Filling up your hydrogen-powered car from the tap in your kitchen may seem like a sensational headline, but it probably won’t happen anytime soon. America’s car makers need to figure out how to reduce carbon emissions, but driving green doesn’t mean being stuck with a Prius. There are more and more green vehicles coming onto the market- fueled by increased demand, stricter government regulations, and investors waiting for profits, the future of the green car is very bright.
To make the transition easier, car makers are retrofitting current cars with flex fuel, hybrid and electric engines. Newer manufacturers are starting with a clean slate; it’s really up to the consumer to decide which approach suits them best. Here are some of the ways that getting from one place to another is becoming more environmentally-friendly, with some help from The Green Spot in assembling the list!
*Cars that run on biofuels. Ethanol started the trend, but the race is far from over as fuels like butanol are gaining popularity. Butanol is a four-carbon alcohol that has seen use as a solvent, but as has been discovered, it can also fuel an automobile. Like ethanol before it, butanol is a renewale energy source that can be made from any high-sugar plant such as beets, sugarcane or corn. When burned, it has lower emissions than gas and puts no carbon into the atmosphere. Butanol has some advantages over ethanol; it is less corrosive so it can be put through current pipelines (where ethanol has to be trucked in). Butanol also contains more energy than ethanol, which means it offers green cars higher mileage.
*Fuel cell vehicles. They have electric engines, but instead of plugging them in, they burn hydrogen from a fuel cell to make energy. Fuel cell vehicles can use either pure hydrogen, or a fuel rich in the element such as methane, natural gas, or gasoline. Hydrogen is available in abundance, and when it is burned, it only emits water. Creating hydrogen cleanly is very expensive, and makers are competing to develop technology that lowers the cost of creating it.
*Electric cars. A lot of controversy has been created over the supposed death of the electric car. However, it has risen from the ashes. Newer electric cars are different from the old ones; for instance, the Tesla Roadster goes from 0-60 in four seconds and can go almost 250 miles on a charge. Investors and equity firms are betting heavily on the electric car, which means a greater likelihood that established manufacturers will get in on the act.