Hydrogen 1In an era where “going green” is the next big thing, a lot of people are thinking about their carbon footprint, including CO2 emissions from their vehicles, but really aren’t doing anything about it. Sure, you can go ahead and buy a hybrid, but more still needs to be done in order to offset what the human race has been doing to Mother Nature for the past three hundred years or so. Now, however, the European auto market has finally taken the initiative and is starting to make everything under the hood much greener.

According to Frost & Sullivan, an analyst and consultant firm for the automotive industry, installing greener, more cost-effective technologies under the hood – as opposed to simply redesigning new cars – is the key to higher consumer acceptance, and emission reduction by the manufacturers and OEM parts that help do the same are vital. Carmakers need to rely on their ability to not only make their vehicles greener, but they also need to balance that against cost management and they need to find a way to make these green cars more affordable for the consumers. Engine downsizing, turbo charging, direct fuel injection, stop-start systems, electric power steering, low-rolling resistance tires and bio-fuels are critical components of in-car green technologies, but they only do so much to lower emissions.

Scientists across the world are currently working on new engine types that drastically reduce emissions while keeping performance output as high as possible and the cost as low as possible. These include advances in hybrid propulsion systems, electric propulsion systems, HCCI, hydrogen propulsion systems and fuel cells, and some are actually beginning to be introduced into the market. Electric power has taken the world by storm, leaving hydrogen fuel cells and other alternative fuels behind as automakers embrace hybrids and full-electric designs, including the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt, as well as Ford’s Fusion and Fiesta hybrids (among other models).

If the Europeans can do this, it makes you wonder: what’s in store for American auto makers? One of the biggest reasons why Europeans are behind their auto makers is the fact that they actually promote the idea that they’re trying to go greener, and don’t just ask for a whole bunch of money to keep doing what they’re doing. What’s great is that American companies are starting to get the message, and today more and more is spent looking at alternative energies while also promoting cleaner gasoline-based vehicles.

Chrysler was recently bought by Fiat. General Motors has hired analysts and advisers from European automakers. Ford, the only company of the Big Three to not accept bailout money from the Federal government, is working on hybridizing their entire fleet. Trucks and sport utility vehicles are now sporting hybrid versions. Emissions standards are going up, and automakers are adapting at a remarkable rate. It seems that in-car green technology is here to stay – and, now that everyone’s starting to embrace it, things are finally starting to look up.

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