With a fleet of innovations to green and electric cars expected in 2015, driving green has never been easier. The latest market innovations focus on extending the fuel efficiency of green vehicles by rethinking the design and engineering of the car and continuing to make more fuel efficient engines. If you’re on the fence over hybrids, these innovations just might convince you to trade in your conventional car for a greener vehicle.
Next-gen hybrids continue to up the efficiency while coming down in price. Toyota expects to release a cheaper, more fuel efficient Prius capable of an estimated 55 mpg — 5 mpg or 10 percent more efficient than the latest Prius model. Since launching its first hybrid in 1997, Toyota has offered 23 different Prius and Lexus hybrids, including the plug-in model pictured below.
While plugin sales have been slow because of higher cost of the vehicles and the perceived lack of charging stations, things might be changing for electric vehicles. Toyota reports that it might opt for more plugin models to meet customer requests. The year 2015 also promises the release of a new green vehicle from Toyota, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that offers zero emissions plus a refueling time that is competitive with traditional vehicles.
Tomorrow’s green car might look similar to today’s auto, but it will probably be much lighter and have other cosmetic changes that represent a marketing challenge for automakers. EuropeanVoice notes that the all-electric BMW uses aluminum and plastic in its exterior because these are up to 50 percent lighter than steel. The electric BMW i3 offers a superb driving experience, but it performs better at so-called city driving speeds under 50 mph and may not mesh with the existing BMW market in the U.S., notes Green Car Reports.
Lightening vehicles’ loads
Changes to the car’s battery and propulsion mechanisms also remove weight. The heavier a car is, the more fuel it consumes; and the more aerodynamic a car can be, the less resistance it will encounter on the road. These interior and exterior tweaks can help all manner of cars be more energy efficient, and result in cosmetic improvements to cars that appeal to a whole different type of green driver.
Recently, Volvo joined a group of innovators on a nano batter project to develop a car that used its exterior body panels to store energy, charge the car’s battery and discharge energy. While this isn’t the first time a car’s body has been used as an energy-storing mechanism, it represents a solution to the heavy batteries used in electric cars. This could potentially weigh 15 percent less than existing electric car batteries and replace the battery chamber altogether.
Putting it all together
The resale market for hybrids, electrics and alternative-fuel vehicles will continue to grow as green consumers trade up for the latest and greatest fuel-efficient models. Look for used vehicle prices to come down as newer models become more affordable.
Article contributed by Sam Brown at Socialmonsters.com