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What is a ‘Green Vehicle’ and where can you get one?

Posted by Royal Sundaram on 18 Mar 2010

A Green vehicle is one that does minimal harm to the environment or more specifically, it complies with the EURO-6 emission norms. In plain language, it is low or non-polluting, consumes very little or no fuel and is built in an eco-friendly manner.

You might not realize it, but you’ve probably already been in a green car – the horse drawn carriage.


However, when referring to a green automobile, the following qualify:

Electric Vehicles

EVs are the most commonly heard of green cars. In fact, an Indian company produces the largest selling EV in the world, beating the likes of Toyota and it’s ilk to the market. Back in 2001, the Reva was launched and revolutionize, it has, with a range of 129 kms (without an AC) its a success story in 13 countries.

Quite obviously, EV are battery powered and run on electricity. The focus in this segment of green cars is towards better energy storage and delivery at lower cost. Expect a longer range Reva (and several similar competing offerings) in the near future.

Hybrid Vehicles

Cousins of EVs, hybrids run partly on conventional fuel engines and electric motors (usually in city limits). The most famous of them is the Toyota Prius. The advantage of a hybrid is its ability to deliver power when necessary yet deliver greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions overall. Hybrids are costly and are yet to see mainstream success but are expected to take off within the next 5 years.

Alternate fuels and energy recovery

Some cars are green because they fulfill the EURO-6 protocol by their ability to operate on alternative and renewable fuels. These vehicles range from solar powered EVs to regular cars that run on bio-diesel or bio-ethanol – a biodegradable fuel produced from the fermentation of sugars present in vegetation such as jathropa, corn, coconut and even algae.

Additionally, some of the vehicles are capable of recovering kinetic energy when a vehicle is braking. This technology, known as KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) was used successfully by a few teams during last year’s Formula 1 season.

The cost of ownership

Most green vehicles, specially the technologically advanced ones come at a substantially higher initial investment and require more skilled and costly maintenance because of their lower market pervasion. Consequently, the insurance costs are also higher and more complex with some components not covered.

Finally, the bicycle

Nearly everyone of us has been on or ridden one and for many, it continues to be the primary mode of transport. Bicycles use very little raw resources to produce, require no fuel, produce no exhaust, take up minimal storage and parking space and are easily reduced to their basic metal components and thus have high recyclable value. In short, the quickest way (quite literally in traffic congested cities) for you to go green, is to get your self a cycle.

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