Sunday, April 22, 2012

Eco Friendly Cars

Green cars, the currently most important of which are hybrid cars, may not in themselves save the planet, but they are a major move in the right direction.  

The environment really does matter, and it matters today more than it has ever mattered before. If you are old enough to remember the cold war, there were times when the world shivered in fear of the possibility of MAD, or mutually assured destruction. MAD was a standoff between the powers of the East and the West and the message was, “If you nuke us, then we will nuke you”. There were times when things got very close to the edge; had they gotten much closer there would be very little environment left for today’s generation to care for.

Fortunately common sense reigned, and the cold war faded. Although the world is not free from nuclear threat, few of us live with the continual fear that the nuclear holocaust is just around the corner. Which means that we can pay attention to assuring that the planet will be friendly to the next generation, and the one after that, and the one after that too; that sea waters will not rise and drown cities and populations; that the earth will not become unable to produce enough food to sustain its population; that the water will not dry out; and that energy sources will not dry up. The ultimate cliché of climate change is that poor polar bear floating on ice; however it is also the ultimate truth.

One of the most dangerous indulgences of our time is the petrol and diesel powered motor car. Despite all the advances made with catalytic converters, the motor car remains the most polluting machine in our environment. Its emissions poison inner city populations, contribute substantially to the greenhouse gasses that are considered to be responsible for global warming, and is rapidly depleting one of the most important of all natural and irreplaceable resources, oil.

In short, the fossil fuel powered motor car is no longer sustainable, so enter the green car which in its current formats may be a hybrid or an entirely electrically powered car.

The hybrid car still uses petrol, but much less petrol than a conventional car. For short journeys round town it may use no petrol at all. Such cars use both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor that runs off batteries. The batteries are charged via an external power source, by a generator powered by the car’s petrol engine, and by harvesting energy from such things as regenerative braking.

The electrical vehicle (EV) uses just batteries and is entirely non-polluting. The problem is that battery technology needs to be advanced considerably and the general EV infrastructure improved before such a car is useful for anything other than use as a town or city car; however for that application it is an ideal solution.

The planet matters. Do your bit, go green motoring.

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