Green vehicle

A green vehicle, or clean vehicle, or eco-friendly vehicle or environmentally friendly vehicle is a road motor vehicle that produces less harmful impacts to the environment than comparable conventional internal combustion engine vehicles running on gasoline or diesel, or one that uses certain alternative fuels. Presently, in some countries the term is used for any vehicle complying or surpassing the more stringent European emission standards (such as Euro6), or California’s zero-emissions vehicle standards (such as ZEV, ULEV, SULEV, PZEV), or the low-carbon fuel standards enacted in several countries.

Green vehicles can be powered by alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies and include hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles, compressed-air vehicles, hydrogen and fuel-cell vehicles, neat ethanol vehicles, flexible-fuel vehicles, natural gas vehicles, clean diesel vehicles, and some sources also include vehicles using blends of biodiesel and ethanol fuel or gasohol. In November 2016, with an EPA-rated fuel economy of 136 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (mpg-e) (1.7 L/100 km), the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric became the most efficient EPA-certified vehicle considering all fuels and of all years, surpassing the 2014-2016 model year all-electric BMW i3.

Several author also include conventional motor vehicles with high fuel economy, as they consider that increasing fuel economy is the most cost-effective way to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in the transport sector in the short run. As part of their contribution to sustainable transport, these vehicles reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to energy independence by reducing oil imports.

An environmental analysis extends beyond just the operating efficiency and emissions. A life-cycle assessment involves production and post-use considerations. A cradle-to-cradle design is more important than a focus on a single factor such as energy efficiency.

Motivation and petro-libre
The reason for the investigation of alternative propulsion systems is primarily due to the search for more sustainable methods of transport than those based on fossil fuels.

“Petro-libre” or petro-free is a term that indicates that it does not use or sell oil, such as “petro-libre service station” and “petro-free vehicle”.

There are many interest groups related to the theme of ecological cars, the 4 most important groups are those that follow, here reference is made to the role each one plays:

1) The automotive industry As Carlos Ghosn, president of Nissan and Renault, says, in the future we will not have cheap fuels, since currently, due to the global crisis, the price of oil has dropped, but when we recover from this stumble, the barrel will return to its high prices. It is for this reason, by which we must promote the use of green cars. The main motivation of this industry is economic and of its own subsistence,

2) The scientific community Dr. Gabrielle Carbonell of the Mario Molina Center, tells us that it is very important, not only for the environment but to support the economy of the individual, that the Senate of the Republic approves the proposal of the Mario Molina Center to reduce emissions and increase the vehicle performance; She brings us as an example to Brazil and the European Union, which today already have laws in the automotive industry. In addition, she proposes that little by little the goal of increasing the yield from 12 km to 20 km per liter of fuel and decrease the emissions from 180 grams to 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer can be achieved. On the other hand, Jorge López Morton of the López Morton group brings us a very interesting position on the future that Mexico has in regards to the biodiesel acceptance position, since it is a fuel that burns in a clean way, manufactured from not only animal fats but also vegetables, which makes it a fuel that can be regenerated, and is obtained in a process known as transesterification. The motivations of this community are more diverse and range from the economic to the purely ecological.

Biodiesel brings immediate benefits reduces emissions by exhaust, significantly reduces emissions of carcinogenic substances, B20 significantly reduces visible emissions, likewise increases lubrication by up to 60%.

3) The government The government plays an important role in the promotion of green cars, for example: “The government of England is committed to supporting the automotive industry in England as it moves towards the development of products that emit less carbon” said the Secretary of Commerce, Peter Mandelson. “This is a project that aims to design more ecological cars, protecting technology,” he said. On the other hand, the Spanish government will grant aid so that citizens can change their old polluting cars for units that are less offensive to the environment. One of the main objectives of this plan is also to reduce traffic accidents, since if all vehicles in Spain will have electronic stability control, they could avoid close to 2,000 accidents and 3,000 victims. Further, remember that in the previous phase, we found a favorable position on the part of the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico, since our representatives approved a reform that eliminates the payment of possession for hybrid and electric cars, as well as reducing the sale price of the motorcycles Their motivations are political, economic and control of energy.

4) The oil industry The industries will be affected every day more by not acting in a productive way, since by continuing to increase prices, they provoke the emergence of new exploitation alternatives to generate various profitable fuels with the same function and higher yield. This competition has already begun with the introduction of technology in cars, which are ecological cars. Their motivations are economic and control of the energy market. Most oil companies already have subsidiaries or unions with different electric companies

Energy efficiency
Cars with similar production of energy costs can obtain, during the life of the car (operational phase), large reductions in energy costs through several measures:

The most significant is by using alternative propulsion:
An efficient engine that reduces the vehicle’s consumption of petroleum (i.e. petroleum electric hybrid vehicle), or that uses renewable energy sources throughout its working life.
Using biofuels instead of petroleum fuels.
Proper maintenance of a vehicle such as engine tune-ups, oil changes, and maintaining proper tire pressure can also help.
Removing unnecessary items from a vehicle reduces weight and improves fuel economy as well.

