The catch phrase of the last few years in the automotive industry could easily be summed up as alternative energy vehicles. This phrase embodies all sorts of different technologies. Manufacturers have worked on and developed vehicles that use all a myriad of alternative technologies. There’s diesel, ethanol, hybrid, extended range electric vehicles, battery-powered vehicles, bio-diesel and the list just grows and grows. Understanding each of these newly developed technologies is difficult, but automakers are hoping that many of them will catch on and buyers will come to appreciate the benefits that a given technology offers.
The categories above only cover but a few of the alternative technology offerings that either are available now or will be soon. So in order for car buyers to select the right technology for them, an understanding of the pros and cons of each technology is in order. Here’s a brief recap of several emerging technologies in the automotive marketplace.
First there is diesel. Now that technology has been around forever, but is finally making its ways to the United States. Diesel offers improved gas mileage with virtually no sacrifices. It’s clean and efficient though diesel engines are slightly more costly than gasoline versions.
Then there’s ethanol. Ethanol is a plant derived fuel and is clean burning and processed right here in the United States. The drawbacks to ethanol include lessened efficiency over gasoline and few cars that can capably burn it.
Moving on to electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are powered by batteries and use no fuel to move the vehicle down the road. They have strong acceleration, few moving parts and are very cheap to operate. Their drawbacks include a high initial price and a low range between charges.
Next up is hybrid technology. Hybrids combines benefits of gasoline engines with the benefits of electric vehicles. They offer great gas mileage at a reasonable price. The drawbacks are few but mainly include a complex powertrain that is difficult to develop and work on as well as only offering mediocre performance.
Finally, we come to the extended-range electric vehicle. This technology is seen in vehicles such as the upcoming Chevy Volt. The extended-range setup offers some advantages of the electric vehicles while also increases overall range via a gasoline engine or generator. The major drawback here is high price and complexity.
There are many more advanced technology offerings available, but the ones listed above cover most of the major types of vehicles that will begin to pop up everywhere. All technologies have benefits and not one is without some sort of drawback. Each offers improvements over the tried and true gasoline engine, but sacrifices must also be made to wean our nations off of gasoline and into the vehicles of the future.