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Hybrid Cars

I’m considering buying a Toyota Hilander Hybrid. I have heard a lot about the danger of electromagnetic energy from the electric motors and the electric cables that run under the seats of the car. Should I be concerned enough to sway me from purchasing a hybrid vehicle?

Perhaps you already are concerned about this enough to sway you from purchasing a hybrid. Personally, it’s not something I’d worry about. Either you want a hybrid or you don’t. I have yet to be convinced that the upfront price premium can be made up in fuel savings in a reasonable time, but that’s just me.

I’m not worried about it, I’m considering a Camry Hybrid. And as long as you view the hybrid as an option, not a money maker, don’t concern yourself with the Highlander Hybrid.

I don’t believe there is any EM to worry about. As long as the power is DC (Not AC) EM is (as I recall from college physics many years ago) almost non-existent.

Frankly I would not worry about it. Some years ago when this was a popular thing to worry about (people were worried about high voltage power lines) it was found that there was far more EM from the alarm clock on their night stand. We still have alarm clocks.

There’s no proof what-so-ever that EM causes any health concerns. That said, your statement is not really correct. The electric drive of the hybrids is in fact AC, not DC. (Yes the batteries are DC, but the motor/generators are AC. There is an electronic inverter to convert the DC from the batteries to AC.)

There is no evidence that EM energy is hazardous to your health…but that is because the power companies fund most of the studies done on this subject. There is, however, a proven correlation between living near high capacity power lines and increased rates of cancer.

However, I don’t think you should let that bother you. The amount of exposure in a hybrid should be about the same as a normal car. It doesn’t compare to the magnetic fields generated by high capacity power lines.

Give this a read:

The connection between overhead lines and cancer isn’t even all that well established and is only a statistical correlation. The problem is that the perception of health hazards of transmission lines predates any sort of study done on the matter and so when you go to do a study these days the sorts of people who live under power lines tend to be both lower income and less concerned about other health risks. It is likely a case of correlation without causation.

At any rate, you certainly don’t need to worry about the health effects of a hybrid car, although with the Highlander you’re looking at, study the EPA ratings and your own driving habits. The Highlander in particular has pretty lackluster highway gas mileage and even the city mileage isn’t all that great.

Worry about something REAL, like your cell-phone and brain cancer.

It’s not just AC, it’s high voltage, too! 500 volts in a Prius, to be exact.

It’s not just AC, it’s high voltage, too! 500 volts in a Prius, to be exact.

How does that compare to the voltage going through the typical spark plug wire?

Normal spark plug voltage is 30,000 to 60,000 volts. However, the current is relatively low. It’s an apples to oranges comparison.