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In the last decade there has been a significant increase in public awareness regarding the need to conserve energy, recycle waste, and make environmentally friendly lifestyle choices. Many companies have jumped onto the green bandwagon, adopting taglines or advertising campaigns that emphasize proactive involvement in the environmental movement.
Consumers, however, are increasingly savvy about what is truly green and what is just an updated marketing strategy draped over an old business practice. Your customers and sales targets have many options when choosing with whom to do business. Among their criteria might be cost, customer service, and—more so than ever before—corporate responsibility. Using hybrid vehicles for your business needs is one way to signal to current customers and prospects alike that you take their concerns seriously. At the same time, hybrid cars and trucks can reduce your energy expenditures, enabling you to funnel savings into areas with greater visibility to customers.
How do you choose a vehicle with a legitimate environmental benefit and not just a catchy slogan? Here’s what you should expect in a truly green vehicle:
Be wary of alcohol blends. The energy cost of the alcohol exceeds the energy cost of ordinary gasoline; it takes more energy to produce a gallon of gasohol than is required to produce a gallon of gasoline.
Look for hybrid power plants. Typically consisting of an internal combustion engine operating in concert with a battery bank or a fuel cell, these power sources take advantage of energy that is otherwise wasted, such as heat that is dissipated in the braking system of a car.
Regenerative braking, with the use of a relatively new device called an ultracapacitor, can store an immense amount of energy and has a response time much faster than a battery. The use of a battery in a regenerative system would severely limit the amount of energy that could be stored, due to the slow charging rate of the battery. This problem is eliminated by using capacitors because the rate of charge is rapid, allowing a far greater amount of regenerative energy to be stored.
Energy-efficient engineering. A truly green automobile is built using products that are designed with energy conservation in mind and using materials that are themselves environmentally safe and nontoxic.
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