Cars account for a huge number of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It is estimated that more than 70% of air pollution and greenhouse gases are generated due to fuel consumption and emissions which are responsible for global warming. The motor vehicles collectively cause carbon monoxide pollution. The on-road vehicles cause about one-third of the air pollution that produces smog in the congested cities. It is estimated that there are more than 137 crore cars worldwide, and this figure is expected to grow to 200 crores by 2040. Hence, the cars of the future could form part of a powerful system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help manage climate change. It could be by way of a fuel-saving engine or a distributed battery for renewable energy or by using nano material for making catalytic converter of fuel exhaust.
There are a plethora of interesting ideas about the methods of tackling polluting emissions from vehicles; from cars that can fly to hydrogen driven cells that emit only water as a byproduct. But these are distant prospects as workable solutions for the climate crisis. Three major changes which could make cars more efficient and help curb pollution and are expected to be on the roads by 2030 are as follows:
a) Electric Vehicles (EV): All vehicles produce substantial emissions, and calculating them is complex. However, electric vehicles give out a lot less emissions that the regular cars as usually emissions are less for electricity generation than because of gasoline or diesel. Cars powered by electricity offer an alternative to polluting fossil fuels. Presently, fully electric vehicles only make up 2% of the global market. In India, fossil driven cars are expected to be off road by 2030.
b) Catalytic Converter: Catalytic converters reduce the pollution from vehicle exhaust by converting toxic pollutants to non-toxic ones. Sulphur oxides and Nitrogen oxides (NOX) are the chief villains that adversely affect plants, damage immune system and create reactive oxygen species (ROS) inside affected organisms. A team of scientists have come up with a nano material that can be utilized for making decidedly more effective catalytic converters for cars that could lessen car exhaust pollution. The material is expected to improve the efficiency of catalytic converter by three to four times.
c) Automation: By 2030, the standard car will evolve from simply supporting the driver to taking complete command over every aspect of driving, under any kind of condition. Rural drivers will probably still own their cars, but cities may move away from car ownership to the use of on-demand autonomous vehicles, which should reduce the number of cars on the roads.