Green technology has become standard equipment on almost every new car and truck sold in America. Automakers around the world are pouring billions of dollars into systems and features that not only reduce emissions, but also lower fuel costs and improve efficiency across the board for drivers.
Let’s take a look at three of the most interesting green ideas that have taken hold in the auto industry.
1. Engine Start/Stop
The ability to prevent an engine from idling without negatively impacting the driving experience is the centerpiece of many green technology efforts in the automotive world. Automatic engine start/stop features make use of a starter that can instantly get a motor up and running when the driver either taps the gas pedal or moves the steering wheel, while shutting it down at every stop to avoid wasting fuel. This type of system can add a few miles per gallon to the city driving cycle of many vehicles, and it goes without saying that it also significantly reduces tailpipe emissions.
Imagine if your car’s cruise control system could see the road ahead and plan its braking and throttle inputs accordingly. That would mean no more being surprised by a steep hill that requires sharp downshifts — not to mention the ability to plan out routes that consume less fuel. This green technology is available on a range of luxury cars in 2017. It gives cruise control the ability to plot a more efficient course and allows drivers to make more eco-conscious choices when starting a journey. Look for this feature to become more common as autonomous driving technologies become more popular.
Wait a minute — aren’t turbochargers all about performance? Yes and no. On the one hand, turbos have traditionally been used to generate hefty power in performance cars and diesel trucks. In a modern context, however, they are more often employed to make modest motors feel like they’re two to three times larger in displacement. Big power from small engines lets drivers enjoy strong acceleration while sipping fuel at a lower RPM — just like they would if there was no turbo present at all — making this an example of green technology that satisfies both the environment and the ego.
As environmental efforts and automotive technologies advance, more green features will hit the market.
Check out all the relays, sensors and switches
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.