Green Cars Guide: Environmentally Friendly Cars, Electric & Hybrid Cars

electric cars and hybrid cars guideSafe to say that hybrid cars aren’t exactly my thing. I’m a Holden ute kind of guy and they don’t come that green right now! In fact, the thought of driving around in one of those electric things hasn’t really entered my mind and to be perfectly honest, I haven’t given too much thought to air pollution and so on (but I probably should).

So this topic is not one I was terribly knowledgeable in but in searching through the interweb I found a heap of detail that I have put into an easy-to-understand format below. And certainly, in covering my website topic of all things motoring in detail, particularly in this day and age, not covering environmentally friendly cars would be a pretty big omission.

Climate change and carbon omissions are all over the news – who could forget all the fuss over the carbon tax!! Drove me nuts. But, it’s fair to say that there is a massive market out there for green cars, a big push by the government (bless them) to “go green” and there is no shortage of people looking to follow that lead and do their bit for the environment.

If course, when there is a government with an agenda, and money to be made by large corporations, it is inevitable that environmentally friendly cars are going to be the future of motoring.

So let’s get into the details and cover some key points:

Are they more expensive? Yes, my research says absolutely they are, in terms of upfront cost. However, running costs (given the price of fuel nowadays) are way lower, so if you keep your car for a reasonable length of time you will make up the difference with change.

I am no authority on green cars, but a great resource for more information can be found at this government site that outlines plenty of green car information.

Green vehicle ratings - These types of cars are rated according to 3 factors:

  • Air Pollution: This is a rating based on emissions that pollute the air. A car with a 10 out of 10 rating offers the least pollution.
  • Greenhouse Rating: This is related to climate change and is a rating based on carbon dioxide emissions. Again, a 10 out of 10 rating is best.
  • Rating Overall: Not sure why they don’t stick with the 10 out of 10 format, but the overall rating is based on a score out of 5 to give a star rating out of 5 (5 being highest). The Greenhouse Rating is combined with the Air Pollution Rating to get a score out of 20. A score of 16 or higher gets awarded a 5 star rating.

Some other things I didn’t understand when researching, but now do, are covered below. I thought I would include them here so that anyone who is in the same boat as I was can find a simple-to-understand answer… Seems to me like every other website out there is trying to make them sound like a Rhodes scholar.

What is biodiesel? A low-emission fuel made from vegetable oils.

What is the importance of CO2 emissions? My chemistry days from year 11 came rushing back after this one… CO2 is carbon dioxide. Its impact is supposedly on contributing to Climate Change.

What is a hybrid car exactly? I thought this was more complex, but it’s not. A hybrid car is just a vehicle that uses both a petrol and electric engine. They can switch between petrol and gas to offer better efficiency and performance. Some of these cars are referred to as plug-in hybrid cars. As the name suggests, you plus them into a power source to charge them up!

Is LPG better for the environment than petrol? Yes from the perspective of emissions, as it contributes about 10% less carbon emissions compared to petrol.

What the heck is regenerative braking? I was actually familiar with this, but had a friend ask me the other day. It is cool technology where the energy caused during braking is actually stored within the car battery. It is then transferred to the electric battery and used to power it! So rather than that energy that is generated during braking going missing into this air, it is put to use!

What does well-to-wheel mean? This is a term that refers to the overall effect the car has on the environment. It takes into consideration from the fuel used to power it (including getting that fuel from out of the ground and transporting it from country X to country Y) through to how good the car is in terms of fuel efficiency overall. It’s an all-encompassing description…

And there you go, the first time I have ever used the word all-encompassing. I think that is my cue to stop typing. I hope you found this article to be helpful.