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In environmental circles, the term “green” gets tossed around quite abit. We even named our site “topgreencars”.

But what exactly are green cars?  Believe it or not, there’s quite a bit of misconception about what this term means.  And it may surprise you that the definition changes from year-to-year.

For today’s post we’ll make it clear what we consider as green cars. We’ll also take a closer look at the 5 different types of green cars that are available today.

What Is A Green Car?

A green car is simply a vehicles that is “environmentally-friendly“.  As compared to the conventional vehicles that run on internal combustion engines through diesel or gasoline, these have lesser harmful impacts on the environment. The term green car is used for any vehicle that complies with various standards like the California zero-emission vehicle standard or the European emission standards, just to name a few.

5 Types Of Green Cars

The green cars usually use alternative fuels or they could also run in modern technologies that have lesser emission. These technologies include running on fuel cells, batteries, hydrogen, hybrids and many others. Here are the different types:

Electric And Battery-Powered Vehicles

Battery-powered electric vehicles could be considered the most environmentally friendly vehicles today. They are purely powered by electricity. There are many models and they have a built-in battery that could be recharged by simply plugging them in. Then, there are also those that run on hydrogen fuel cells that don’t need to be recharged. Between the two, the plug-ins electric cars are more efficient. However, both of them are better compared to other vehicles when it comes to fuel economy.

Great as they may seem, they also have a downside. For electric cars, they have a limited range and need to be recharged. Charging takes time so a day’s drive can turn into two because you have to stop and charge for a few hours.

Hybrid Cars

When it comes to popularity, hybrid cars top the charts. These cars run partially on electricity and partially on conventional fuel. These cars have an internal combustion engine and an electricity-powered engine. Hybrid vehicles do not require recharging. Through regenerative braking, the batteries get charged.

There are many variations to hybrid vehicles. There are even some that you can plug-in to recharge the battery. These are even more fuel-efficient than hybrids that can’t be plugged in. Hybrid cars, whether they can be plugged-in or not may be more expensive upfront. However, many still consider this option due to the savings on fuel through the life of the vehicle.

Improved Conventional Cars

Conventional combustion engine vehicles may still be considered green cars. These are the ones that use fossil fuel alternatives like biofuel. They can also use renewable fuels that are a mixture of fossil fuel and ethanol. Diesel-powered vehicles can easily transition to biodiesel.

Compressed Air And Solar Powered Engines

Other methods of powering vehicles still exist but they haven’t been perfected yet. There are compressed air vehicles and some researchers are doing tests on hybrid compressed-air and electric vehicles. This is because a large amount of compressed air is needed to run the vehicle. The container for compressed air can get too heavy and converting back used compressed air is not efficient.

Solar power is another alternative that they are looking into. The main problem here is the limited area where solar panels can be placed. This can cause a problem because the car might not fully charge as fast as it should. However, there are cars with solar roofs, and the electricity produced is used to power some components of the vehicle. Nowadays, there are still no purely solar-powered vehicles available in the market.

Pedal Powered Vehicles

There are different companies that are developing vehicles with 2-4 wheels that can be powered manually by pedals. They combine that with an electric motor. Essentially, they are like bicycles with electric motors. However, the classification as to whether they are really cars is still unclear. Nevertheless, such vehicles can still be considered green.