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The future of the car: Environmental aspects

The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), part of the Community's Joint Research Centre, has published a series of "prospective notes" on various areas of technological research. The first note in the series is entitled "The Future of the Car: Environmental ...

The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), part of the Community's Joint Research Centre, has published a series of "prospective notes" on various areas of technological research. The first note in the series is entitled "The Future of the Car: Environmental Aspects". This looks at the environmental impact of cars, current trends and mid-term challenges. Areas identified for further development include: - Recycling for recovery of materials (and embedded energy for material production); - Reduction of mass (75% of fuel consumption depends directly on the mass of the car); - Improvement of aerodynamics (25% of fuel consumption depends directly on aerodynamics); - Reduction of rolling resistance (ca. 50% of mass dependent consumption); - Efficiency of engines including recovery of cinematic energy during deceleration. Current trends in these areas are noted and mid-term challenges identified. The most significant change foreseen within the car industries, in the medium-term, is the introduction of small-sized "city cars" and electrically-powered cars. This is predicted to lead to a change in the structure of car use, with the market splitting into two segments: small everyday-use cars; and prestigious status cars. These developments will be influenced by the development of the information super highway and the change from product-oriented thinking to service-oriented thinking. Regulation will also play an important role and could include: - The reservation of city centres to combustion-free cars; - Setting goals for market share of electric cars; - Special licences for city cars.

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