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5 Most Environmentally Friendly Cars

Posted Jan 15 2009 5:02pm

We’ve been waiting years for environmentally friendly cars that are cheap, reliable, smart, and ‘future proof’. The automotive industry is unlikely to dive in until they are convinced that people are really going to put their money where their mouths are and invest in futuristic technology. The electric car may not have arrived in its expected form, but the success, reliability, monetary, and environmental cost of these cars will decide whether or not the future is here, now.

Zero Pollution Motors Air Car

So your car can run on the sun? Not good enough. How is it going to hold up after a 8 hour late-night drive? Not well I think. This car, however, runs on air. Or at least, it can run all day (or night!) on a pint of gasoline and lots of air, and double the Toyota Prius’ top total, hitting an astounding 106 mpg. This car can compress more air using whatever fuel is available and will take almost anything! Until the automotive industry adopts and pours money into radical projects like this, they may all just be hot air.

Magnetic Air Car

Who would have thought that combining air and magnets could be a combination that could beat gasoline? This isn’t a fuel-efficient vehicle. Rather, this is a fuel-less vehicle. It’s currently just a prototype, but at the moment this “Magnetic Air Car” will use use on-board substations to harness air, then channeling and modulating this air to produce torque which will propel the car. The car uses a battery, presumably one that requires charging occasionally, but with production due to start in 2010, it may not be long we all have to get the crowbars out to free two magnetic cars stuck together getting a little too close.

Pininfarina Nido Concept Car

A very well respected Italian car manufacturer has unveiled this electric car. With increasing investment in renewable energy that can power and charge these cars, they can be more efficient and cheaper to produce than their automotive cousins who demand fuel-less engines. It’s certainly easier to fill a car with electricity than oil.  A night of charging would give this car a 125 mile range. When batteries get a few hundred percent better (not an unreachable target), expect more of these cars to be produced by the big players.

Verdier Solar-Powered Camper Van

More environmentally friendly than most vacations, this camper van uses solar power to charge itself, using GPS to orient the solar panels. And when the sun isn’t shining, the van will run on gasoline. With the camper van / RV expected to be sold in Summer 2009, it won’t be long before you can enjoy luxury of projectors, surround sound, and a fridge/ freezer while on the road.  After considering production emissions and longevity of the van, it may be a few years before vans like this are sufficiently friendly to warrant all the energy that goes into making them.

Tesla Roadster

Not only is this environmentally friendly car on sale right now but it leaves all the above cars in the dust, motoring along silently at speeds up to 125 mph.  Just imagine the cost of auto insurance though! You won’t have the satisfaction of hearing the engine roar, but the Tesla Roadster already is rumored to have George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and Arnold Schwarzenegger on its reserve list.  With a three hour charge, this car will take you 220 miles. The manufacturers have refused to add an artificial noise to these cars, so watch out when crossing the road from now on!

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