First Gear English edition, Green, green cars of home (Chapter 12)


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Everything you need to know about your first car.

Welcome to the wonderful world of wheels!
We know that every single person dreams of owning a car. It’s understandable: a car epitomises independence. Success. Stature. Mobility. The freedom to go your own way. But we also know that the decision to purchase a car can be fraught with challenges. What car do you buy? What can you afford? What about the servicing requirements? What safety features should you look out for? What about safety out on the road? These and many other important questions plague your mind. First Gear aims to address all these topics and many other essential issues associated with car ownership. We have canvassed the opinions of the world’s leading authorities and this book aims to give you independent, authoritative and utterly essential advice. We want to take the mystery and malaise out of car ownership, and replace it with easy to follow advice and tips… so that your road to car ownership isn’t filled with potholes! We trust that it will provide you with a stress-free introduction to the world of wheels.

Enjoy your first car; you’ve worked hard for it!

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First Gear English edition, Green, green cars of home (Chapter 12)

  1. 1. CHAPTER Green, green cars of home88  First Gear First Gear  89
  2. 2. Caring for the environment is no longer just a hip thing to do – it’s 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 The good: Such vehicles are readily available ugly battery-operated toy car. But actually, and don’t cost more. a vehicle is “green” as long as it uses less The bad: Petrol engines generally emit fossil fuel and produces fewer carbon around 10 per cent more carbon dioxide dioxide emissions than the average car. than diesel. With innovative technology, conventional petrol or diesel autos, hybrid vehicles, Modern diesel electric vehicles, or cars that use biofuels Think diesel, and the first thing that springs can all carry the “green” label. to mind might be the sputtering old bus So which vehicle is best for you if you spewing black fumes across town. But want to do your part for the planet? many modern diesel engines come with a Read on… particulate trap to help prevent emissions of sooty particulates. Diesel engines are also Petrol lifts its game often more economical than petrol engines; Automakers have gone the extra mile to that’s why they emit less CO2. And new make conventional petrol vehicles more “common rail” diesel motors consistently fuel-efficient than before. They have made top fuel economy rankings. the car body lighter and used technologies such as turbocharging to deliver the same The good: In some countries, diesel is amount of power with fewer cylinders. cheaper than petrol so you save at the pump. The bad: A diesel vehicle is usually more fuel is considered to be renewable and The bad: Since ethanol contains less energy expensive than the petrol version of the environmentally friendly. per volume than petrol, be prepared for same model. They can sometimes be more Since these vehicles look and drive just lower fuel-efficiency numbers when topping costly to maintain too. like cars with petrol engines, you might up with the biofuel. even be driving one and not know it! While 20 % Flexible fuel FFVs have been in mass production since Petrol-electric hybrids Flex-fuel vehicles (FFV) are designed to run the 1980s, the first commercial one was A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) runs on a on either conventional petrol or petrol mixed actually the Ford Model T, produced from combination of a conventional petrol with a biofuel, such as bio-ethanol. Hence, 1908 through 1927. engine and an electric motor powered by The percentage of ethanol an E20 vehicle is able to run on 80 percent batteries. It works on the principle that the petrol and 20 percent ethanol. Ethanol is The good: Due to tax incentives, the price of electric motor provides the power at low on which an E20 vehicle is made from sugarcane, and this alternative the alternative fuel is cheaper than petrol. speeds such as urban driving but switches able to run.90  First Gear First Gear  91
  3. 3. to petrol for driving at higher speeds. The good: Running costs can be two- normally limited to less than 100 km or cadmium-based, there will be a serious The batteries are recharged while driving. thirds that of equivalent petrol vehicles. between charges, which means they are pollution problem if they are not properly Hybrids also use regenerative braking, The bad: The price tag can be very high. really suitable only for city-dwellers. disposed of at the end of their life. where the vehicle’s kinetic energy is Electric vehicles can be recharged by converted and put back into the battery, Battery-electric vehicles plugging them into an existing electrical The good: No tailpipe emissions instead of being wasted as heat energy BEVs, as they are called, use a battery and socket. However, they are only truly “green” The bad: Limited range and a lack of a as in conventional brakes. electric motor to power the vehicle, so they if they are recharged with electricity from public infrastructure for charging can mean Many HEVs also reduce idle emissions have no emissions at the point of use. Due renewable sources such as wind farms or you get stranded out on the roads. by shutting down the petrol engine at idle to the capacity of the battery, their range is the sun. Moreover, if the batteries are lead 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.Top five ways to gogreen… withoutbreaking the bankChoose a car that hasbetter-than-average fuel economyGo for a car that emits less CO2Pick a car that can run on biofuelConsider the content. Automakersare increasingly using eco-friendlymaterials in the interiorsBuy a car that is built by anautomaker which is truly committedto the environment92  First Gear First Gear  93
  4. 4. Once you have a good idea of which green vehicle is most suitable for you, Top up with algae? the other thing to look out for is the All around the world scientists are working on using automaker’s commitment to the What is a plug-in hybrid? biomass to produce future biofuels… and Ford’s environment. In the same way that you scientists are eyeing algae in this regard. “Algae What do you get when you cross a HEV and a BEV? have some very desirable characteristics as a probably won’t buy a pair of shoes because You get a PHEV, or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. potential biofuel feedstock and Ford wants to it’s made in some sweat shop using child Think of it as a conventional hybrid electric vehicle show its support of any efforts that could lead to a labour, you wouldn’t want to invest in a with the ability to recharge its batteries by plugging viable, commercial-scale application of this tech- vehicle that is built by automakers that in to an electric socket. Plug-ins run on the stored nology,” says Sherry Mueller, research scientist, don’t care two hoots about the planet. energy for the days’ driving and when the charge is Ford Motor Company. used up, they automatically keep running on the Ford is very supportive of the increased availability fuel in the fuel tank. A person whose daily driving of biofuels and biofuel blends from diverse and distance is shorter than the car’s electric range uestions sustainable sources. “We recognise the importantHere are some q you pick would never have to dip into the fuel tank. At the same time, the petrol engine is a safety blanket for contribution that biofuels could make toward a sto think about a those who are anxious over the lack of charging more sustainable future and improved energythe automaker: security,” says Jim Anderson, technical expert, Ford stations on long drives. Motor Company. has it made to• What promises ficiency, lower increase fuel ef l prove operationa emissions and im sustainability? Pick a company that cares has it been in • How successful e promises? When buying a new car, consider the manufacturer keeping to thos ies “green”? and its approach to the environment. Some compa- • Are its factor nies really do care; others purely focus on profits and sustaina- s been publishing a turnover. For example, Ford ha ch annual report past 11 years. Ea bility report for the has made in five For instance, Ford has long adopted a leading role details the pro gress the company in this regard. As Derrick Kuzak, Group Vice President mobility, ange, fuel economy, key areas: climate ch o reflects a of Product Development, Ford Motor Company, human rights. It als vehicle safety and rlier notes: “Ford is determined to take a leadership promises made in ea commitment to fulfil position on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, reports. a better and optimising efficiency has been an absolute siness and building “Creating a strong bu they are essential priority. By making new technologies like our Ford icting goals – EcoBoost engines and Ford Auto-Start-Stop widely world are not confl ss,” says Sue ingredients for long-term succe bility, available, we are making a significant step forward Vice President, Sustaina Cischke, Ford Group “Our vision in reducing the environmental impact of our fety Engineering. Environment and Sa tion that is products.” is to provide su stainable transporta , sense of the word – socially affordable in every d economically.” environmentally an 94  First Gear First Gear  95