plug-in Volt slated for 2010. No word on whether it's seriously looking at any challenge posed by the electric Hummer, otherwise known as the "Prius-Stomping Green Machine."
Genetic engineering to satisfy political correctness.
Its impossible to see any way this trend might not turn out good.
They'd do us a lot of good by giving producing the seed for that grass that needs mowing once a year.
60% of water consumed in the US goes to lawns and gardens. If the grass grows slower, it needs less water and less energy/fuel to mow and maintain it. Less toxic fertilizers which means less run-off contaminants in our ground and river water supply which make-up the bulk of our water supply.
It's a growing problem here in California.
Somebody please bring this seed to the consumer. If it were up to Scotts, Dupont, and all the other big companies, we will never see this kind of innovation.
Got one question. Hope someone can answer it.
Wouldn't toyota prius factory release way more pollution than the poor flowers can take in? I'm guessing the flower can absorb about .5-1% of the pollution but what happens to the rest?...
I agree, i don't think that those pants could absorb an significant amount of the pollutions released by the plant. Maybe they could try to make the manufacturing process a little bit more efficient.
If they could bioengineer some type of grass to rapidly absorb the dog bombs in my back yard ...
I think there will be a problem if we start genetically enhancing plants. First though, I think it's great that they're trying to find a way to help the environment. However, what if we all start using this grass? What kind of effects will it have on our ecological systems? Will it be a sort of invasive species?
What's the goal here? If the goal is reduction of greenhouse gases, then Toyota is making progress. It's too late to stop the genetic modification of plants... if you eat corn or soy biproducts in the USA, you are ARE eating GM foods.
The question should be- are these particular variants of GM plants going to cause environmental problems. As with so many other issues, we likely won't know until its too late to do anything about it... but then, we can't live our lives in perpetual fear of change.
Do you not think the manufacturing process has a relevant impact on environment if we compare it with the benefits that the Prius cars have concerning emissions? If we say an average car has a lifespan of 500 000 km, just one liter gain per 100 km of consumption generates vaguely 3 times more CO2 than the car's weight.
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What's wrong with genentically modified plants? It helps us save water and allows them to grow in harsh environments.
This is really wonderful. The things mentioned are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.
Go Toyota! At least you can claim that the company attempt to reduce the effects of emisions on our roads. The Prius is afantastic vehicle and although I agree that the process of manufacture is not ideal, nor is many other so called green methods. Until we can manufacture any products without negative byproducts, the best is to attempt to minimize the outfall. Good on you!