After a 100-year reign, the gasoline-powered engine is likely approaching its final decades. Every step toward greater fuel efficiency, reduced emissions and fuel alternatives is coming simultaneously from changes in consumer demand, legislative developments and technology breakthroughs.
Hybrid gas-electric cars are growing in popularity at an increasing rate.Â And hot on the heels of hybrids are plug-in hybrids, which offer many of the advantages of fully electric cars, plus the range and convenience of today’s hybrids. The ability of plug-in hybrids to push fuel efficiency over the 100-mpg mark-and greatly reduce tailpipe emissions from the vehicle is being championed by car companies, utility companies, energy security advocates, and environmentalists alike.
Other potential future car technologies include new energy sources and materials, which are being developed in order to make automobiles more sustainable, safer, more energy efficient, or less polluting. Cars are being developed in many different ways.
A variety of alternative fuel vehicles have been proposed or sold, including electric cars, hydrogen cars, and compressed-air cars. New materials such as of fiberglass, carbon fiber, and carbon nanotubes may totally replace all steel in cars (potentially improving lightness and strength). Aluminum, carbon fiber and fiberglass are currently being used more in cars today.