Eco-friendly vehicles have traditionally been more expensive to purchase and maintain than traditional petrol-driven models, but there is now a widening range of green car models to choose from, with prices rapidly falling as demand increases.
The following guide will take a look at the main green car optionscurrently available on the marketplace.
Flexible fuel cars, known colloquially as flexifuels, are alternative fuel vehicles constructed to run on more than one combustible power source. Most commonly, petrol and either methanol or ethanol are blended together and used by the combustion engine to create propulsion. This reduces the need and expense of environmentally harmful fossil fuels.
They use a 'smart' system that detects the quantities of fuel available and adjusts consumption as needed. In other words, these vehicles are capable of running on 100% pure petrol or 100% ethanol, with European flexifuel cars optimised to run on a 15% petrol and 85% ethanol blend.
Ethanol is made from sugar cane, field corn and other plant crops, so it's a cheaper, renewable energy source whose consumption is far less damaging to the planet. As with other green cars, the government currently offers a number of incentives for road users to make the switch to thiseco-friendly type of vehicle.
And with an ever expanding development of green refuelling infrastructure, flexifuel cars are proving to be increasingly popular and a good choice for those who are concerned about the environment but are reluctant to shell out for a more expensive electronic vehicle.
Electric cars are purely powered by electronic motors rather than the petrol driven internal combustion engines traditionally associated with motor vehicles - thus they provide a significant reduction in air pollution levels. They use rechargeable batteries or other such energy storage devices and are becoming increasingly popular in these times when protecting the environment for future generations is such an important issue.
Due to their electronic propulsion, electric cars do not emit harmful tailpipe pollutants and therefore their use leads to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Not only this, but due to their lack of dependence on petrol or any other non-renewable fuel, they are a great way to avoid soaring prices at petrol stations and supply interruptions.
Until recently, the benefits of electric cars have been outweighed by the expensive nature of their technology and the lack of an easyrecharging infrastructure. The good news is that due to advances in lithium-ion batteries, prices for these types of vehicles are falling within easy reach.
This, coupled with governmental tax breaks and subsidies aimed at encouraging up take of electric transport, makes the electric car an exciting prospect - not only as a great investment for your bank balance, but an important step for the well-being of our planet.
A plug-in hybrid vehicle (or PHV) is a combination car that makes use of both the traditional internal combustion petrol engine and a rechargeable electric battery system.
They are a great option for those concerned about the availability of electric recharging stations because you have the choice of usingeither the petrol engine as a means of propulsion or theelectric recharging method.
Previous concerns about the distance range of electric carshave been dispelled with their plug-in hybrid counterparts, since with the use of both motor system options, their reach is comparable to traditional, purely petrol vehicles.
In addition, with its reduced dependence on fossil fuels, a plug-in hybrid is an effective means of minimising greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. There is also the superb convenience of being able to recharge at home rather than having to depend purely on petrol stations.
As with most green cars, there are now tax incentives available to encourage you to consider a PHV as a strong option. Many environmental organisations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature and the National Wildlife Federation have been vocal in their support for PHV's.
Other Green Considerations
Apart from these three main options for green cars, there are other factors to keep in mind:
With the increasing amount of green cars available on the market today that offer a hostof attractive designs and features, these eco-friendly vehicles are fast becoming indistinguishable from traditional petrol-dependant combustion engine models. And with more and more green government incentives as well as their decreasing prices due to the advancement of this technology, there has never been a better time to go green when it comes to your choice of transport.