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Hybrid Cars - Essay Example

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Hybrid Cars

The highly efficient gas engine not only provides some of the power to move the vehicle; more importantly, it generates the electricity for the electric motor and the electric battery pack, which also provide a mode of power, when needed, to supplement the power of the gasoline engine. The computer--Honda calls this integrated motor assist (IMA)-determines which of the two power sources operates and to what extent. The resulting operating range of the vehicle amounts to 300-400 miles or more, better than a typical mid-sized family sedan.
The increasing consumption of primary energy worldwide is of increasing concern because of the greenhouse effect of CO2 emissions, and because conventional oil and natural gas supplies are expected to decline in the not-too distant future (IEA and OECD, 2003). This leads to greater interest in energy-efficient technologies, as technology still is the most important source for energy saving. The reshaping of existing patterns of energy consumption strongly affects the transportation sector, which accounts for 21.8% of total primary energy consumption worldwide in 2000, and will account for ca. 34% in 2050 (OECD countries: 28.1% and 40%, respectively) (IEA and OECD, 2003). ...
The definition, identification and quantification of rebound effects are areas of ongoing research (Greening et al., 2000 and Grepperud and Rasmussen, 2004). The rebound effect is also called take-back effect or backfire effect. Its definition varies among researchers, but the common denominator is that if a product or service becomes more efficient (regarding energy use or the use of some other resource), it will also become cheaper, which might give rise to increased demand. Generally, three different rebound effects might be induced (Berkhout et al., 2000): increased demand for the same service as it has become cheaper (direct rebound effect), increased demand for other services as money (i.e., purchasing power) has become available (indirect rebound effect; also called secondary rebound effect), and structural effects on larger parts of the economy due to changed demand, production and distribution patterns (macro-scale rebound effect; also called economy-wide rebound effect). For example, if the energy efficiency of a car is increased by technological innovations, 100 km can be driven with less fuel and hence at a lower cost. This lower cost could have the consequence that people drive more and longer because mobility has become cheaper. Identification of occurrence, and, if present, quantification of rebound effects are generally not straightforward. Most work has been done on the effects of the introduction of energy-saving technologies, e.g., space heating (Haas and Biermayr, 2000).
Unlike the clunky pure electrics built by General Motors and others, the hybrid gas-electric tandem never needs to be plugged in for hours-long recharge sessions. The Insight recharges itself. You don't have to eye the battery gauge nervously, ...Show more

Summary

Low-pollution cars have been innovation with obvious implications for the urban environment. The Environment Agency is promoting the development and marketing of such vehicles, including electric cars, hybrid cars which combine electric and internal combustion engines, and gas-powered cars…
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