An eco car is a vehicle that uses less gas and produces cleaner and fewer emissions. A truly environmentally friendly car would run on electricity and give off no emissions at all. Many of todays cars are hybrids. They run on gasoline and electricity. There are bio fuel cars that use a percentage of fuel produced from corn oil or other biological sources. Each type has advantages and challenges.
The NMG2 by Myers Motors
Electric cars have been around since the 1800s. They were among the first vehicles built. With the discovery of oil, gasoline was cheap and so was the internal combustion engine. In 1947, with the invention of the transistor, electric cars were in a new era only to be abandoned in 1961 because they were too expensive.
Concept cars from General Motors EV series were offered to celebrities in the nineties. With their discontinuation, Chris Paine produced the movie Who Killed The Electric Car? which premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
Today, in 2010, there are electric cars available to the public such as the:
1. Tesla Roadster
2. UEV Spyder
3. Zap car
Toyota is offering electric versions of select vehicles such as the Rav 4. Because the electric cars do come with a high price, they are far too expensive for the average driver. There is also very limited availability.
Starting with the Prius from Toyota, the last decade has seen the advent of vehicles that run on both electricity and gasoline. They are now widely available and are in all price ranges. Some offer up to 50 miles per gallon. The cars range from compacts to SUVs and over one million of the hybrids have been sold in the US.
There are two potential controversies with the hybrid cars. One involves pacemakers becoming maladjusted from the large batteries in the hybrid cars. A board certified cardiologist has given assurances that it is safe to drive a hybrid car if you have a pacemaker. You need to avoid coming in close contact with the engine.
The other concern involves the stealth nature of the hybrid cars. As you slow down at an intersection, the gas engine shuts off and there is no sound from the car. For hearing impaired people this could be a hazard. Officials may require some sort of sound to be installed in the hybrid cars.
A third concern that has not been resolved is the electromagnetic field generated by the electric motors. Studies suggest that the risk is real. It is similar to EMF from other electrical devices we use everyday including computers and cell phones.
Bio Fuel Cars
The most common type of bio fuel for vehicles is called bio-alcohol or ethanol. They are most popular in South America and throughout Asia and Europe. They are a renewable source of energy. Sugars from wheat, corn and sugar cane are fermented and distilled and added to gasoline in any percentage. In the US that percentage is 15%.
The issue with bio fuels is the net energy savings after the production of the ethanol. The savings are relatively small. It does not seem to be a long-term solution for reducing carbon emissions.
Diesel Green Cars
The diesel engine was originally designed to run on vegetable oil. Diesel cars traditionally have better fuel mileage and produce less greenhouse gasses. They are commonly found in Europe. Americans seem to have poor images of diesel engines because of visions of black smoke pouring from 18 wheel rigs and 45-foot buses.
Here is a list of the top ten eco cars for 2010:
1. The Chevrolet Volt 230 over $40,000
2. Toyota Prius base model $22,000
3. Honda Insight under $20,000
4. Ford Escape Hybrid $31,500
5. Honda Civic Hybrid around $20,000
6. Ford Fusion Hybrid made in America - $27,270
7. Lexus HS small luxury sedan - $34,200
8. Porsche Cayenne Hybrid SUV - $44,000 to $123,000
9. Mercury Milan Hybrid - $31,235
10 Nissan Altima Hybrid - $27,400
It is now possible to find an eco car that is environmentally friendly with high gas mileage and low emissions. There are more electric models on the drawing boards of most car manufacturers.