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Sustainability in Automobile Industry

Sustainability in Automobile Industry



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Published by Aditya Avasare

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Published by: Aditya Avasare on Mar 05, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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It all started thousands of years ago. Man, animals and the flora combined to make our earththe most beautiful planet in the universe. All three blended well with man and animals makingtheir habitat in the forests and mountains. Natural resources were shared by all. But with someof the animals being at the top of the food chain, others felt threatened by their presence.Physically being weaker than the animals, man had to plan for his survival and that started ‘thedevelopment’.As we moved on, we realized how much deforestation had taken place. The forests had beencleaned up to create cities, villages and agricultural land. The result-loss of habitat for wildanimals, killings of animals, natural resources being exploited like anything, all round pollution-in water and air. This is what we have got from our development.The question is what we are going to leave for our future generations - the barren lands,vehicles but no petrol, factories with no power to run them, mountains of concrete and junglesof sky touching building? Can it be recognized as development? Is this the development thatcan be sustained? We all are aware of the negative answer.Wood from forests has been used up to meet the energy requirements or for building houses.The overall result is increase in pollution levels, global warming, depletion of natural resourcesand ecological imbalances. The sea levels are rising and that is causing a major threat to humansurvival in the coastal areas. Depletion of ozone layer has added to the woes and can result inmany problems.The increased pollution levels are already serious matters of concern. During peak traffic hours,one might see some people wearing pollution masks. This is in contrast to what we felt atmountains. We are responsible for such high levels of pollution in air and in water.Growing pollution has also been a cause of Global Warming. The result- Mountains arebecoming snow less; even at North Pole the polar cap has melted. This melted snow is causingrise in sea levels, floods in rivers and catastrophes like Tsunami. Isn't our lopsided developmentresponsible for this? When we disturb the ecological balance by killing animals and cuttingdown trees, we are destabilizing the food chain cycle and doing a great disservice to humanity.In order to bring things back on track, we need to rely more on renewable energy sources likewind power and solar power. These energies are unlimited and don't create any pollution.Recycling can relieve at least some pressure from our limited resources. Vehicle using non-
conventional energy can reduce the pollution and so can the factories do by following pollutionnorms. Together, we can script the tomorrow of our planet. For that, we need to aim atdevelopment - sustainable development.
Sustainable Development is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs whilepreserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but in theindefinite future. The most often-quoted definition of sustainable development is developmentthat "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations tomeet their own needs."Sustainable development ties together concern for the carrying capacity of natural systemswith the social challenges facing humanity. As early as the 1970s, "sustainability" was employedto describe an economy "in equilibrium with basic ecological support systems". Ecologists havepointed to the “limits of growth” and presented the alternative of a “steady state economy” inorder to address environmental concerns.The field of sustainable development can be conceptually broken into three constituent parts:environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and sociopolitical sustainability.
Automobile Industry
With the question of sustainable development established as a central concern in developedsocieties and for all major international institutions, the automobile industry is facing a neweconomic, technological and political environment. The potential scarcities of future energyresources and escalating fears about climate change have become powerful forces for changein the industry.The world vehicle industry is actively addressing sustainable development in its three mainconcepts:1.
Environmental protection2.
Economic growth and3.
Social equity.
Environmental Protection
Automobile manufacturers have clearly committed themselves to supply the market with eversafer and more environment friendly products and are continuously investing huge R&Dresources in further product improvements and in developing radically new propulsion systems.The results clearly show that most road traffic related environmental concerns are in theprocess of being solved with all studies indicating air quality improvements on their way.For example:
The electric car
 An electric car is a type of alternative fuel car that utilizes electric motors and motor controllersinstead of an internal combustion engine. The electric power is usually derived from batterypacks in the vehicles. In general terms, an electric car is a re-chargeable battery poweredvehicle. The electric car was among the oldest automobile systems upon which the dieselengine and petrol engines were developed. Somewhere down the line, electric cars lost theirappeal to faster, meaner, stronger and bigger fuel powered cars. However, today’s scenario of high oil prices and better environmental protection has brought electric cars back in vogue.E.g.: REVA
Hybrid cars
 Vehicles using both electric motors and other types of engine are known as
(HEV) and are not considered pure electric vehicles (EV) because they operate in acharge-sustaining mode. Hybrid vehicles with batteries that can be charged externally todisplace are called plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). Honda has come up with hybridversions of their CIVIC and ACCORD models.
The impact:a)
Fuel Consumption
Hybrid vehicles are the best bet to get the most out of each tank of fuel during city driving.Current HEVs reduce petroleum consumption under certain circumstances, compared tootherwise similar conventional vehicles, primarily by using three mechanisms:1.
Reducing wasted energy during idle/low output, generally by turning the internalcombustion engine (ICE) off.2.
Recapturing waste energy.3.
Reducing the size and power of the ICE, and hence inefficiencies from under-utilization,by using the added power from the electric motor to compensate for the loss in peakpower output from the smaller ICE.Any combination of these three primary hybrid advantages may be used in different vehicles torealize different fuel usage, power, emissions, and weight and cost profiles. The combustionengine in a hybrid vehicle can be smaller, lighter, and more efficient than the one in a

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