The Toyota Prius is both praised by environmentalists for its leadership in the hybrid vehicle space and criticized for its wanton use of rare earth metals. Now Toyota is upping the green stakes with a strange, yet ingenious initiative–the company has developed two new flower species that offset CO2 emissions from its Prius manufacturing plant in Toyota City, Japan.
Toyota’s flowers are derivatives of cherry sage and gardenia that effectively absorb nitrogen oxides and remove heat from the atmosphere. This lowers the surface temperature surrounding the factory, which in turn cuts down on energy requirements for cooling. But is it enough to silence the Prius’ critics?
The Prius production process reportedly generates more CO2 than standard petroleum-powered vehicles, meaning that the flower planting initiative is little more than greenwashing. For its part, Toyota claims that the increase in CO2 during production is quickly offset by the vehicle’s reduced emissions once it hits the streets. Regardless, Toyota should be applauded for thinking outside the CO2 emissions reduction box.
[Via Autoblog Green]