Tapping In To The Eco Car Market

Unless you’ve been lying under a rock for the past couple of years, you’ll probably have heard about the new trend for eco-friendly cars. Hydrogen fuel is the latest fashion when it comes to green transport, and it’s currently at the top of the list for manufacturers looking to tap in to the potential of an environmentally-aware customer base. It’s unsurprising that a hydrogen fuel cell can swing a consumer in to making a purchase, as green travel also has the additional benefit of being cheaper than conventional fossil fuels. There are a number of other advantages for having a green car, which make it a simpler decision than just offsetting your carbon footprint…

Getting Tax Benefits through IRS incentives

As the UK and US government are encouraging more vehicle owners to switch over to hydrogen water cars as their preferred mode of transport, drivers are benefiting from an enhanced level of benefits for making an environmentally-friendly choice in their driving habits. Moving from a traditional fuel to hydrogen through conversion can encourage the government to offer a significant tax deduction for vehicle owners, of between $5 to $50 thousand. What’s not to like?

Save money on repairs, maintenance and fuel costs

Taking the decision to use hydrogen instead of petrol or diesel can deliver the traveler huge costs savings when it’s time to re-fuel. There are less repair costs, lower maintenance service requirements and hydrogen lasts longer than regular fuel, so overall the vehicle owner saves a large amount following their initial investment. Great news on the environment, and even better news on the pocket!

Experience improved performance from your vehicle

Hydrogen brings the car owner a noticeable list of improvements in terms of performance for their cars. The vehicle will offer an enhanced number of miles for the amount of fuel purchased, which brings benefits both when driving through the city or on the open road. In addition, the engine performs better with hydrogen fuel, with a large reduction in the amount of noise generated and enhanced use of fuel. The engine will actually be greatly improved through the use of a hydrogen converter, keeping it in tip-top condition for the coming years.

Support the environment

With an HHO fuel cell in your cars, you will be vastly reducing your carbon emissions as a responsible vehicle owner. Cleaner emissions from the car will support you to bring your part to the battle against carbon offsetting, when compared with the pollutants emitted by gasoline-powered vehicles. Hydrogen brings the following benefits to the environment:
• Hydrogen is available in abundance, and brings no threat of running out as a depleting resource like gasoline
• It is easy, simple and cost-effective to produce hydrogen
• The fuel can be generated through water treatment sites or wind apparatus, making it a simple, easy and sustainable source of power
• The government has shown an ongoing commitment to the production of hydrogen, ensuring that there are enough fueling stations available to make it convenient and easy for the vehicle owner to top up their cars as necessary.

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GE Show Covers Electric Vehicles

General Electric have launched a new interactive program called “The GE Show” which covers various technology and energy related things. Ones episode is focused on the future of electric vehicles.

Not just an episode but there are other interactive features such as the “Rollout Reality” widget, which calculates some eye-opening EV stats from our past, present and future and the “So Near, So Far” range calculator for EV drivers, and the educational “Electric Avenue” online game.

Check out all the the video and tools here.

Some interesting facts from the show:
“- Electric cars aren’t just part of the future – they’re part of the past as well. 35% of our cars were electric-powered in the early 1900’s, but were not widely adopted due to limited range and a lack of powering infrastructure.

– Most people don’t know that many electric vehicles can handle their daily mileage easily. The average American drives 32.88 miles per day. The Nissan Leaf, for example, can go 100 miles in a single charge.

– Projections show that there will almost be 14 million electric vehicles on the road in just 10 years.

– For every mile, an EV owner only pays less than 2.5 cents per mile (as opposed to 10 cents per gas-powered mile).

– If the estimates of 14 million EVs on the road by 2020 are accurate, it would mean close to 65 million tons fewer emissions.”

Getting Green With Transport

In the US, possibly more than in any other country, we love our cars. The space between places means that we rely upon driving to get us from one place to another and it’s difficult to find alternative modes of transport for when time is short and distances are long!

Obviously, choosing to travel on foot or by bicycle is a great way to reduce your individual impact on the environment. The thing is, we’re not in to preaching and understand you can’t simply stop using your car. Trains and other public transport are great, but they’re not always convenient, especially if you have a family with children and don’t want to be tied down to specific times.

Whether we like it or not, cars are here to stay. Even if you are a dedicated car driver, there are a number of ways to reduce your carbon emissions and make your transportation a bit greener. As with any environmental action, taking control of our individual impact on the world around us can make a huge difference.

Cars

Do you have to drive?

 Before getting in your car, consider whether you could reach your destination by another means. Walking regularly can reduce your risk of heart problems and other illnesses, as well as making you fitter. Identify your most common destinations, and investigate whether you could get there by bus, train, bike, or walking. A study carried out found that on average, people overestimate the time that journeys by public transport will take by more than 80% and underestimate the time that car journeys will take by 18%. Is it really quicker to drive? Travel to work or school by public transport, walking, or cycling once a week. You might find that you enjoy it!

How to cut emissions when using your car

The following tips have been pulled together to give you an overview of how to be more green about your transport, so you can arrive at your destination feeling a bit smug about how you got there…

Investigate the possibility of car sharing. You can register for car-sharing by going online and seeking out other people who regularly go to the same destination as you. By sharing with just one other person, you could half your costs of driving.

When you’re driving, get rid of any surplus weight, such as roof bars or bike racks. This makes your journey a little cheaper and also cuts down on emissions by losing the excess weight your car has to pull along.

Use air conditioning carefully, as this increases fuel consumption by 15% – by cutting it down where you can and opening the windows, you cut fuel costs and assist to reduce your emissions. When you are driving, try to change into a higher gear as soon as possible, to reduce the impact on your engine and cut costs. Accelerate and brake as slowly and smoothly as possible, so that you use less fuel and drive with awareness of the environment.

