Cars as efficient as electric trains to be created over the next decade
Richard Parry-Jones, one of the leading automotive engineers in the industry, has made a prediction that the eco-friendly cars which will be available by the end of this decade will be as efficient as an electric train. Parry-Jones, who once worked for Ford and is currently the chairman of Network Rail and the head of the Automotive Council, made this statement during a recent transport conference held in London.
He went on to say that the automotive manufacturing industry is aiming to achieve a carbon emission rate of 40g/km; given that the average number of passengers in a car is 1.6, this works out at just 25g/km per person, a figure which is not dissimilar to that of the most eco-friendly electric trains running today. Parry-Jones declared this a ‘remarkable development’ when one considers that the average emission just 12 years ago was 140g/km.
Today, the Toyota Prius, Plug-in Hybrid, is considered to be one of the most efficient cars on the market; this vehicle has a C02 emission rate of 49g/km. The Prius model is currently available in Europe, Japan and the USA and uses a surprisingly small amount of petrol, at 2.1L/100km. The new plug-in hybrid differs from the conventional Prius in that it comes with a much larger battery, which is can be fully charged within just 90 minutes. A battery with full power can then be used for running the car for about 15.5 miles and once it becomes depleted, the car’s standard piston engine automatically begins to run, and can charge the battery once more while the car is on the move.
There are many other manufacturers who are catching up with Toyota’s technology and ultra efficient cars are expected to be more commonplace over the coming decade. The CEO of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, announced just last year, during the Qatar motor show, that the company were in the process of producing a small line of vehicles which will be based on a low emission diesel engine, which when in the combined cycle uses no more than 0.9L/100km, making it four times more efficient than its current Toyota Prius rival.
In the transport conference in London, Parry-Jones commented on the rise of new technology in cars, and predicted that vehicles with in-built traffic management devices and inter-communicative abilities will be available in the near future. He also discussed the idea of networks of vehicles which are digitally controlled under a single system. However, all of these potential advances in automotive technology will be dependent on financial initiatives. Manufacturing companies are now hoping to attract more funding for such projects from private investors.