These vehicles can be driven at for a limited distance by the electric motor alone (for example, the Toyota Prius). This allows almost silent progress and zero tailpipe emissions in slow moving traffic. The engine starts as speed increases or when there is a requirement for greater acceleration. The battery is recharged by the engine when the car is not accelerating and also through regenerative braking. The additional weight of the battery and electric motor, in conjunction with the lower inherent efficiency of a petrol engine, mean that a similar sized diesel car may be more fuel efficient on motorway journeys.
Fuel Cell CUV has been selected for the second consecutive year by the European Commission-backed Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) to demonstrate the real-world benefits of hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Alternative fuels that can help to reduce vehicle emissions are available now, with more on the horizon. But their contribution to reducing carbon dioxide can vary widely - we explain the issues.
•Biodiesel can be used at a 5% blend in existing diesel engines with no need for modification, but using higher blends could affect your vehicle warranty.
•Bioethanol is produced by the fermentation of starch, sugar and cellulose plants; a 5% blend in petrol can be used in existing petrol vehicles with no modifications.
•Biogas is produced when organic materials are broken down by a microbiological activity to produce methane.
•Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is suitable for smaller vehicles such as cars and light vans that have high mileage or operate predominantly in city centres.
•Hydrogen is currently only used in prototype vehicles. It may be used as a fuel in a modified petrol engine or indirectly to power a fuel cell in an electric vehicle.
•Natural gas is an option for goods vehicles with depot-based refuelling sites.
•Pure plant oils (PPO) are similar to diesel but a heater must first be added to the fuel line.; they are not widely available in the UK.
For more information on all of these fuels, download our Guide to alternative fuels (pdf) or watch our recent webinar Fuel for thought:using alternative fuels in your fleet. Looking for hydrogen cars look here.