We know that the transportation industry is a big culprit in carbon emissions and fossil fuel usage. However, the cars we’re driving today are a lot more eco-friendly than the cars we were driving 20 years ago. You might think it’s only hybrid and electric cars that can boast environmental consciousness, but that’s not so.
Here are some of the recent innovations that make getting from point A to point B a lot more green.
Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell engine
Toyota set an industry standard in 1997 with the world’s first commercially successful gasoline-electric hybrid car, the Prius. Now, once again Toyota is showing itself to be an innovator in green automobile technology, with a hydrogen-powered car to be released next year. For now, Toyota is just calling it the 2015 FC car, which stands for fuel-cell.
A fuel-cell is a ‘stack’ of cells that generate electricity by electro-chemically combining hydrogen and oxygen. The vehicle emits water vapour instead of carbon. The battery lasts a lot longer than with conventional electric vehicles, and is much quicker to charge. More good news for consumers is that Toyota is willing to sell the model at a loss for the time being (like it did with the Prius), so as to popularise the new technology.
Ford’s EcoBoost engine
Ford’s new EcoBoost engine, which was launched in the Ford Focus, won the title of the 2012 “International Engine of the Year,” gaining the highest score in the award’s history. It offers a 20 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, and up to a 15 percent reduction in carbon emissions.
It is a cost-effective and versatile engine that combines turbocharging and direct fuel injection to improve fuel economy, without sacrificing engine power. With green vehicle technology, you usually have to choose between eco-friendliness or power and performance. That’s not the case with the EcoBoost engine. It’s light and efficient, while still retaining its power.
You’ll find the engine not only in any Ford Focus ST for sale, but also in all Ford’s future vehicle applications.
Better electric cars
Electric vehicles are theoretically cleaner than conventional vehicles. (You also need to take into account how a particular region generates electricity – whether it is clean or not.) However, one issue that has prevented the widespread uptake of the electric car is how far an electric car can drive on one charge of its battery. In some places there aren’t many recharge stations, which makes it impractical to travel long distances in an electric vehicle.
However, an applied sciences team from Offenburg, Germany, has broken a world record for electric vehicles. The Schluckspecht drove 1000 miles on a single-charge drive. Electric vehicle technology is still in its infancy, and we will still see a lot of improvement to make the EV more commercially viable and truly green. However, this world-record represents a big step in the right direction.
With all this green technological innovation afoot, we can rest assured that we’ll still be able to enjoy the convenience of automobiles, while safeguarding our environment as well.