How efficient are modern cars actually becoming?

How technology is changing the way we drive. 

Technology is constantly evolving and this is especially the case in modern cars hitting the market. ‘Smart cars’ and ‘Environmentally friendly vehicles’ seem to be buzz words at the moment, and here we will take a closer look at what this means.

Firstly, why do we need to be more efficient with modern cars?

There are now 830 million cars on the road across the globe. Pollution is becoming a real problem, so governments need to impose stricter pollution emission standards on any new cars that hit the market. People are also becoming more aware of their carbon footprint. The effects of pollution can be seen by all – it is no longer just an ‘airy fairy’ term. With the general public becoming more concerned with fuel efficiency and the environment, there is a definite demand for a change in the way cars are made and driven.

Rethinking engines

Companies are rethinking their old engine models and are trying to make them into more efficient vehicles. They can, for instance, drop from four to three cylinders and include variable valve timing, or a split cooling system, as ways to help the car become more economic.

Electric cars

Electric cars are also on the up, including ones that run purely on battery and hybrid varieties. However, there were only 3,500 registrations of electric cars in 2013. It is thought this is down to people thinking the infrastructure for charging is not yet fully evolved. Actually, 6,500 charge points are available across the UK.

Are there fewer people owning cars?

Many experts believe fewer people are investing in their own vehicles. Apps like like Uber, GetTaxi and Kabbee mean you can order a taxi really quickly and conveniently. Also, there are more options for public transport – trains, buses and bikes. According to British Cycling, more than one millions people are regular cyclists in the UK. This means there are fewer people needing to buy cars. What with the costs associated with driving a car (insurance, road tax, MOTs, etc) many people who are tightening their belts are ditching their old car for an alternative means of transportation.

The future?

Is the autonomous car the future? This type of car is incapable of breaking the speed limit. It is also considered to be safer due to car-to-car wireless communication. Not only this, but these future cars can also be programmed for optimum fuel efficiency. These cars may receive a lot of popularity, too. They can be given ‘human like’ qualities – e.g. a name, a voice, an intelligent system- and you won’t even need to drive the car, it does it for you. Of course, there are lots of ethical issues with a driverless car which will be surely debated. According to slate.com, the main question arises, when a human and an autonomous agent work together, who is to blame when things go wrong?

So, what is the future of the car? It definitely seems that technology is advanced enough to cope with a major change, and perhaps one would be welcomed by the majority.