Hybrid Electric Vehicles
According to National Geographic Society (2013), global warming and climate change are both gradual processes that may not be stopped entirely but partially restrained to make them less severe. Anyway, there still exist possibilities to improve the situation, for example, with respect to pollution. Due to different statements made and programs implemented regarding the global warming and pollution among other things, one of the key questions concerning the cause remains to be: what do people do to help the situation? Environmentalists tend to consistently remind people of what is at stake and what needs to be done with respect to conserving the planet and in some cases trying to restore it to its former state. With regards to the extinct species, the humanity can accept the damage that has already been done and try to prevent repetition of the history. Nevertheless, that is not all the people can do, regarding the global warming and climate change as the processes that cannot be stopped.
The Impact of Fossil Fuels on the Atmosphere
The increasing dependence on fossil fuels is consistently increasing the carbon emissions into the atmosphere, thus causing severe damages to the ozone layer. It has been known as the greatest culprit for the climate changes experienced across the globe. Nonetheless, people can participate in healing the planet by refraining from damaging the ozone layer.
How to Deal With Global Warming
West (2013) notes that it is important to take small steps towards reducing the dependence on fossil fuels thus, reducing the amount of harmful carbon emissions that is released into the atmosphere. It requires contribution of each individual to reach the necessary result and thus, each person’s participation would be highly appreciated.
The Impact of Global Warming
Global warming leads to climatic changes resulting in unprecedented weather conditions that often cause such natural disasters as the hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis around the globe.
HEV’S as the Way Forward
These cars have the ability to reduce not only the amount of fuel used but also the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into atmosphere, thus ensuring that the ozone layer is not severely damaged.
(Transition: To start off, I will explain how good hybrid electric vehicles are for the environment as opposed to conventional cars)
HEVs as Fuel Savers
The gasoline engine is much smaller than in the conventional car, reducing the amount of fuel used and energy wasted by a large percentage. HEVs combine the small gasoline engine with the battery, implying that they have two sources of energy. Nowadays living without a car is inconvenient, although, not impossible. Nevertheless, not everyone can forego the luxury of having an automobile to move around in. It, however, does not imply that such people cannot make their contribution to reducing the emissions from burning fossil fuels as with the conventional cars. The hybrid electric vehicle uses both the conventional fuel and electricity rather than depending fully on the fuels. The vehicle combines both gasoline engines and electric motors to reap the benefits of efficiency and effectiveness in terms of fuel economy and performance. It means that it is still possible to have a great car with good horsepower range and yet spend much less on fuel, thus reducing the carbon emissions and contributing to conserving the planet.
The electric motor converts kinetic energy into electric energy which is used to charge the batteries, implying that the car is continuously powering itself. As a result, there are minimal energy losses in the form of heat as it is in case of the conventional cars.
(Transition: Next, I will compare and contrast the differences between HEVs, conventional and electric cars)
Comparison of HEVs with Conventional and Electric Cars
- The Conventional Car
Such type of cars has a larger ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) or gasoline engine, and thus not only uses more fuel but also loses a lot of the energy through heat. There is a lot of unused potential that further results in avoidable losses. The vehicle is fully dependent on one source of energy, namely the fossil fuel. Consequently, the kinetic energy is converted to heat energy, which disappears in the surroundings (Riley, 1994).
- The Electric Car
Such cars are largely dependent on electricity and are not suitable for longer trips. They need to be charged once every 6 to 8 hours and the charging facilities may not be readily available in most parts of the world.
Why the HEV is Superior for the Environmentalist
HEVs show better results in reducing carbon emissions, as well as in reducing dependence on fossil fuels without compromising on the need for an automobile. A conventional car only uses the gasoline engine, which is often large and costly in terms of fuel consumption and carbon emissions. A gasoline engine is also less efficient in that it wastes a lot of energy in the form of heat. The HEV’s engine is, however, not only smaller but also engineered to convert the kinetic energy into electric energy rather than heat energy. As such, the ICE in the HEV does not produce much heat but powers the electric motor and charges the batteries or powers the drive train using the kinetic energy. It implies that the HEV is designed to maximize the utilization of little fossil fuels that the car needs to burn, so that to reduce the amount of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere by one car to minimum. That is why even with the same mileage, the HEV is likely to consume less fuel and emit less pollutant fumes compared to the conventional car that runs only on a gasoline engine.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the HEV
The HEV has more strengths than weaknesses as it is an effective means of curbing global warming and the dependence on fossil fuel. Its only weakness is the availability of such models as the manufacturers have failed to see its potential in the market.
(Transition: In the next chapter, I will focus on the reasons why HEVs have not been popular)
Why the HEV has failed to be launched in production despite its positive impact on the fight against global warming and environmental degradation (Cowie, 2007).
- Lack of political will
Politicians have failed to see the significance of these cars for their political interests, thus leaving them as untouched subjects for the environmental activists to explore. Despite having been invented over 25 years ago, the HEV remains very scarce on our roads, owing to the fact that it has been on the sidelines of the political agenda. Political leaders fail to find its significance to their careers and personal interests, thus ignoring the issue every time it is in their agenda.
Most people still think that the HEVs need to be charged as frequently as the electric cars and that they are not as powerful as the conventional cars.
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Personal choices for promoting the HEV start with the individual. Testing the vehicles could make a big difference as it may help people discover their advantages.
Social marketing for the HEVs. People convinced in the importance of using HEVs can spread the information about them to friends and family to expand the circle of people who care about the planet. As stated earlier, it is people who are in the best position to respond to the plight of the planet in terms of pollution. It is so due to the fact that the world leaders are concerned mostly about matters that affect their careers and business interests than about discussing and implementing something as beneficial to the people and environment as the hybrid electric vehicle. Much money has been spent both in the US and abroad with respect to developing this hybrid technology to make it viable to compete with the conventional cars. The failure of the electric cars is relatively understandable seeing as they required charging after every 6 to 8 hours of use. Such disadvantage makes them very inconvenient for people who have to travel much or spend time away from cities where they cannot access the charging equipment and power source. The hybrid model, however, does not have such shortcomings and thus, there is no excuse for failing to launch such cars in production in terms of popularity. The conventional cars pollute the environment and yet they have been widely popularized among people. Considering that the market today is shifting from product oriented to consumer oriented, it would be of very significant difference if people start buying such hybrid vehicles more than they buy the conventional vehicles to make the manufacturers produce and popularize the hybrids more.
Despite the fact that the HEVs were invented over 25 years ago, they did not manage to become the popular means of transport despite being good for the planet. It leaves many questions, seeing as humanity is responsible for taking care of their planet. Taking into consideration that marketing initiative for such planet-saving inventions is lacking, it will be a good thing for people to make a personal choice to protect the planet by at least driving a HEV.
There are many ways of contributing to environmental conservation but global warming may have serious consequences both for human and the environment and thus, must be addressed with more urgency. People could plant trees, stop using paper, improve their recycling habits and even refuse from using plastics but they cannot stop moving from one place to another. The HEVs enable us to move around without causing negative influences on the environment. However, it is a personal choice what car to buy.