First of all I’d like to thank you all again for participating in the eco-car poll and also in the comments section of the four posts that analysed each each answer. I particularly liked it when :
Carol said that low range vehicles do not take into account the unpredictability of our lives, e.g. drive to work, park, start charging car, school calls child sick, take to doctor, go to pharmacy, stuck in traffic on very hot day, put air con on just lost 10km of range – this is scary!! Either the technology is not ready or we have to change our car dependent infrastructure…Jean-Pierre said changing our car habits will be a small part of the overall change that we’ll have to undertake. Wojtek gave some innovative ideas for recharging electric cars, his idea on non contact induction charging has also been suggested by IAV. Carol says fuel consumption is now becoming trendy! Can you imagine talking about that with your friends in bar 10 years ago! Munir & Josh gave interesting insight on taxing – I don’t think the debate has finished yet though!
Now let’s just think how all this change is going to happen. Here’s an example of some eco design fundamentals:
Product improvement: the automotive industry is working like crazy on this. They’re modifying existing engines or building new ones to be emissions regulation compliant. EURO 6 is a very tough emissions regulation which will come into to force in 2015. Fleet average CO2 has to be reduced from 160g/km to 130g/km by 2015. Then there’s ELV, again by 2015, for all end-of life vehicles, the re-use and recovery shall be increased to a minimum of 95 % by an average weight per vehicle and year. Within the same time limit, the re-use and recycling shall be increased to a minimum of 85 % by an average weight per vehicle and year. Today we’re at 85% and 80% respectively.
Product redesign: this means new types of cars. The electric car for example, surprising how it’s only no. 2 on this list. Well, if you design, make and use the electric car just like the internal combustion engined car then it’ll be better but it’s not enough…
Function innovation: improve the car’s function, i.e. use it better. Car sharing is a good example, here we use the car to its maximum, instead of today’s 1.2 person average.
System innovation: this is my favourite…re-design the whole system! New needs, new business models, new products…our lifestyle will have to change! Once a lot more of us work from home then the car will be used mainly for business use and leisure. It’s very similar to the aviation industry today, you reserve a seat in a big jet for business visits or go to on holiday, and if you’ve got your own private pilot’s licence then you reserve time to fly one of your club’s light aircraft. Cars would then have the same requirements as aircraft, i.e. very little personal ownership & long term affordability: low maintenance costs, high durability, long life. No more changing the car every 2 years as you won’t own one anymore. That’s what I call eco!
And lastly, something that popped up in my mind: imagine arriving at work or returning home and plugging in your electric car to charge up the batteries, sounds great doesn’t it. Now imagine the whole of your company or your street/block/town doing the same thing, well that’s certainly going to dim the lights in my house! I guess we’ve got some more thinking to do… And wouldn’t it be cool to use the car’s batteries for other things too. What about driving to the beach and using the car’s batteries to power a beach party sound system?