Author: Emissions

Battery Powered Cars are NOT a Thing of the Past

They are most certainly not! The idea of a battery powered car is an old notion, but as technology advances our knowledge does as well. An old idea is blossoming in the new age era. During these times we currently have the technology, labor, and financial backing to make innovative and forward-thinking ideas like this come alive.

Thoughts and designs of battery-powered cars were constructed in the early 2000’s, but our dot-com driven minds played a huge role in not too much action being done about it. After the internet hype died down and we began to adopt the change, the battery-powered car came back on the scene. What made this such a concern? Many words can be the answer to that question but the main concern was the environment and how this affected the Earth. Our planet does a fantastic job keeping our well-being and provides us with everything that we need to function. So, since the planet scratches our backs and puts food in our mouths, we are humans decided it was time to frame something to preserve the earth. As we moved forward and environmentalists began talking to politicians, the push for environmentally friendly vehicles arose.  Not only did the idea of cars powered by sources other than gasoline begin to surface again, but the idea of how sustaining those vehicles would play in our future society.

Hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius, lead the race and have emerged as a pioneer in this market. To save on gas consumption and optimized gas efficiency the Prius is equipped with an EV button which is the ECO button. This one moderates the driver’s commands before sending them to the various powertrain elements. The ECO mode essentially applies a slow filter to everything, smoothing responses to avoid the sudden transient reactions that cause increased fuel consumption. For those times when you need just a bit more get up and go such as merging onto a crowded freeway, to the right of the ECO switch sits the Power button. But as you can imagine the Power button is not one you want to toy with. Although the Eco and Power buttons are certainly revolutions in how we drive our vehicles, it’s not uncommon for Toyota’s twin-step sibling Honda.

Capitalism would not be at its finest if Toyota and Honda didn’t compete. The original Honda Insight was remarkably fuel-efficient, it lastly lacked the practicality found both in “real cars” and Toyota’s four-door Prius. Years later, Honda revived the Insight name, determined to correct the original Insight’s shortcomings. The current-generation model combines a small gas engine with an electric motor that’s powered by a battery pack. The current powertrain falls short of its predecessor’s impressive 60-plus-mpg potential on the highway, but the second-generation Insight is a superior car in all other respects. Its convenient four-door hatchback design provides decent cargo space and a tight but usable rear seat, and it still returns around 40 mpg combined.

Although the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight are only two of the world’s hybrid vehicles, there are many more to follow in its footsteps. Volkswagen, Audi, and even BMW are a couple of manufacturers that are also joining the race.

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Ultra-Low Emission Cars: Your Best Choices

Several manufacturers are working on ultra-low emission cars. Many of them have released at least one model already. This is great news for those who are looking to go green. Plus, you can get some huge benefits from driving them. If you live in the UK, you can expect as much as £5,000 taken off the purchase price. These low emission cars can have ranges up to 700 miles before needing a top up. It can also cost as low as 2p a mile to run them. Thanks to government initiatives in the UK, manufacturers are working harder than ever. Here are some of your best choices if you want to go for low emissions.

The Volkswagen Golf has been a family favorite amongst many drivers. Now they have also released the Golf GTE, a plug-in hybrid. It has a range of 580 miles. If you want to go all-electric, it can run for 31 miles. That means no tailpipe emissions and a very low running cost. It is therefore perfect for people who live within 15 miles of their workplace.

The Nissan Leaf is very popular at the moment. With a great price after government help, it can be cheaper than their lower range models. It has become a real emblem of the electric car movement. Even the name evokes the idea of driving green. It has a range of up to 124 miles on just one single charge. This makes it very effective and low cost. If you work within 60 miles of your home, you can easily charge just once a day. They have now even developed a people carrier with seven seats. This is the eNV200 Combi. It has a range of 106 miles and can also come in a van format.

Renault had also come up with their own option, the Zoe. It is designed for families with great styling. There is enough space for a group to travel daily. If you don’t need the space, they have you covered with a smaller sibling. The Twizy has just two seats. It is fully electric and starts from just under £7,000. It is a fantastic solution for short trips or those who only need to take themselves around. It is great for urban areas too, thanks to the small size.

The Toyota Prius is perhaps the most famous green car. Their flagship model is a plug-in with some great features. It can run on petrol or electric power with a hybrid engine. When used just in electric mode, you can travel 15.5 miles after charging for 90 minutes. However, with hybrid mode engaged, you can go for 700 miles on a full tank. This gives a huge amount of scope.

BMW may be a little more expensive, but this is to be expected. The higher-end car range delivers both a hybrid and an all-electric car. These are the i8 and the i3. The i3 has a range of up to 100 miles. It can also do 186 miles if you add the petrol range extender.


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The car of the future

According to Volkswagen, the hovercraft is the car of the future. They recently revealed the winner of their car of the future design.

This would be a multi-terrain vehicle which will include sand, water, ice, and snow. Zhang Yuhan, the 21-year-old designer of the Volkswagen Aqua craft left no stone unturned. The car of the future will incorporate design aspects that will enhance the driveability, as well as the journey. A panoramic view is part of the design. The vehicle will be able to negotiate the various terrains with the help of high-powered fans. The vehicle also uses airbags that inflate to achieve lift.

The entrance to the car is a hatch in the back. The design currently only allows enough space for two, however, the design challenge is on to create a family prototype as well. The Aqua has a sporty design and features two motors. The motors are powered by hydrogen fuel cells which perform different functions. One cell assists with the inflation of the airbag to achieve lift, and the other is responsible for the actual movement and steering. The fuel cells have zero carbon emissions.

The hovercraft is no new concept. It is the brainchild of Christopher Cockerell. This impressive invention has been around since the late 1950’s. The idea was to create a way for the friction between the boat and the water to be less. The hovercraft did not stay in or on the water. The transition to mud, snow, and ice has meant easier access to and from desolate places previously thought inaccessible. The fuel efficiency is somewhat dubious, however, with the introduction of hydrogen fuel cells, this should change. Hydrogen fuel cells are not limited to hovercrafts and will make an invaluable contribution to the fight against high emissions.

Hydrogen fuel cells are being developed for all types of vehicles after the successful implementation of other applications. The first commercially available vehicles that use hydrogen fuel cells are the Toyota Mirai and the Hyundai ix35 FCEV. They have the ability to reduce carbon emissions by up to 45% when compared to ordinary motors. Critics are however not as upbeat over the fuel cells, as these cars are much more expensive. The Toyota Mirai has a starting price of $ 57,500, therefore making it quite pricey and unattainable for the general public. The technology world has to improve substantially in order for the price to drop. Those in the know predict that this would not feasible until 2020. The cost to produce these vehicles are still too high and could leave the manufacturers out of pocket.

With the entire world focusing their attention on the advancement of harnessing all hydrogen fuel cells have to offer, it may well come to fruition before anticipated. Car manufacturers like Honda and Mercedes-Benz have introduced demonstration cars that will hopefully go into large-scale production soon. Whether they will be affordable in terms of production and purchase remains to be seen.

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