This has led to an increase in wind farms, energy efficient home improvements and advances in eco-friendly car technology, with the technology being invested into cars of the utmost important as there are over one billion in the world.
Some of these technologies you may already know about but others have been more low key. Here’s a look at the latest eco-friendly car technologies we can expect to see on the roads soon.
Brake energy regeneration
As a car is moving it generates what is known as kinetic energy. Once it slows down, a portion of this energy will be lost. The reason brake energy regeneration is being developed is to utilise the energy that’s lost when a driver brakes or takes their foot off the throttle.
This technology converts wasted energy into electricity. The majority of hybrid and electric cars already utilise this system as a way to recharge their batteries. Electric motors used in this process turn into generators, converting kinetic energy into electricity.
BMW have been working on this technology for a while and have created a kind of brake energy regeneration which uses an alternator that only connects to the battery if there is braking.
More often than not it’s the simple ideas that work the best, which leads us to the question, why does the engine need to run when the car has stopped? The majority of the time people don’t bother to switch the engine off due the inconveniences it can cause such as the lights, heater, sat nav, radio and other items also turning off.
However, a stop-start system could be the solution. It works by detecting when the engine can be turned off and automatically restarting it when you are ready to drive again, with the reassurance that any of the cars gadgets and accessories won't be disturbed.
This technology in a manual car works when a driver selects neutral when the car is completely still. To get the engine to start again you simply put your foot down on the clutch. It’s predicted fuel consumption can be reduced by 5% to 8% simply by using this feature, making it a useful piece of technology to invest in.
What’s interesting is that this technology isn’t new; Volkswagen introduced it back in 1991. It’s only recently that it has been refined, and now the majority of manufacturers have their own versions.
Hydrogen hybrid cars
A technology that is having a lot of money invested into it is hydrogen hybrid cars. This is due to the only byproduct being water, although it is yet to become a practical choice.
At the moment this isn’t a carbon neutral option, although scientists are working on a green way to produce hydrogen. BMW are at the forefront of this so far, and they have already created a car that uses the gas as fuel.
This vehicle is called The Hydrogen 7, based on BMW’s popular 7 series. It utilises both petrol and hydrogen. When put into hydrogen mode, the only emission from the exhaust is water. Performance may not be like a normal car, and it doesn’t have the best tank range, but it’s great to see how far this technology has come.
Parallel hybrid cars
One of the main forms of hybrid cars is parallel, which uses a standard engine and electric motor to power the wheels. The electric motor assists the engine, allowing manufacturers to install a combustion unit that’s more economical.
With the motor doing a portion of the work, there is less of a load on the engine. This helps to improve the fuel consumption and the way the motor can be used as an alternator, as well as a starter.
There are batteries that power the electric motor, which means you don’t have to waste time waiting for it to recharge. When the car slows down, the electric motor kicks into reverse using a generator function to recharge the batteries.
Series hybrid cars
The other main option for hybrid cars is series. It uses an engine which drives a generator, and any electricity created powers an extra electric motor which drives the wheels. This isn’t connected to the wheels directly, which allows it to work at maximum efficiency, creating optimum fuel consumption.
One of the best examples of this technology is the Toyota Prius, as this vehicle is able to run off solely on an electric motor. This becomes particularly useful for people that drive regularly in city centres at lower speeds.
‘Smart’ gear change indicators
This technology works to utilise conventional cars so that they can be eco-friendly without the need of expensive technology. As longer gearing stretches the ratio between the third, fourth and fifth gears, the engines spin slower at certain speeds compared to other cars.
A lot of car manufacturers have started to fit a gear change indicator so the driver is notified when they can upshift early. These indicators can detect what the engine load is, which in turn allows them to accommodate your particular situation.
When it comes to aerodynamics there has been a large focus on creating shapes that look impressive. A slippery shaped car doesn't require a large effort to push through air, and due to this uses less fuel.
Certain detail changes, such as the front grille and wheel trim, can allow the car to pass along a road with reduced air resistance. Aerodynamic wheel trims have become a popular option as they can be installed relatively easily.
Although there is only a small selection of eco-friendly car technologies available at the moment, there will be items being developed behind the scenes that we aren’t yet aware of. The future of eco-friendly car technology is an exciting one, and it will be interesting to see what the next few years have in hold for this sector.
This blog was written by Rachel Jensen on behalf of Leasecar.co.uk, your first choice for quality car leasing.