The world famous car manufacturer Renault has recently released an electric car that has a battery range of 185 kilometers and a top speed of 135 km/hr. This is more than the distance and speed most people drive every day.

The fact is, eco-friendly cars have come a long way from the initial days when they were just viewed as novelties. Despite not being able to attract as much investment as conventional cars, these cars are making improvements in speed, power and functionalities.

At the rate the world has been using fossil fuels – the primary sources of energy for automobiles – there is hardly any doubt that cars run by renewable energy will one day completely replace conventional cars. The question is not if but when. That is still for the future to tell, but the way the world is moving, they are definitely the cars of the future.

Manufacturers of eco-friendly cars have been experimenting with different types of renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, wind energy, bio-fuels and hydrogen fuel cells. These are yet to become fully viable as they are still in their developmental stage and have not reached maturity.

Among the rising breed of green cars, the ones that are gaining popularity are electric cars and hybrid cars.

Electric Cars:

Electric cars have electric motors that run on the electricity provided by batteries, which can be charged either at home or at charging stations. The fact that the batteries of the majority of electric cars are still charged by grid electricity, of course, makes them less than emission free. In most areas, electricity is produced using fossil fuels.

But there may come a time in the future when all electric cars will be charged by solar panels or wind turbines attached to them or installed in charging stations.

Fortunately for electric car lovers, work is being done around the world in that direction. For example, an Australian group called Better Place is installing charging points powered by renewable sources of energy around Australia. This is a great stride for emissions free driving. The group aims to build the largest network of charging points of electric cars by the end of 2013.

Hybrid Cars:

While hybrid cars are not as environment friendly as electric cars, they are currently more practical for most people.

A mixture of electric and conventional cars, hybrid cars have an electric motor that powers the car at low speed and a diesel/petrol engine that powers it at high speed. The majority of hybrids also have the facility to charge the batteries when the braking system is applied.

Hybrid cars are, of course, not zero emission cars and very probably they will ultimately give way to fully electric cars. But for the present, they are the best that one can get in terms of speed, power, functionally and a much reduced carbon emission.

Source: www.sustainablesuburbia.net