In my basic presentation, I examined the practicality of HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles), otherwise known as hybrids. The presentation gave some background about laws pertaining to emissions but at the same time was designed more to educate the consumer as to what a hybrid actually is. You do not plug it in!
Current Emission Standards are confusing. At this point in time, we are at a major transition as to what will be the future of combustion vehicles. Present day standards do not call for the kind of emission requirements that will account for the current rate of global warming. To fix this problem we must either cut back on the number of vehicles on the road (not likely to happen) or use less fuel. There are many advantages to efficient fuel consumption. These advantages range from saving money to saving the environment. It will also make the United States stronger as a nation in that we can reduce dependency on foreign oil.
The first question we ask ourselves: what is a hybrid? A hybrid is a vehicle that has both a combustion engine as well as an electric motor. With the batteries of today it is not possible to make a practical vehicle that will run solely on electric. These cars need to be recharged after a range of approximately 60 miles. This limitation does not make the car practical by today?s standards. Although, the number of hybrids on the road today is limited, in the future we should see most, if not all, passenger vehicles available with the hybrid option (an option that might very well become a requirement).
The primary goal of the hybrid vehicle is to cut down on global-warming. The only way in which we can effectively reduce green house gas emissions is by burning less fossil fuel. Based on fuel efficiency, the hybrid vehicle is a clear alternative to traditional vehicles. The increased fuel efficiency of the hybrids actually makes city driving more economical than highway driving. Overall fuel efficiency (MPG) can be doubled. All of these factors lead to reduced emissions.
At this point, it would be appropriate to include a brief summary of the Emission Standards as proposed by the EPA. The Federal mandates on emissions include Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 took effect in 1997 and was the first call for a reduction in emissions since the 50s. Tier 2 will be phased-in beginning 2004. Currently, Tier 1 standards take into account the size of the car when determining emission ratings. When Tier 2 takes effect, the size of the car will no longer matter (i.e. an SUV will be held to the same standards as a subcompact car). The Tier 1 and Tier 2 guidelines only apply to passenger cars. Buses, trucks, and construction equipment will have different mandates.
The National LEV (NLEV) standard goes hand in hand with the California Emissions Standards (developed by the CARB: California Air Resources Board). NLEV is short for the National Low Emission Vehicle Standard. California came up...