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Electric and Hybrid Cars

 
For now, the most efficient green cars available are hybrid electric cars, which are battery-powered vehicles with stand-by gasoline engines. There are also hybrid cars made of fuel cell packs combined with a conventional gas engine. Some models activate their gas engines to assist with power cycles (for example, while starting up or speeding), while others do the opposite. Browse through our site to get more detailed information on the many types of green vehicles.

Electric Cars and Hybrid Cars Overview and Guide

Green vehicles come in many forms; they use different technologies to lessen their impact on the environment. Here is a more detailed background behind green car technologies:

Electric cars – running either on alternating or direct current, electric cars get their energy from a rechargeable battery pack, which may be lithium-ion or nickel-metal hydride. They have virtually no emissions at the vehicle stage. A regenerative braking system recovers some of the energy spent for stopping the vehicle and puts it back into the battery.

Still, their electricity might be supplied by non-renewable energy sources like oil and coal. Also, their high selling price puts most purely-electric cars out of reach for average Australian buyers.

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Hybrids – run on two energy sources: a combustion engine and an electric motor. The electric motor takes over the vehicle's initial motion, especially at lower speeds or when stuck in traffic. The petrol engine starts only at higher speeds, allowing less time for exhausts to form at the tailpipe end.

Biodiesel – made from plant crops like oil palm, sunflowers, soybean and jatropha. Less common sources are used vegetable oil from fast food chains and households. Biodiesel is made with ethanol and blended with petroleum-based diesel in specific amounts – from twenty percent to ninety-nine percent (a small amount of petrol diesel will block the growth of moulds). This works best with newer engines, as older engines may have gaskets and other parts that corrode in biodiesel.

Ethanol – mixed with regular diesel, ethanol increases a green car's fuel efficiency. Its high octane rating and ready accessibility in many places makes it a good energy source. Flexi-fuel engines can take in up to 15% ethanol, and can be found on Fords, Saabs and Volvos. Ethanol, like all biofuels, can be carbon-neutral, meaning its carbon emission is made up for with the carbon that's absorbed by its source plants, like corn and sugarcane.

LPG – this petroleum gas liquefies under high pressure, which allows for easy storage in vehicle tanks. In the past, LPG was considered a nuisance in refineries and burned off, but now is offered in refuelling stations. Existing diesel and petrol engines can be re-fitted to use LPG.

Petrol and Diesel cars – they may still release pollutants and greenhouse gases, but with the new models' engine features and improved aerodynamics, traditional cars make much less emissions than their older counterparts. They can help with improving the state of the environment while keeping down the cost of getting a new vehicle. Diesel cars are slightly more efficient fuel burners than petrol engines. Better mileage with increased fuel efficiency will result in cost savings, especially with sustained fuel price upswings. Better mileage with increased fuel efficiency will result in cost savings, especially with sustained fuel price upswings.

Browse through our pages to get more resources on where to find green vehicles and how to drive and maintain them.
 
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