Today, everyone is trying to be ‘green’: countries, governments, all the way to automakers. Automobiles that have been transporting mankind for the past hundred years are, although not solely, responsible for the current oil price hike and life-threatening emission. Auto manufacturers are now cutting down engine sizes, pushing the boundaries to lessen fuel consumption, and continuing to search for alternative energy.
Most of the world renowned brands promise efficiency in their today’s line-up. Europe’s Mercedes Benz, Peugeot, Range Rover and others are jamming computers in their products to make sure they ‘drink’ less fuel and emit less greenhouse gases. The technologies being used to assist drivers are actually aimed for efficiency, as well as safety, such as the Traction Control and Electronic Brake-force Distribution. Both features reduce fuel redundancy as they control the engine’s rev.
Several brands go even further after doing all their best in increasing efficiency through valve-programming with features like VTEC, VVTi, iVTEC, VANOS, MiVEC, VVT – they all basically tell the engine’s valves how much fuel to consume and gas to expel at an ideal time. In the past decade, both Japanese and American auto giants are delivering hybrid cars as well as fully electric ones!
Toyota took an early start with the Prius, Honda with the Insight, and Ford with the Escape Hybrid. Those are some of the existing hybrid cars on the market today. Hybrid means that aside from a normal petrol engine, the cars also use electric motors to move. At slower speed, the cars utilize electric motors to move, and when they need more speed their petrol engine would start and give that boost of power needed. When the hybrids are in engine mode, or whenever they brake/decelerate, their electric motor batteries are charged. Hence, no need to plug them in, anywhere.
Aside from their efficiency and eco-friendliness, these hybrids do actually look cool – stylish and futuristic models that scream “I’m green!” Nevertheless, they’re not all that perfect, yet. Hybrid cars’ high production cost and high-tech complexity means that consumers must reach deeper in their pockets to own them. Fortunately, there isa growing number of countries in the European Union, and recently The United States, which are giving incentives to these ‘green’ cars. Those incentives mean that the Governments subsidize consumers – now paying less hefty to go green.
Another breed of eco cars is one that runs fully on electric motors. Mitsubishi’s MiEV, Nissan Leaf, Wheego LiFe, and Chevrolet Volt are among those that have boldly gone emission-free. No doubt that these cars are environmentally friendly, but the complicated and expensive technology will surely drain the ‘green’ out of the consumers. Unless governments are committed to give sizeable incentives, the market penetration for electric cars would be even harder than hybrid ones. Then there’s the question: “so, they use electricity, but where does the electricity come from?” True, if the power comes from a coal-fire power plant, it may not be green after all. Nonetheless, as power plants using renewable energies flourish, hopes are high for these green machines.
For now, there are several things we can do to help lessen emission with the vehicles we have, before we could get our hands on those green cars. First of all, we must ensure our cars are in good shape. Having a routine tune-up and oil change would increase efficiency, hence produce fewer pollutants. Secondly, our driving style matters. By using the right gear on the right RPM and not speeding, we will save fuel. And last but not least, we can check with the experts on other things we can do. HET will do just that at the Indonesia International Motor Show this month! We’ll give you exclusive reports on the event themed “Sustainable Green Technology.”