How green is it really?

I need to work out the numbers on this to make sure it works, but please indulge me for a second.

How “green” are these new cars if they have software that is going to fail?

How “green” are these new cars if they have batteries that will need to be replaced?

When I was growing up my father had a 1963 Willys Overland Station Wagon(link is to a similar model). He bought it in the mid 1970’s and its original engine had been replaced with a Chevy 283 V8.   In high school, my father and I rebuilt the engine, put in a new clutch and transmission for a few hundred dollars.  Five years ago, he sold the Willy’s on eBay.

I’ve been thinking about this car for a lot of reasons lately.  When I was 13, I couldn’t stand it. It was embarrassing to me to drive around in it as everyone in Marin where I was living had shiny new cars. I much preferred to drive around in my dad’s shiny new BMW.  I grew to like the Willy’s and helped my dad rebuild the engine etc.  This taught me a lot about how engines work and also set that engine up to run for a long time.

With all the news recently about car recalls, and concerns about if the problems with those cars, including the Prius, might be software-related, I’ve been thinking…how long will these cars be around? 30 years after they are made, will anyone be able to rebuild these engines?  What if the software fails again? How do you fix that in your garage?  You can’t. How long will the batteries last? If the batteries give out, can you head down to Kragen and buy another?

If you can’t fix it, and it has a finite life span, how green is it really?


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