10/12/2015 5:26 PM IST | Updated 31/10/2016 8:05 PM IST

Smart Hybrid Cars: Tech to Save the Environment

Tim Graham via Getty Images
AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 26: View from car of road through the Daintree Rainforest, Queensland, Australia. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Are you looking at buying an eco car? No, that's not the name of a model from any company! It's simply a car with reduced carbon emissions, and therefore far more considerate to the environment. You are surely thinking in the right direction if you want your kids to be able to say their family has a green car or an eco car.

So what are your options, and which of these green technologies are the most practicable at this time?

Let's start by asking: How does one make a vehicle greener? This can be done in various ways.

Change the fuel

A new blend

A part of the petrol or diesel is replaced with ethanol, which is less carbon-intensive. In a flexible fuel car, you could drive on a blend of 80% ethanol and 20% of fossil fuel.

When a diesel engine uses biodiesel, the vehicle's emissions drop to the lowest. This is the reason why in special environment conservation zones, only vehicles running on biodiesel can ply because they cause the least damage to the area. Low emission cars such as these can still deliver a good driving experience without loss of power, because of the application of engine management technology to its fuel supply and through electronic engine control.

Another strategy is to convert a conventional engine to run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an alternative fuel.

Soak up the sunshine

Solar powered cars are another trend where silicon cells in the panels release current that is stored in the car's battery that propels the car. But this technology depends on the type of batteries in use, and often conventional batteries are used.

Go green with hybrid tech

Another option to go green are the new gen hybrid cars which are fast catching public imagination. They still run on petrol or diesel but also have a regular internal combustion (IC) engine, which has a stop-start system and regenerative braking.

What this means is that your engine will automatically shut down when it is idle, thereby reducing unnecessary consumption of fuel. This system gets activated when your car is not moving, and you can silently restart your engine when your foot presses the clutch. Some cars also come with a regenerative braking feature that improves your car's mileage and fuel efficiency. With this feature, as a car decelerates, it recovers all the energy and supplements the engine's power, thereby taking the load off your engine.

Hybrids are about coolness

Why is this so important? The stop-start reduces air pollution, which is a serious issue in most cities. While idling in traffic, a car that's burning a fossil fuel is wasting your money and its carbon emission is increasing the local temperature. So to fight this heat island effect, you need to turn off your engine at such times, and this is what the stop-start system does automatically for you.

Hybrids climb easily

Hybrid cars, or mild hybrids, also score on the overall driving experience. With low emission cars, you are always wondering about the driving power - a key part of the feel of a car. So when you are looking at an eco car, ask about its Torque-Assist function. There are times when your car needs more torque – when you overtake, for instance; or when you are ascending a slope that's somewhat steep. When your wheels get an extra torque-boost from a storage battery, you once again save on the fuel.

Hybrids nudge you to save fuel

Another popular feature of the Smart Hybrid Technology is again targeted at saving fuel. This is a gear shift indicator (GSI) that lets the driver know the best moment to shift gears, to engage a higher or lower gear in the interest of getting the best fuel efficiency.

Now you may want to do your bit to conserve the environment by getting a car that's roomy, powerful and smart, but which features hybrid technology for fuel efficiency. You could get some green LUV here .