Monday, December 27, 2010

Best Green Automotive Innovations of 2010

The electric and hybrid vehicle market has seen tremendous growth in 2010. According to SBI Energy, over 30 percent of the hybrids being offered in the US have 2010 as their first model year. Here are some of the best green automotive innovations of 2010.

Roads that Charge Electric Cars

A system that charges cars as they drive, also solves the problem of range anxiety. Electric cars are much better for the environment than the combustion engine, but toxic, heavy, and expensive batteries are a major weakness.

Some innovative applications of old ideas are being reborn to power twenty first century vehicles. Streetcars used to derive their power from overhead cables, the next generation of electric vehicle may be powered by the road they drive on.

The world's first commercially available wireless induction charging system was launched in London in 2010. The company is planning to electrify parts of England’s M25 motorway by using magnetic induction. Magnetic induction is a principle that was first discovered in the 1800s. The HaloIPT system will charge electric vehicles via Inductive Power Transfer (IPT). Consumers can purchase a 2 piece system including a power source with charging pad and a pickup pad with controller switch. In this system EVs simply need to be parked or driven over a charging pad and the battery begins charging automatically.

Toyota’s Eco-plastic

Toyota’s Eco-plastic is a simple technology that eliminates the need for petroleum in the manufacturing of plastics. Toyota's eco-plastics are made from the oils derived from non-food-grade plants. When compared with a car finished with petroleum-based plastics, the eco-plastic cut CO2 emissions by 20%. The use of plant-derived plastics (without downgrading the quality and durability) has the potential to have a massive environmental impact, both in the near term and in the future. Toyota's eco-plastics can be found in Toyota Prius and Lexus HS 250h.

GM's HFC Replacement

In July, GM announced what is known as an HFO, a climate-friendly refrigerant to replace HFCs, the super greenhouse gas currently used in auto air conditioning. This technological breakthrough represents a major step forward in the war against climate change because it can replace a significant source of climate change causing emissions.

Mass Production of Greener Cars

Mass production is benefiting the growth of electric and hybrid vehicles. In 2010, GM introduced the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan has launched the Leaf. The fact that these cars are being mass produced may enable them to benefit from economies of scale which reduces the cost of production and makes them competitive with combustion engine powered cars.

New Automotive Business Models

New partnerships and new business models are making it possible for greener cars to penetrate the combustion engine dominated automotive marketplace. These new business models are powering new startups and new partnerships that are enhancing the competitive positioning of greener vehicles.

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