Zero-emissions vehicle

Zero-emissions vehicle

A zero-emissions vehicle, or ZEV is a vehicle itself that produces no emissions or pollution from the vehicle when stationary or operating. [ [ What is a true zero-emissions vehicle] ] Emissions of concern include particulates (soot), hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and various oxides of nitrogen. Although not considered an emission by the CARB definition, carbon dioxide is one of the most important greenhouse gas implicated in global warming scenarios.

Meaning of the term

Zero-emissions Vehicle (ZEV)

According to California's Air Resources Board (CARB), a "Zero-emissions vehicle" is a vehicle that has: [ [ CARB ZEV definition] ]

* No tailpipe emissions
* No evaporative emissions
* No onboard emission-control systems that can deteriorate over time
* No emissions from gasoline refining or sales

At the moment, a number of vehicles fulfill in these requirements. Notable are battery-powered electric vehicles, vehicles operating on fuel cells, compressed air vehicles and a number of vehicles operating on other energy sources (see below).

Zero-emissions Power Cycle

"Zero emissions" does not mean that the complete power cycle is non-polluting, except in special cases, since in most cases the energy is provided, at least partially, from fossil fuel plants. This may still be an advantage for urban areas when compared to conventional vehicles (see NIMBY). Special cases producing zero pollution in the "operating energy cycle" would always include Human-powered vehicles, and sometimes compressed air vehicles, electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, .. can also be completely zero-polluting in their operating energy cycle. In all cases however, it would be nice if the electricity required to generate the power to recharge or refuel the batteries/compressed air tanks came from zero emission sources. Sources where the offsetting amount of zero emissions power is provided can include solar electric or wind generated power from PV solar cells and windturbines, or indeed conventional automobiles with a carbon offset program. Also, "Zero emissions" does not include emissions associated with manufacturing such vehicles or components, nor outgassing from synthetic materials used in vehicle construction, nor soot-like dust from tire wear, nor potential pollution associated with end-of-life vehicle or vehicle component dismantling, recycling and reuse. As such it might strike some as a misleading term.

Types of zero-emission vehicles

Ordinary bicycles, recumbent bicycles, and other derivatives as velomobiles, cabin cycles and freight bicycles are probably the most well known zero-emissions transport surface vehicles.

Besides these human-powered vehicles, animal powered vehicles and battery electric vehicles (which besides cars also feature aircraft, electric boats, ...) also do not emit any of the above pollutants, nor any CO2 gases during use. Of course, this is a particularly important quality in densely populated areas, where the health of residents can be severely affected. However, the production of the fuels that power ZEVs, such as the production of electricity or hydrogen from a coal-fired power plant, may produce more or less emissions per mile than the emissions produced from a conventional gasoline powered vehicle, depending on the energy source. A well-to-wheel life cycle assessment is necessary to understand the emissions implications associated with operating a ZEV.

Other zero emission vehicle technologies include plug-in hybrids when in electric mode, hydrogen vehicles utilizing fuel cells, compressed air vehicles typically recharged by slow (home) or fast (road station) electric compressors, flywheel energy storage vehicles, solar powered cars, and tribrids.

Finally, especially for boats (although ground vessels operating on wind exist) and other watercraft, regular and special sails (as rotorsails, wing sails, turbo sails, skysails exist that can propel it emissionless. Also, for larger ships (as tankers, container vessels, ...), nuclear power is also used (though not commonly).

Current vehicles in common public transport

Electric trains, subways, sail-powered boats, trolleybuses, trams, electric buses, and cycle rickshaws.

Current vehicles in common private transport

Electric cars, electric boats, sail-powered boats, bicycles, recumbent bicycles, velomobiles, cabin cycles, freight bicycles


ubsidies for public transport

Japanese public transport is being driven in the direction of zero emissions due to growing environmental concern. Honda has launched a conceptual bus which features exercise machines to the rear of the vehicle to generate kinetic energy used for propulsion.

Due to the stop-start nature of idling in public transport, regenerative braking may be a possibility for public transport systems of the future. After all, public transport costs councils money, so money well spent on saving fuel is money saved.

CARB ZEV program

The CARB ZEV program is a program worked out by the Californian government to promote the use of zero emission vehicles. [ [ CARB ZEV program as a program to promote zero emissions vehicles] ] This, in order to decrease its gigantic pollution record present in the state (and especially in cities as Los Angeles). Despite however the financial support California is giving for buying true zero emission vehicles as battery electric vehicle, the program has been criticised not to be perfect. This, although financial support is available for buying new zero-emission cars, conversions of polluting cars (eg running on a ICE-engine) to a zero-emission engine (or other forms of green tuning; as pluginization of electric vehicles) is not financially sponsored.

ee also

*Zero emission
*Future of the car
*Partial zero-emissions vehicle
*Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle
*ZENN (Zero Emission, No Noise)
*Tier (emission standard)
*Plug-in hybrid
*Ultra Low Emission Vehicle
*"Who Killed the Electric Car?", a documentary
*Tesla Motors


External links

* [ Official California site on ZEVs and PZEVs]
* [ New Scientific American article]
* [ 2003 Zero Emission Vehicle Program Changes] , a CARB factsheet

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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