Hybrids and Electric Cars Do More


The Frankfurt Car Show has highlighted the latest technologies and designs of the electric cars that would take the road in the next few years. The main goal is to reach fossil free automation in the near future to avert the onset of global warming.

Aside from the new technologies, there have been great strides in lessening the CO2 emissions of new internal combustion engines as well as weight reduction and improvements in design and aerodynamics.

This complies with stricter fuel economy standards in both the United States and Europe. These were brought about by concerns regarding climactic changes, ever increasing fuel prices, as well as greater calls for fuel efficiency and economy.

Before 2008, governments only recommended voluntary targets for carbon emissions, as well as fuel efficiency. These though were largely dismissed by carmakers, opting for a more bottom-line conscious drive in the cutthroat auto market. Now, with new targets and attendant penalties in terms of benefits and other largesse, carmakers have become more conscientious with these environmental matters because ultimately they would lose their market leverage.

As of the last year, the European Union’s emissions fell by 3.7 percent after a great 5.1 percent drop reported in 2009. Nowadays, the emissions are only 140 grams per kilometer, down from 186 grams per million in 1995. The program targets 130 grams by 2015 and ultimately 98 grams in 2020.

The United States is also on the same path. Last year, the Obama administration targeted to raise fuel economy guidelines to 53 percent by 2025. The program also requires companies to reach a fuel efficiency rating of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

The carmakers on the other hand have been complying but meeting the goals is quite difficult as each year provides a new baseline essentially stipulating a requirement that is a moving target. The conundrum is in order to reach the targets, there needs to be more sales to finance the research to achieve the goals.

The simple step is going all out for hybrids and electric cars. This market though is quite small, representing only a few thousand in an overall car market reaching fifty million cars each year. Of the current one billion cars on the road, only a trickle, roughly 47 million units are alternative vehicles, as either a hybrid, hydrogen or electric car.

There are still limitations though that electric cars face in order to leave internal combustion engine cars eating their dust. These include prohibitive battery costs, limited range of travel and available infrastructure for recharging and repair. Many experts see that it would take at least five more years for battery technology to achieve its desired goals.

Until then, fuel efficiency is the key until the batteries go out on the idea.