ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM USING PERSONAL CARS
In these days more and more is being written and talked about the usage of personal cars and consequently, the impact on climate change. The graphic below is showing daily environmental burden of personal cars being used in the US (California).
The graphic is showing that only 6% of daily personal cars take place over a distance of 45 miles (72 km). This means that 94% of daily commuting is done using high-wasteful vehicles, which overburden the environment and thus have an increased impact on climate change. Similar situation was found in Slovenia in 2010 as well, and also in 1985, but at that time there were no such challenging environmental problems. If we speculate a bit, this means that cars these days are inadequate for 94% of daily driving. Cars are over-sized, over-equipped, too heavy and use too much energy for less demanding personal transportation. In this context, the question is whether it is possible to produce an effective vehicle for personal transportation needs, with individual wishes users, and at the same time improve ecological relationship to the environment and climate change.
Status symbol or minimal carbon footprint
When looking personal vehicles across the entire spectrum, the key approach is to use a vehicle, that determines whether the user is environmentally conscious. Or we are facing that status symbol and, as a rule does not recognize current environmental concerns. Currently, this ratio tends to favor the status symbol. The future certainly belongs to ecology, mainly because of the ecological awareness of the younger generations, who are in general more conscience about the need for immediate changes on environment. There are increasing activities among the government and other policy makers now, that impact multiple levels and restrictions on usage of these environmentally controversial means of transportation. It’s expected for automotive industry to offer more eco-friendly products based on a minimal carbon footprint, which depends on the ‘dirty energy’ present now in the process of production used in decomposition of the product.
Criteria for “green technology”
In the case of personal transportion equipment, the carbon footprin depends primarily on weight, aerodynamics, the degree of regenerated energy (braking, swinging) and degree of complexity of recycling process. Energy consumption during the use is very important. (It’s worth to mention the technical data on the minimum power consumption of the concept vehicle VW-XL 1, which consumes 1l / 50km, is 6-7 kWh / 100km – Wikipedia-VW X1).
Cars, powered by current technology the energy ranges between 20-25 kWh / 100km, which means that there is still a lot of construction and technological room, as that reproduces far more carbon footprint that is needed to bridge a certain distance. The other fact is, that carbon footprint is a key criteria for “green technology”, which is the only logical and right way to calculate the environmental tax in the future.
The above presentation shows, that producing eco-friendly, purpose-built personal cars for shorter daily commutes (up to 70 km) is the right direction. Cars may be built simpler and at low cost and still provide safe construction. And for longer travels to have high-end ”M” class cars. Best option would be to have electric or hybrid cars in both groups.
Looking at the problem of personal transportation in urban and rural environment, we began solving the probem in Slovenia aproximately a decade ago by starting the project of production of eco-friendly personal vehicle with minimal carbon footprint. The latest implementation of the EV concept is presented in the attachment.