New Car Designs Driving Toward a Brighter Energy Future

interview with Mayra

You can work to improve the energy efficiency of your Colorado home until it’s practically self-sustaining, but you’re not likely to build your own energy-efficient car. So, it’s a good thing innovators are hard at work building better vehicles that could light the way to a much brighter energy future.


Electric vehicles

While the Tesla broke the mold — creating a high-performance and hot-selling electric vehicle — its more important role might have been jolting traditional auto manufacturers into re-entering the electric vehicle market.

The Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and Ford C-Max Energi are all priced under $40,000 and offer average car buyers the ability to plug their vehicles in and pay pennies on the dollar for what gas costs.

The Volt and Energi are both extended range plug-in hybrids that travel about 40 miles on the battery before using the gas generator to power the battery engine.

Working with your house: In addition to providing a cleaner and lower-cost option for fueling your car, electric vehicle batteries could be used to store solar energy from rooftop panels and provide power to the electric grid during peak demand hours after the sun sets.

Hydrogen fuel cell

Most people don’t realize that hydrogen vehicles are already on the roads. They seem so futuristic. Most of the major automakers already have prototypes with customers and some even have fleet leases with universities and tech companies.

Honda’s FCX Clarity is available for lease to any average person who wants to pay $600 a month, including the fuel.

Drive Clean, a nonprofit industry group, has developed standards for hydrogen vehicles and the fuel in order to fast track them to the market. California is installing infrastructure with more than 100 fueling stations expected to go up over the next year, and manufacturers are planning to begin selling the cars there in 2014.

Better fuel efficiency

Even regular gas-powered cars are getting more efficient. Auto manufacturers have started making more cars powered with flex-fuel and diesel, which burn more cleanly than traditional gasoline.

Higher prices at the pump have naturally driven auto manufacturers to focus on greater fuel economy, but that focus is expected to continue increasing.

President Barack Obama’s administration passed new fuel economy regulations that will require car companies to reach 54.5 miles per gallon average fuel economy across all their models by 2025. That’s double the current standard.

Be energy efficient

Using less energy to accomplish everyday living is good for the environment and good for quality of life and economy. Even if a new car is the last thing you’re thinking about right now, there’s plenty you can do to reduce your energy footprint.

Contact the Energy Resource Center to find out how we can help you with a home energy audit and weatherization improvements. Fees from our services help people who need energy assistance and we offer our services free for income-qualified residents of El Paso, Teller, Fremont, Elbert, Douglas, Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Saguache and Rio Grande counties.


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