Comparison of several types of green car basic characteristics
(Values are overall for vehicles in current production and may differ between types)
Type of vehicle/
Fuel economy
(mpg equivalent)
Range Production cost
for given range
Reduction in CO2
compared to conventional
Payback period
Conventional ICE 10–78 Long
(400–600 mi)
Low 0%
Biodiesel 18–71 Long
(360–540 mi)
Low varies depending on biodiesel source
All-electric 54–118 Shorter
(73–150 mi)
Luxury models
(160–300 mi)

Very high

varies depending
on energy source
Hydrogen fuel cell 80 Astronomical
Hybrid electric 30–60 380 mi Medium 5 years

There are several alternative solutions that either modify the engine, or it is not a thermal engine, but an electric, solar, wind, etc.

At this end of the century, new challenges are posed to the automobile: on the one hand, attempts are being made to maintain the level of benefits achieved up to now (comfort, speed, autonomy…), and on the other, it is about reducing energy consumption to the maximum, and pollution caused by the emission of gases.

The electric car is, in this sense, a possible alternative. Prototypes of vehicles powered by electric motors are being created.

One possibility is the motor with ceramic parts instead of alloys. The ceramic motor lasts 10 times more because the wear is practically zero. It does not need cooling or lubrication of the motor because it is capable of working at higher temperatures without heat leakage. It takes much better energy because combustion is more perfect, producing better performance with less consumption and without emitting polluting gases such as carbon monoxide. The reason that it is not used except in the prototypes is that the ceramic is very fragile and can be broken with a small blow, but solutions are being sought for this problem.

Another type of car is the so-called hybrid car, represented by the Opel Twin prototype, which works with electric motor in the city and combustion on the road, where greater autonomy is necessary. It is a vehicle that does not provide significant advantages.

We must also take into account the Sun, the most abundant and least polluting energy available on our planet. Hundreds of models of cars that move through the electricity generated by photovoltaic solar cells have already been designed. Each year, speed records and distances traveled by these vehicles are broken, capable of being launched at more than 120 km / h for thousands of kilometers without stopping to refuel. Electric accumulators allow them to function even while the sun is hidden.

Green vehicles include vehicles types that function fully or partly on alternative energy sources other than fossil fuel or less carbon intensive than gasoline or diesel.

Another option is the use of alternative fuel composition in conventional fossil fuel-based vehicles, making them function partially on renewable energy sources. Other approaches include personal rapid transit, a public transportation concept that offers automated, on-demand, non-stop transportation on a network of specially built guideways.

Electric and fuel cell-powered
Examples of vehicles with reduced petroleum consumption include electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell-powered hydrogen cars.

Electric cars are typically more efficient than fuel cell-powered vehicles on a Tank-to-wheel basis. They have better fuel economy than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles but are hampered by range or maximum distance attainable before discharging the battery. The electric car batteries are their main cost. They provide a 0% to 99.9% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to an ICE (gasoline, diesel) vehicle, depending on the source of electricity.

Hybrid electric vehicles
Hybrid cars may be partly fossil fuel (or biofuel) powered and partly electric or hydrogen-powered. Most combine an internal combustion engine with an electric engine, though other variations too exist. The internal combustion engine is often either a gasoline or Diesel engine (in rare cases a Stirling engine may even be used). They are more expensive to purchase but cost redemption is achieved in a period of about 5 years due to better fuel economy.

Compressed air cars, stirling vehicles, and others
Compressed air cars, stirling-powered vehicles, Liquid nitrogen vehicles are even less polluting than electrical vehicles, as the vehicle and its components can be made more environmentally friendly.

Solar car races are held on a regular basis in order to promote green vehicles and other “green technology”. These sleek driver-only vehicles can travel long distances at highway speeds using only the electricity generated instantaneously from the sun.

Improving conventional cars
A conventional vehicle can become a greener vehicle by mixing in renewable fuels or using less carbon intensive fossil fuel. Typical gasoline-powered cars can tolerate up to 10% ethanol. Brazil manufactured cars that run on neat ethanol, though there were discontinued. Another available option is a flexible-fuel vehicle which allows any blend of gasoline and ethanol, up to 85% in North America and Europe, and up to 100% in Brazil. Another existing option is to convert a conventional gasoline-powered to allow the alternative use of CNG. Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Iran, India, Italy, and China have the largest fleets of natural gas vehicles in the world.

