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Green, green cars of home


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Caring for the environment is no longer just a hip thing to do its become a necessary duty. While one of the best ways to fulfil our responsibility is to make sure we drive more fuel-efficiently, the easier way out might just be to buy a green car.

Now, a green car might evoke images of an ugly battery-operated toy car. But actually, a vehicle is green as long as it uses less fossil fuel and produces fewer carbon dioxide emissions than the average car. With innovative technology, conventional petrol or diesel autos, hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, or cars that use biofuels can all carry the green label. So which vehicle is best for you if you want to do your part for the planet? Read on Petrol liFts its Game Automakers have gone the extra mile to make conventional petrol vehicles more fuel-efficient than before. They have made the car body lighter and used technologies such as turbocharging to deliver the same amount of power with fewer cylinders.

the good: Such vehicles are readily available and dont cost more. the bad: Petrol engines generally emit around 10 per cent more carbon dioxide than diesel. modern diesel Think diesel, and the first thing that springs to mind might be the sputtering old bus spewing black fumes across town. But many modern diesel engines come with a particulate trap to help prevent emissions of sooty particulates. Diesel engines are also often more economical than petrol engines; thats why they emit less CO2. And new common rail diesel motors consistently top fuel economy rankings. the good: In some countries, diesel is cheaper than petrol so you save at the pump. the bad: A diesel vehicle is usually more expensive than the petrol version of the same model. They can sometimes be more costly to maintain too. Flexible Fuel Flex-fuel vehicles (FFV) are designed to run on either conventional petrol or petrol mixed with a biofuel, such as bio-ethanol. Hence, an E20 vehicle is able to run on 80 percent petrol and 20 percent ethanol. Ethanol is made from sugarcane, and this alternative

The percentage of ethanol on which an E20 vehicle is able to run.

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20 %

fuel is considered to be renewable and environmentally friendly. Since these vehicles look and drive just like cars with petrol engines, you might even be driving one and not know it! While FFVs have been in mass production since the 1980s, the first commercial one was actually the Ford Model T, produced from 1908 through 1927. the good: Due to tax incentives, the price of the alternative fuel is cheaper than petrol.

the bad: Since ethanol contains less energy per volume than petrol, be prepared for lower fuel-efficiency numbers when topping up with the biofuel. Petrol-electric hybrids A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) runs on a combination of a conventional petrol engine and an electric motor powered by batteries. It works on the principle that the electric motor provides the power at low speeds such as urban driving but switches

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to petrol for driving at higher speeds. The batteries are recharged while driving. Hybrids also use regenerative braking, where the vehicles kinetic energy is converted and put back into the battery, instead of being wasted as heat energy as in conventional brakes. Many HEVs also reduce idle emissions by shutting down the petrol engine at idle and restarting it when needed. This is known as a Start/Stop system. With all these technologies, hybrids boast impressive fuel-efficiency figures as well as big reductions in CO2 emissions. However, they only really achieve maximum economy benefits in built-up areas where they run primarily on electric rather than petrol.

the good: Running costs can be twothirds that of equivalent petrol vehicles. the bad: The price tag can be very high. battery-electric vehicles BEVs, as they are called, use a battery and electric motor to power the vehicle, so they have no emissions at the point of use. Due to the capacity of the battery, their range is

normally limited to less than 100 km between charges, which means they are really suitable only for city-dwellers. Electric vehicles can be recharged by plugging them into an existing electrical socket. However, they are only truly green if they are recharged with electricity from renewable sources such as wind farms or the sun. Moreover, if the batteries are lead

or cadmium-based, there will be a serious pollution problem if they are not properly disposed of at the end of their life. the good: No tailpipe emissions the bad: Limited range and a lack of a public infrastructure for charging can mean you get stranded out on the roads.

Top five ways to go green without breaking the bank

Choose a car that has better-than-average fuel economy Go for a car that emits less CO2 Pick a car that can run on biofuel Consider the content. Automakers are increasingly using eco-friendly materials in the interiors Buy a car that is built by an automaker which is truly committed to the environment


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Once you have a good idea of which green vehicle is most suitable for you, the other thing to look out for is the automakers commitment to the environment. In the same way that you probably wont buy a pair of shoes because its made in some sweat shop using child labour, you wouldnt want to invest in a vehicle that is built by automakers that dont care two hoots about the planet.

Top up with algae? What is a plug-in hybrid?

What do you get when you cross a HEV and a BEV? You get a PHEV, or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Think of it as a conventional hybrid electric vehicle with the ability to recharge its batteries by plugging in to an electric socket. Plug-ins run on the stored energy for the days driving and when the charge is used up, they automatically keep running on the fuel in the fuel tank. A person whose daily driving distance is shorter than the cars electric range would never have to dip into the fuel tank. At the same time, the petrol engine is a safety blanket for those who are anxious over the lack of charging stations on long drives. All around the world scientists are working on using biomass to produce future biofuels and Fords scientists are eyeing algae in this regard. Algae have some very desirable characteristics as a potential biofuel feedstock and Ford wants to show its support of any efforts that could lead to a viable, commercial-scale application of this technology, says Sherry Mueller, research scientist, Ford Motor Company. Ford is very supportive of the increased availability of biofuels and biofuel blends from diverse and sustainable sources. We recognise the important contribution that biofuels could make toward a more sustainable future and improved energy security, says Jim Anderson, technical expert, Ford Motor Company.

uestions Here are some q you pick s to think about a the automaker:

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Pick a company that cares

When buying a new car, consider the manufacturer and its approach to the environment. Some companies really do care; others purely focus on profits and turnover. For instance, Ford has long adopted a leading role in this regard. As Derrick Kuzak, Group Vice President of Product Development, Ford Motor Company, notes: Ford is determined to take a leadership position on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, and optimising efficiency has been an absolute priority. By making new technologies like our Ford EcoBoost engines and Ford Auto-Start-Stop widely available, we are making a significant step forward in reducing the environmental impact of our products.

sustainas been publishing a For example, Ford ha ch annual report past 11 years. Ea bility report for the has made in five gress the company details the pro mobility, ange, fuel economy, key areas: climate ch o reflects a human rights. It als vehicle safety and rlier promises made in ea commitment to fulfil reports. a better siness and building Creating a strong bu they are essential icting goals world are not confl ss, says Sue for long-term succe ingredients bility, President, Sustaina Vice Cischke, Ford Group Our vision fety Engineering. Environment and Sa tion that is stainable transporta , is to provide su the word socially sense of affordable in every d economically. environmentally an


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