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Sustainable Living: An Introduction to Green Cars

Updated October 2, 2013

Sustainable Living: An Introduction to Green Cars

In recent years there has been a sustained pressure on car manufacturers to produce greener, more environmentally friendly cars. The larger companies have responded well by investing millions and millions into researching and developing the technology behind these complex systems. Green cars have been around for a surprising number of years, but they didn’t come into the public eye until Toyota introduced their flagship Prius.

Toyota Prius
A favourite amongst Hollywood stars and celebrities, the Prius is a hybrid vehicle manufactured by the Japanese automotive company Toyota. It was first unveiled in a compact sedan format in 1997 in Japan but wasn’t introduced overseas until 2000. In 2003, the ‘mid-size car’ was unveiled which became the popular option because of its practicality for a wider range of the market.

Hybrid cars operate on a dual approach, incorporating both a traditional petrol/diesel engine and an electrically powered engine. The electric engine is powered by a large bank of lithium ion batteries, not unlike those used for everyday laptops. Charging them is possible both at home and at special charging hotspots slowly being introduced around the world. You might find a charging dock in your local petrol station.

Hybrid cars operate on their electric engines when running at low speeds and in short intervals, their petrol engines kicking in when the car needs to perform at higher levels. This means that the performance in and around built up areas will often be powered by the more environmentally friendly electric engine; which can also receive charge from a dynamo that the petrol engine spins when it operates.

Toyota Prius

Nissan Leaf
The Leaf is the first commercially successful all-electric car, with no tailpipe pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. With an equivalent fuel economy of 99 miles per gallon, the Leaf has made incredible improvements on its predecessors including an optimised range of up to 80 miles from a single charge.

The Leaf can drive at speeds of up to 90mph and produce an impressive 0 to 60mph in 8 seconds; not bad! The mantra of Nissan is to provide an affordable, practical and desirable electric car to remove the stigma attached to them. Cars like the Prius are often seen as underperforming and expensive alternatives to petrol cars, and Nissan are trying to convince the market that sustainable living doesn’t mean compromising on style and performance. It remains to be seen how the consumer market will react to this approach.

Nissan Leaf

Byline: This article has been written by My Car Check, specialists in discovering the hidden past of your used vehicle.

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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