Green technology and automotive evolution have been at the forefront of the auto industry’s research and development process for the past several years. Now, there have been significant leaps taken in the world of electric and hybrid cars.
It seems, too, that with increased knowledge of the Internet of Things and the car industry automation, drivers are set to enter into a world where green automotive technology isn’t a luxury but is the norm.
There are behavioural changes drivers can make now in order to keep their driving greener, but what sorts of environmental automotive technologies are just around the corner?
Energy-storing body panels
With electric and hybrid cars taking the automotive world by storm, the primary concern of the auto industry is finding ways to extend these cars’ driving time. At present, most electric and hybrid cars make excellent city cars, as they’re able to drive only short distances on a single charge.
Auto manufacturers throughout Europe have proposed the inclusion of additional elements in energy-storing body panels. These panels, made up of polymer fibre and carbon resin not only reduce a car’s weight but are able to collect energy from regenerative braking. The batteries placed in these panels are also able to collect and store energy procured in an electric car’s basic charge.
This means that electric car owners will be able to stay on the roads for longer and that the cars themselves won’t be weighed down by extra steel supports.
While some car tyre research has been dedicated to the different ways tyres can add to an electric car’s generated power, Goodyear is pursuing a different eco-friendly path. Tyres, as you may know, are exceptionally difficult to recycle.
This is because the rubber that goes into making an average tyre endures vulcanisation – a process that exposes rubber to sulphur in order to harden it and, in turn, make it driveable. Vulcanisation, having been invented by Charles Goodyear, now stands in the way of the company’s ability to recycle its tyres without environmental damage.
Now Goodyear is looking to create “photosynthesis tyres.” These tyres are said to have living moss growing inside of them. The moss, while not damaging the construction of the tyre, will absorb water from the road a car passes over and release oxygen as it takes in carbon dioxide. The base of these oxygen tyres will also be made from rubber powder collected from previously recycled tyres.
It may sound strange, and the technology itself is a few years off from production, but this mossy solution to Goodyear’s rubber recycling problem suggests that not only can the negative impact of vulcanisation be lessened, but oxygen tyres can provide cars with an additional environmental element meant to reduce the vehicle’s overall carbon footprint.
V2V and V2I technology
The Internet of Things also appears as though it could contribute to the overall attempt of the auto industry to go green. V2V and V2I communication, better known as “vehicle-to-vehicle” and “vehicle-to-infrastructure” offers cars the opportunity to share information about their speed, location, and direction with both other vehicles and the structures around them (e.g. stop lights, side rails, etc.).
The safety benefits of V2V and V2I are their primary selling points. V2V and V2I are both meant to collaborate with the car’s automated steering. When a car with V2V or V2I detects that it’s too close to another car or to a building, the automatic steering can easily move the vehicle out of the way of danger. It’s said that both systems could work to reduce the number of traffic crashes in a year by up to 81 per cent.
The environmental benefit of V2V and V2I comes in the systems’ ability to assess a driver’s driving habits. With the help of V2V and V2I, cars on the road will be able to better optimise their driving style in order to promote environmentally-friendly speeds and manoeuvres that preserve the vehicle’s fuel reserves and thereby use less energy.
Not only then do V2V and V2I offer drivers an additional measure of automotive safety, but they promote driving habits that will save drivers’ money on petrol in the long run.
Waiting for the future
These are just some of the automotive technologies that promise to help drivers throughout Europe and on international roadways reduce their carbon footprint. Until these technologies see common use, though, the way you drive on the road determines your impact on the environment around you.
Try out some of the renewable fuels that are available at petrol stations and drive a little slower on the roads. You’ll find that when you do, you’re saving money on your car’s maintenance and reducing the number of fossil fuels that your car consumes on a daily basis.
A green technological future for the automotive industry is on its way. Are you ready?