Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Green Car Glossary

IHS Global Insight is putting out "The Non-Engineer's Guide to Electric Vehicles" through its SupplierBusiness company. The promo material says: "It provides a layman's guide to the most opaque terms and concepts when looking at the development of Electric Vehicles. This knowledge will provide a base for those looking at business as well as looking at why the term 'Electric Vehicle' is so maligned and ways of combating this skepticism amongst the general public."

I would agree. As I'm staying current on green machines, there's terminology to clarify and follow, such as renewable energy, zero emission vehicles, nitrogen oxide emissions, greenwashing, smart grid, and various categories of biofuels. What do these mean? Good question; let me get back to you on that. I'm putting together a terminology directory for anyone interested in getting their own clarifications. Here are two examples:

Battery electric vehicles: Battery-powered vehicles are propelled solely by an electric motor, and powered by electricity stored in onboard batteries. Their driving range is limited by the capacity for energy storage on the vehicle and this could typically be anywhere from 30 to 120 miles, depending on the available battery storage space and the type of battery being used. Other concerns connected to EVs are high battery costs, lengthy charging, and environmental effects of increased electrical power generation. These automobiles are sometimes called pure electric vehicles, electric cars/vehicles, or battery electric vehicles (BEVs).The Nissan Leaf is the commonly referred to example of upcoming BEVs.

Fuel cell vehicles: Fuel cell vehicles combine hydrogen with oxygen to produce electricity along with water, which is given off as vapor. The energy is stored in batteries or fuel stacks and is used to drive the vehicle. A fuel cell vehicle can also be considered an electric vehicle in which an onboard fuel cell uses hydrogen to generate electricity through a chemical reaction. They’re sometimes referred to as hydrogen electric vehicles. As for positives, the range is comparable to internal combustion engines, uses no petroleum fuel, emits only water vapor, and has rapid refueling time. Negatives include lack of hydrogen refueling infrastructure, and the fuel cell system is complex and expensive, although that appears to be entering a new phase with recent announcements by Toyota and Hyundai-Kia.

If there are terms that confuse you or are important to know about, let me know and I will add them to my green car glossary.

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