If you drive at slower speeds, you can reduce your emissions significantly. Obviously, the faster you go, the more gas you use!

Have your car serviced regularly – an incorrectly adjusted carburetor can waste up to 25% of fuel. Incorrect tyre pressure can increase fuel consumption too. Switch off your engine at short stops when you are idling for more than a minute, to save on fuel costs.

All these things can support you to make your mark on environmental change and get you to make a real difference on a personal level when considering your impact on the environment. If each one of us makes these small changes, imagine the collective impact we could have on reaching our targets!

Car Use Is Down In English Towns

The transport charity, Sustrans, have the hardest-working PR department I’ve ever known, seriously I get a load of press releases from them every day.

Anyway aside from the opening of new cycle-paths etc, I thought this was noteworthy. The Department for Transport have named and funded three places, Darlington, Peterborough and Worcester, as Sustainable Travel Demonstration Towns and it turns out it’s working as residents there have cut their car use and taken to more active, low-carbon forms of transport.

The Sustainable Travel Demonstration Towns scheme was a five year project that finished in 2008 and aimed to encourage residents, commuters and visitors to walk, cycle and take public transport more often and to reduce single-occupancy car use.

The press release continues thus:

“At the end of the five-year project, car use had fallen by up to nine per cent across the three towns, detailed travel surveys conducted by Sustrans and its partner Socialdata on behalf of the towns have revealed. This equates to nearly 53 million miles of car travel taken off the roads across the three towns, resulting in annual savings of more than 17,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

“As car travel has fallen, use of more active and sustainable forms of transport has increased across all three demonstration towns. Levels of walking increased by more than 10 per cent in each location, while bus use grew by more than a third in Peterborough and by a fifth in Worcester.

“There was a 12 per cent increase in cycling in Peterborough and a 19 per cent increase in Worcester. Darlington, which received further Government cash to improve facilities for cyclists, saw levels of cycling more than double over the same period.

“Malcolm Shepherd, Sustrans’ Chief Executive, said: ‘These results confirm what we have always suspected – that a lot of people are fed up with being stuck in their cars and that with the right support they are happy to walk, cycle or take the bus more often.”

Nice to know.

Honda Release Environmental Report

Honda have released their fourth annual North American Environmental Report that you can read online. But why should you care?

It’s a report that (almost) regardless of content I’m very pleased a vehicle manufacturer produces. They are quite proud of it, in fact sending me a copy and asking for my opinion on it. Besides making me feel special (along with hundreds of others no doubt) it is actually quite interesting. Admittedly I haven’t read many others to compare it to but it’s an easy read. Divided into three sections, it gets good in section three – Reducing Honda’s Environmental Footprint. Admittedly corporate rhetoric and unnecessary language is abound but these days I found myself getting used to it a little too easily.

Clearly the best thing Honda could do for the environment is stop producing cars. However that’s not a practical or realistic solution, and while I found the Powersports vehicles section strangely amusing there have been some nice advances made, and planned for the future (from the parts I read at least). Some points that Honda were keen to highlight if you don’t want to read it yourself:

Honda Environmental Report

– The U.S. corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) for model year 2007 Honda and Acura cars and light trucks rose to 29.5 miles per gallon, the highest level in five years, based in part on the expanded application of fuel-efficient technologies like i-VTEC® variable valve control for 4- and 6-cylinder engines, and second-generation VCM™ (Variable Cylinder Management™) for V-6 engines.

– Three Honda facilities in North America attained Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in FY2008, joining two existing green buildings. Three additional facilities – two in the United States and one in Canada – will seek LEED certification in FY2009.

– An industry-high 81% of automobile were shipped by rail, the most fuel-efficient means of product transportation. CO2 emissions from automobile transport were reduced by 5,493 metric tons through the use of more fuel-efficient Auto-Max rail cars.

– A $7 million renovation of Honda’s Ohio product distribution center improved efficiency and reduced consumption of diesel fuel by more than 500,000 gallons.

– Promotion of “green factory” practices to more than 650 North American OEM supplier partners helped lead 85% of suppliers to be third-party certified to ISO 14001 environmental management standards in FY2008, up from 80% in the previous fiscal year.

You can read Honda’s North American Environmental Report report here.

Get Solar Electricity For Your Electric Car

An interesting video for you, the first half is about Zap Electric cars, a company with a very tall president with very small cars. The second half is about how they have teamed up with Akeena Solar panels to offer one heck of a consumer solution for around town driving, 100% home powered from solar panels.

The video is from Hippy Gourmet a US PBS and syndicated television series that’s in its ninth season and reaches over 34 million homes each week.

Cars Of The Future On Tonight

For those of in the US, tonight premieres “Car of the Future” on PBS at 8pm. It’s a look at the innovative technologies that could one day transform the way we drive. Apparently it’s a “screwball automotive odyssey that doubles as a serious environmental wake-up call. From Detroit to California, Boston to Iceland, Tom and Ray mix their trademark slapstick with serious nuts-and-bolts analysis of what it will take to make our autos more energy-efficient.”

A distinguished group of engineers doubles as Tom and Ray’s straight men, including Lee Lynd of Mascoma Corporation, who is working to bioengineer microbes that can produce ethanol from plant wastes, and Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, who is developing an ultralight, full-size “green” car that is efficient and almost indestructible.

For more info, check out the NOVA website, again it’s on tonight, Tuesday, April 22 at 8 pm ET/PT on most PBS stations. Check your local listings.

Cars Of The Future