While we wait for a car to be available that does not run on fossil fuels, the options for environmentally conscious drivers may seem to be somewhat thin on the ground. There are undoubtedly not many people out there who, given the opportunity to drive a car with zero negative impact on the environment, would not take it in the right circumstances. However, those circumstances depend a lot upon the driver and they can, quite reasonably, include the reluctance to spend a great deal on a car that is merely “less bad” for the environment as opposed to simply being good. The additional expense that they would then incur when buying a truly environmentally friendly vehicle is not something that everyone can support.
Nonetheless, there are many people who will be considering switching from the entirely fossil fuel-driven car they have now to a hybrid vehicle. The news from Brazil, where a majority of newly-built and sold cars are now able to run as hybrids, is that the development is having a positive effect. Given that the first truly efficient electric cars seem to be some way in the future, and the 100% hydrogen powered Honda Clarity will not be mass marketed until 2018, a hybrid car may well be a worthwhile purchase for anyone looking to buy new. Certainly, in the light of environmental legislation in much of the industrialised world, there are many automotive manufacturerswho see the benefit of developing more hybrid cars. Eventually, this will be what they prioritize.
For the time being, it is being left largely in the hands of trail blazing companies like Honda and Toyota. Although they have the Clarity in an advanced stage of development – even having some models available for lease in California – Honda have not rested on their laurels when it comes to developing the hybrid fueled Insight. At the present time, it is seen as the cheapest hybrid on the market, and thus the most appealing for those who have been put off by excessive prices on some hybrid models. Additionally, it was the top-selling car in all of Japan during April 2009, the first time that that has been achieved by a hybrid car. If we can consider Brazil (one of four emerging economic powers which will be influential in the coming years) and Japan (a technological titan) to be two of the dominoes, then their acceptance of the hybrid seems to hint at prospects for other nations to go green.
The Toyota Prius is another of the more prominent hybrid vehicles available at the present time. Although it has been targeted for criticism by many who view it as a demonstration of the triumph of style over substance the Prius has, nonetheless, become the most popular hybrid car in the United States, and one of Toyota’s top sellers overall. Finding the right hybrid vehicle may at the moment be a test for the green-conscious driver, but the auto companies are listening to the numbers, and hearing that they could well benefit from serving a green market.