With the issue of global warming taking on international importance in recent years, unsurprisingly the focus has fallen on car drivers, with cars seen as one of the major contributors towards global warming. Green cars have been held up as a potential solution, one that motorists should be embracing. Naturally this discussion already assumes that global warming is here, inevitable, and going to get worse – an opinion which many do not share and doubt vehemently.
But are green cars actually ‘green’?
Firstly, let’s take pure electric cars. Unfortunately these electric cars are anything but good for the environment. The electricity that they run on is produced in power stations, where only 30-40% of the energy is converted into electricity. Transferring this electricity along electric cables then results in a further 30% being lost to heat energy. So by the time this electricity reaches an electric car a huge amount of the energy has already been lost. Good for cutting down inner city pollution but efficient it certainly isn’t. Take into account that a lot of power overseas is produced by burning coal or oil the equation gets worse.
Recently hybrid cars have been preferred, cars that contain both an electric motor and a petrol engine. The battery for the motor is powered by the energy generated from braking. When it comes to being ‘green’ these cars in theory offer many more environmental benefits.
In practice this isn’t necessarily the case. Various independant publications and consumer magazines tested four hybrid cars. One such test was conducted by driving them throughout London. The results were disappointing, as mentioned by George Marshall-Thornhill, senior researcher for “Which?” “Some of these should have performed much better.” And this is all without mentioning how to dispose of troublesome electric batteries.
Then there’s the cost of hybrid cars. The Toyota Prius is the most popular hybrid car but is always priced dearer than an equivalent size vehicle. However, with fuel economy claims in doubt and 55% of people believing that green cars are too expensive, there is still some way to go before green cars will get accepted on a large scale.
The facts are that green cars use more energy to produce, are harder to dispose of, their fuel economy claims have been doubted, and they are simply too expensive. The age of the green car has not arrived yet. Only when batteries become more efficient, lighter, last longer and are easy to dismantle and recycle will hybrid cars truly become “green”.
Always rememeber to have your car serviced and maintained regularly. Take it to Simon at Complete Vehicle Services.Simon at CVS on the Kapiti Coast is an MTA Certified Mechanic, and he is the best person who can technically and professionally check up on your car’s safety. For Peace of Mind contact Simon today on 04 902 6066 to make an appointment, or contact Simon directly at CLICK HERE