Diesel-powered vehicles can often transition completely to biodiesel, though the fuel is a very strong solvent, which can occasionally damage rubber seals in vehicles built before 1994. More commonly, however, biodiesel causes problems simply because it removes all of the built-up residue in an engine, clogging filters, unless care is taken when switching from dirty fossil-fuel derived diesel to bio-diesel. It is very effective at ‘de-coking’ the diesel engines combustion chambers and keeping them clean. Biodiesel is the lowest emission fuel available for diesel engines. Diesel engines are the most efficient car internal combustion engines. Biodiesel is the only fuel allowed in some North American national parks because spillages will completely bio-degrade within 21 days. Biodiesel and vegetable oil fuelled, diesel engined vehicles have been declared amongst the greenest in the US Tour de Sol competition.

This presents problems, as biofuels can use food resources in order to provide mechanical energy for vehicles. Many experts point to this as a reason for growing food prices, particularly US Bio-ethanol fuel production which has affected maize prices. In order to have a low environmental impact, biofuels should be made only from waste products, or from new sources like algae.

Electric Motor and Pedal Powered Vehicles
Multiple companies are offering and developing two, three, and four wheel vehicles combining the characteristics of a bicycle with electric motors. US Federal, State and Local laws do not clearly nor consistently classify these vehicles as bicycles, electric bicycles, motorcycles, electric motorcycles, mopeds, Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, motorised quadricycle or as a car. Some laws have limits on top speeds, power of the motors, range, etc. while others do not.

Public transportation vehicles are not usually included in the green vehicle category, but Personal rapid transit (PRT) vehicles probably should be. All vehicles that are powered from the track have the advantage of potentially being able to use any source of electric energy, including sustainable ones, rather than requiring liquid fuels. They can also switch regenerative braking energy between vehicles and the electric grid rather than requiring energy storage on the vehicles. Also, they can potentially use the entire track area for solar collectors, not just the vehicle surface. The potential PRT energy efficiency is much higher than that which traditional automobiles can attain.
Solar vehicles are electric vehicles powered by solar energy obtained from solar panels on the surface (generally, the roof) of the vehicle. Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert the Sun’s energy directly into electrical energy. Solar vehicles are not practical day-to-day transportation devices at present, but are primarily demonstration vehicles and engineering exercises, often sponsored by government agencies. However, some cities have begun offering solar-powered buses, including the Tindo in Adelaide, Australia.
Wind-powered electric vehicles primarily use wind-turbines installed at a strategic point of the vehicle, which are then converted into electric energy which causes the vehicle to propel.

Animal powered vehicles
Horse and carriage are just one type of animal propelled vehicle. Once a common form of transportation, they became far less common as cities grew and automobiles took their place. In dense cities, the waste produced by large numbers of transportation animals was a significant health problem. Oftentimes the food is produced for them using diesel powered tractors, and thus there is some environmental impact as a result of their use.

Human powered vehicles
Human powered transport includes walking, bicycles, velomobiles, row boats, and other environmentally friendly ways of getting around. In addition to the health benefits of the exercise provided, they are far more environmentally friendly than most other options. The only downside is the speed limitations, and how far one can travel before getting exhausted.

Benefits of green vehicle use

Vehicle emissions contribute to the increasing concentration of gases linked to climate change. In order of significance, the principal greenhouse gases associated with road transport are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Road transport is the third largest source of greenhouse gases emitted in the UK, and accounts for over 20% of total emissions, and 33% in the United States. Of the total greenhouse gas emissions from transport, over 85% are due to CO2 emissions from road vehicles. The transport sector is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases.

Vehicle pollutants have been linked to human ill health including the incidence of respiratory and cardiopulmonary disease and lung cancer. A 1998 report estimated that up to 24,000 people die prematurely each year in the UK as a direct result of air pollution. According to the World Health Organisation, up to 13,000 deaths per year among children (aged 0–4 years) across Europe are directly attributable to outdoor pollution. The organization estimates that if pollution levels were returned to within EU limits, more than 5,000 of these lives could be saved each year.

Hybrid taxi fleet operators in New York have also reported that reduced fuel consumption saves them thousands of dollars per year.

A study by CNW Marketing Research suggested that the extra energy cost of manufacture, shipping, disposal, and the short lives of some of these types of vehicle (particularly gas-electric hybrid vehicles) outweighs any energy savings made by their using less petroleum during their useful lifespan. This type of argument is the long smokestack argument. Critics of the report note that the study prorated all of Toyota’s hybrid research-and-development costs across the relatively small number of Priuses on the road, rather than using the incremental cost of building a vehicle; used109,000 miles (175,000 km) for the length of life of a Prius (Toyota offers a 150,000-mile (240,000 km) warranty on the Prius’ hybrid components, including the battery), and calculated that a majority of a car’s cradle-to-grave energy gets expended during the vehicle’s production, not while it is driven. Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman official Bente Øverli stated that “Cars cannot do anything good for the environment except less damage than others.” Based on this opinion, Norwegian law severely restricts the use of “greenwashing” to market automobiles, strongly prohibiting advertising a vehicle as being environmentally friendly, with large fines issued to violators.

