As industry cycles go, the current era for the commercial automobile can be considered an exciting one. The United States has one of the most significant automobile industries in the world, meaning it is also at the forefront of eco-friendly technology that’ll improve your driving experience, as well as protecting the environment and making sure you don’t fall foul of the law. The New York Times notes that modern purchasers are increasingly moving towards eco-friendly options such as electric vehicles – what does this mean for the industry as a whole, and which features should you look out for?
The importance of emissions
Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is a gas which exists naturally on Earth, but is also created by humans as we burn fossil fuels – including the gas you fill up with at the pump. The transport industry is one of the largest culprits in terms of harmful gas emissions, accounting for a huge proportion of the overall emissions which are harming our atmosphere. This is the reason for ever-more restrictive CO2 limits, which are imposed periodically by governments worldwide.
Investing in a van which produces low (or no) emissions is a smart move to make to avoid high costs, tolls and penalties in the future – and many manufacturers now offer models which are entirely electric, offering a reliable, quieter, and smoother ride than many of their counterparts. The key is to consider what’s important to you in a van – will you be making many short trips locally, staying close to city centres with charging points, or often driving long distances on highways? If you generally drive short distances and stick to urban settings, an electric van might be the right choice for you.
Staying fuel efficient
If gas still seems the way to go, that doesn’t mean you can’t stay eco-friendly in other ways. Many models are now incorporating continuously varying transmission systems, which can automatically adjust through an infinite number of gears. This might sound crazy, but in fact, it’s a great way to optimize engine – and therefore fuel – efficiency. Your engine can run at an effective speed more often, improving levels of fuel consumption, lowering emissions, and saving you money all at the same time.
Modern van engines also offer a whole host of other eco-friendly features, including cylinder deactivation and start-stop systems. Cylinder deactivation technology allows your engine to temporarily suspend use of certain cylinders when they are not needed, reducing what might be a workhorse of a V8 to a lamb of a V4 in the moments when you are effortlessly cruising, with a fuel consumption to match. Stop-start systems, on the other hand, turn off the entire engine spontaneously during periods when you’d otherwise simply be idling – and with many anti-idling laws now emerging across the globe, that’s a useful function to have.
Smarter by design
It’s often remarked that looks aren’t everything – but in relation to choosing an eco-friendly van, they’re certainly something worth thinking about. Improved aerodynamics produced by cleverly designed, slipstream friendly vehicle shapes and systems such as grill shutters (a technology that closes off the front grill of your van, allowing air to flow smoothly around it rather than dragging through it) can dramatically improve the performance of your van. Weight is important too – the heavier your van, the more gas it’ll burn to go anywhere, so look for an aluminium body over a steel one.
Every model is unique, and will offer features that’ll work for you, whatever you use your van for. When you think about buying a new van, think about what features will benefit you most, both now and in the future, to ensure you stay moving for your work as technology moves with the times.