The Black Present and The Green Future
For the first time, the CO2 levels in the atmosphere have hit 400 ppm (parts per million).
This threshold represents the growing influence of humans on the climate. The man-made emissions of CO2 have increased the concentration in the atmosphere from about 270-280 ppm in the 1700s to the current record – a 43% increase. According to scientists, this is surprising considering the rapid growth of global CO2 emissions from the frequent burning of oil, coal and natural gas.
Last year, the global CO2 emissions reached 38.2 billion tons. This is an increase of around a billion tons more compared to the previous year. This means that over 2.4 million pounds of CO2 are spewed into the atmosphere: Every second.
The increasing CO2 emissions are accelerating global warming, also known as the greenhouse effect. Future temperatures depend on the amount of CO2 that accumulated in the atmosphere and so, there is a need to reduce those emissions in order to minimize global warming.
How To Reduce Global CO2 Emissions
Since the increasing CO2 emissions are often associated with burning of oil, coal and natural gas, the best way to reduce them is to adopt green practices. For example, coal power should be replaced by zero-carbon nuclear power and renewable wind power.
Natural gas which is used for heating and driving motors should be replaced by heat pumps and electric motors. Finally, transportation sector consumes over 70 percent of petroleum as motor fuels. The consumption of transportation petroleum can be significantly reduced by using electric vehicles.
The Current State Of Green Car Industry
With the need to reduce CO2 emission, electric cars have emerged as the viable alternative to the polluting cars that most people drive today. An electric car relies on an electric motor for propulsion. They use battery and not petrol.
The current green car industry is dominated by the 6 car makers:
- Honda and
The price of electric cars is much more than gasoline vehicles of the same size. For example, the price of the least expensive electric car on the market now, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive car, is twice as much as the gasoline ForTwo. However, the operation cost of electric cars is a much less.
For example, if gasoline costs $4 per gallon, your 25-mpg gas car will need a fuel of $16 to cover every 100 miles. On the other hand, an electric car uses $1-6.50 in electricity for the same distance. One of the most popular electric car models is the 2013 Nissan Leaf. It has recorded the highest sales.
More About LEAF
If you are driving the Nissan LEAF for the first time, you will be impressed by the little difference between the car and comparable internal combustion hatchbacks. It is not a golf cart, and accelerates well just like most gasoline-fueled cars of the same size. It can comfortably accommodate four people (or even five for shorter distances), and has a considerable cargo room.
The LEAF is a highly capable daily car whose operating cost is a fraction of gas-powered cars provided you pay attention to the battery charge state.
The 2013 LEAF maintains the same styling as its 2011 predecessor, which is a good thing. It has a contemporary and conventional look and even its allowances for aerodynamics (such as the protruding headlights) look decent on the car.
The base models have 16-inch steel wheels (along with wheel covers), while other models have alloy wheels. The distinguishing feature of the range-topping SL models is the solar panel attached to the roof spoiler, which provides supplemental charging for the 12-volt battery of the LEAF.
The car is powered by an 80-kilowatt (107HP) electric motor which is driven by a 24-kWh lithium-ion battery. Although the vehicle is single-speed, it takes 10 seconds to run from 0-60 mph thanks to the instantly available motor torque of 207 pound-feet and the car can hit a maximum speed of up to 90-mph. Both figures perfectly fit its intended purpose.
The 2013 LEAF handles competently and predictably. However, people who are seeking maximum entertainment behind the wheel may not be satisfied with the numb steering and detached road feel of the car. But since the primary mission of the car is to move from one point to another in relative comfort, that cannot hinder sales.
As mentioned earlier, you need to pay careful attention to the car’s battery charge state. When completely depleted, the 24 kWh battery pack may take nearly twenty hours to reach its full charge capacity on standard home current (110V). Installing a 240V Level 2 charging station (sold by Nissan dealers) in your home will significantly reduce that time, and the new 2013 6.6-kilowatt charger (which comes with all Leafs except base models) can charge the battery to its full capacity in only four hours.
That’s a great improvement compared to the previous 3.3-kilowatt charger, which took up to 10 hours to fully recharge from a 240V Level 2 charging station.
With the advancement in technology today, a smartphone can be used to operate or control almost anything and the LEAF is no exception. Through a smartphone app, you can set charging times to maximize on off-peak rates, heat the cabin and cool the cabin for summer comfort.
The smartphone app also allows you to keep tabs on the charging process as you will be alerted in case charging is interrupted. But if you don’t have a smartphone, don’t worry as most of these functions can be controlled via the display screen of the car.
The Future Of Green Car Industry
Although the electric cars are a bit costly today, the price will obviously reduce. More and more people will opt for the cars due to their benefits to the environment. There shall come a time when combustion cars would be so few and the air would not be full of CO2 that gasoline-fueled cars are often associated with.
In fact, Nissan has tried to capture that period by creating an aromatic blueprint’ which imitates how the world would smell like in a green future with zero-carbon emission cars.