Some studies try to compare environmental impact of electric and petrol vehicles over complete life cycle, including production, operation, and dismantling. In general, results differ vastly dependent on the region considered, due to difference in energy sources to produce electricity that fuels electric vehicles. When considering only CO2 emissions, it is noted that production of electric cars generate about twice as much emissions as that of internal combustion cars. However, emissions of CO2 during operation are much larger (on average) than during production. For electric cars, emissions caused during operation depend on energy sources used to produce electricity and thus vary a lot geographically. Studies suggest that when taking into account both production and operation, electric cars would cause more emissions in economies where production of electricity is not clean, e.g., it is mostly coal based.. For this reason, some studies found that driving electric cars is less environmentally damaging in western US states than in eastern ones, where less electricity is produced using cleaner sources. Similarly, in countries like India, Australia or China, where large portion of electricity is produced by using coal, driving electric vehicles would cause larger environmental damage than driving petrol vehicles. When justifying use of electric cars over petrol cars, these kinds of studies do not provide sufficiently clear results. Environmental impact is calculated based on fuel mix used to produce electricity that powers electric cars. However, when a gas vehicle is replaced by an equivalent electric vehicle, additional power must be installed in electrical grid. This additional capacity would normally not be based on the same ratios of energy sources (“clean” versus fossil fuels) than the current capacity. Only when additional electricity production capacity installed to switch from petrol to electric vehicles would predominantly consist of clean sources, switch to electric vehicles could reduce environmental damage. Another common problem in methodology used in comparative studies is that it only focuses on specific kinds of environmental impact. While some studies focus only on emission of gas pollutants over life cycle or only on greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2, comparison should also account for other environmental impacts such as pollutants released otherwise during production and operation or ingredients that can not be effectively recycled. Examples include use of lighter high performing metals, lithium batteries and more rare metals in electric cars, which all have high environmental impact.

A study that also looked at factors other than energy consumption and carbon emissions has suggested that there is no such thing as an environmentally friendly car.

The use of vehicles with increased fuel efficiency is usually considered positive in the short term but criticism of any hydrocarbon-based personal transport remains. The Jevons paradox suggests that energy efficiency programs are often counter-productive, even increasing energy consumption in the long run. Many environmental researchers believe that sustainable transport may require a move away from hydrocarbon fuels and from our present automobile and highway paradigm.

National and international promotion
European Union
The European Union is promoting the marketing of greener cars via a combination of binding and non-binding measures. As of April 2010, 15 of the 27 member states of the European Union provide tax incentives for electrically chargeable vehicles and some alternative fuel vehicles, which includes all Western European countries except Italy and Luxembourg, plus the Czech Republic and Romania. The incentives consist of tax reductions and exemptions, as well as of bonus payments for buyers of electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrid electric vehicles and natural gas vehicles.

United States
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is promoting the marketing of greener cars via the SmartWay program. The SmartWay and SmartWay Elite designation mean that a vehicle is a better environmental performer relative to other vehicles. This US EPA designation is arrived at by taking into account a vehicle’s Air Pollution Score and Greenhouse Gas Score. Higher Air Pollution Scores indicate vehicles that emit lower amounts of pollutants that cause smog relative to other vehicles. Higher Greenhouse Gas Scores indicate vehicles that emit lower amounts of carbon dioxide and have improved fuel economy relative to other vehicles.

To earn the SmartWay designation, a vehicle must earn at least a 6 on the Air Pollution Score and at least a 6 on the Greenhouse Gas Score, but have a combined score of at least 13. SmartWay Elite is given to those vehicles that score 9 or better on both the Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollution Scores.

A Green Vehicle Marketing Alliance, in conjunction with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ONRL), periodically meets, and coordinates marketing efforts.

Further concepts
Here are a number of other concepts listed because they represent alternative drives in terms of this lemma. However, one has to assume that this does not involve any economic relevance in the automotive sector, be it for technical or economic reasons. However, in other sectors, niche applications may well be covered with such concepts, for example in stationary power generation or in areas critical to exhaust gas production.

Pneumatic motor
Heat engines with external combustion (Ericsson engine, Stirling engine, vacuum engine)
Multi-fuel engine
wood engine
Electric push trailer

Reciprocating piston engines
Stelzer engine
Scuderi Engine

Requirements for the use of alternative drives
In order to avoid costly misinvestments, especially in commercial fleets, the technologies must be tailored to the application, as they rarely combine all the advantages of the internal combustion engine at the same time. The most important criteria are:

maximum power (acceleration, inclines)
Stability or constancy of stored or stored on board energy
Acceptable tank procedure in terms of safety, duration and efficiency of the total energy chain from source to wheel
Safety for occupants and the environment

Source from Wikipedia