P.M. drives push for hybrid vehicles

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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ENVIRONMENT PUSH: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.

ENVIRONMENT PUSH: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi. (Photo: Samoa Observer / File)

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has encouraged the business community to think more about importing hybrid vehicles. 

Hybrid vehicles are environmentally friendly and are propelled by gasoline or diesel engine in combination with an electric drive. 

Speaking to the media, the Prime Minister was reacting to reports that other countries have declared that by 2020, they will only allow hybrid vehicles in their country. 

Tuilaepa welcomes the idea, noting it’s been two weeks since countries around the world announced they are looking at having only hybrid vehicles. 

“They emphasised the importance of hybrid vehicles and how it’s environmentally friendly,” he said.

 “These countries are planning that by a certain time where only hybrid vehicles will be allowed in their countries. 

“This is one way to address the issue of air pollution that contributes to global warming and climate change.”

Tuilaepa noted however that one difficulty about these environmentally friendly vehicles is that they are very costly. 

“One hybrid costs more than USD$200,000 so they are very expensive.

“However that is why it’s expensive because it’s due to the fact that they are environmentally friendly.

According to Tuilaepa, this issue is not new to the government. 

“I have met and discussed this specific matter with the Minister of Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt on ways to attract businesses to bring hybrid vehicles into Samoa,” he said. 

A hybrid car has an efficient internal combustion engine for rural use, which charges a set of batteries used to drive the car in slow traffic. 

Hybrid cars are constructed from lighter materials such as aluminum, the combination of these designs leading to an economic fuel use of up to 50mpg(us). 

According to media reports, Toyota is the current world leaders in hybrid car sales which in 2009, totaled over two million, followed by Honda with a third of a million sales. 

The innovative technologies that contribute to the hybrid car's efficiency are;

 • High efficient engine – the engine is constructed from an alloy which makes it very light, also being very efficient due to being finely tuned and controlled by computerized monitoring systems.

 • Battery operation in traffic – this drastically reduces tailpipe emissions that are so obnoxious in many cities.

 • Lighter materials used in manufacture – a lighter car means less energy required to drive the wheels. 

 • Regenerative braking – when you brake this system converts the energy normally lost through heat to electricity, charging the batteries.

 • Automatic engine stop / start – this component automatically cuts out the engine when you stop the car in traffic, restarting in the electric mode when the accelerator is pressed.

 • Hi-tech tires – new designs are low rolling resistant tires (when you turn the steering wheel sharply, the tires tend to roll onto their sidewall and this action uses more fuel). Some hybrid car tires are produced using recycled materials.

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