Zero Emission Eco Friendly Cars: A Trend Or The Future Of Automotive

It is only in recent years, when global warming and environmental concerns moved to mainstream discussion and debates that concepts like eco friendly car or zero emission car took center-stage. Now all the major automobile manufacturers are either working at a prototype or almost ready to roll out green vehicles that can reduce the carbon emissions significantly.

The research to bring out green cars and other vehicles dependent on alternative fuels, has taken more than one route. Some manufacturers are working at developing hybrid vehicles, while others are concentrating on building stand alone electric vehicle. The hybrid vehicles are capable of utilizing both fossil fuels like petrol, diesel coupled with electric motor to drive the car forward. This technology enables the vehicle to ignite the engine with fossil fuel and soon electric power takes over to propel the vehicle. This effectively saves on fuel and leads to minimum emission. On the other hand, electric vehicles are operating out of just electric current stored in batteries which are charged like any other storage batteries.

Recently, a newer and improved version of Nissan Leaf was launched as an electric car in the United States. This is a pure play eco friendly car with absolute zero emission. The silence of this vehicle when cruising on the streets is unnerving and requires getting used to. The question whether such vehicles are the future of automobiles or just a passing fad is still not very clear. A lot depends on the efficiency, mileage, charging time, batteries and power packed into these vehicles. As of today, green cars are still not up to the mark, compared to fossil fuel fired vehicles ruling the roads and highways.

The trend to develop electric and alternative fuel vehicles is emerging quite strongly now, with manufacturers putting aside sizeable funds for more research into developing better and more consumer friendly vehicles. The major hurdle faced by vehicle manufacturers is the storage capacity and charging time for batteries installed in these vehicles. If it takes hours to charge a vehicle like the Nissan leaf and its competitors from Honda, Chevrolet and Toyota, it can make owning the electric vehicle like a burden. The range after full charge is not very encouraging and generally only half the range is achieved after a charge. In test conditions, the Leaf managed just a little above fifty kilometers, instead of 100 kilometers range specified. The power consumption is also very substantial when charging, so it is not very energy efficient after all.

At best, these electric cars are good enough at the current stage of development to drive around the neighborhood, run small errands or commute from office to home in a single charge. Battery life must also be considered and the costs of replacement batteries have to be factored in to arrive at the economy of buying an eco friendly car. However being optimistic and the urgency need for reducing carbon footprint to save the planet, we have to convert this trend into a deluge in the near future.

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