Toward Zero Emission, Sustainable & Healthy Roads

Jack Dreyer | Friday 19th August 2022 9:50am

Sleek, neon green design showing an electric car charging. The banner text reads 'Towards Zero Emission Roads'

Moving from vehicles powered by fossil fuels to zero emission motors is a key priority in order to provide better protection for the environment. In September 2018, over 178,000 plug-in electric cars were registered in the UK.

The UK Government is pursuing a “Road to Zero” emissions strategy to try to reduce vehicle emissions. Part of this strategy is that the UK government is aiming for half of all new car sales to be hybrid or fully electric by 2030.

As part of the drive for hybrid and electric cars, the government has committed to ensure that charging points for these vehicles are available across the country. At the moment, there are around 42,000 EV charging points in the UK – up from just 18,000 in 2018.

With climate disasters becoming increasingly common, the conversation around electric vehicles isn’t going away anytime soon. Tesla is often the brand most commonly associated with electric vehicles. However, they are not the only ones. Most major car manufacturers now offer electric or hybrid car models.

The future of motoring

Cars on a manufacturing line are being assembled by robotic arms.

Car manufacturers aren’t the only ones aiming to implement electric technologies. Uber are looking to create a fleet of at least 20,000 electric cars by 2021. By 2025, their goal is for all of their vehicles to be electric.

Premium tyre manufacturers, such as Continental, are also investing in hybrid and electric cars. Through the development of technology such as axle drives and power electronics, Continental’s technology is focused on both hybrid and fully electric vehicles. Without this technology, electric vehicles would not be possible. Ford has pledged to invest $11 billion and is aiming to have 40% of its output be All Electric by 2030. This is partly due to pressure from regulations that have been put in place to slash carbon emissions from fossil fuels. The other motivating factor is Tesla’s investment into producing large numbers of electric vehicles with output levels breaking their own records consistently.

Oil companies, such as Shell, are also looking to innovate in the electric and hybrid car market. They have installed their first ultra-fast charging point at a service station near Paris. Although no electric cars currently on the market can fully benefit from this technology, it is capable adding 150km of range to a car’s battery in five minutes once electric cars are manufactured to be able to optimise it.

Tyres for electric vehicles

Close up of tyre tread on a newly-made tyre.

As electric vehicles have different characteristics to traditional vehicles powered by fossil fuels, their requirements from their tyres are different. Premium tyre manufacturers, such as Continental, are designing tyres specifically for electric and hybrid vehicles - using different rubber compounds can ensure that tyres are better optimised to achieve peak performance.

Making roads safer

Department of Transport figures for 2017 show that there were 170,993 casualties and 1,793 fatalities on Britain’s roads. This figure demonstrates the need for new automotive technology to be created to make driving safer. Initiatives such as Continental’s Vision Zero safety initiative have been created to reduce accidents as much as possible. With the newest technological advances, the risk of human error can be significantly reduced leading to safer roads for all drivers.

Future innovations

3D mockup of car showing core design features in an x-ray style.

Although significant advances have been made in the move towards lower emission vehicles, there are still significant steps needed to meet government objectives. A key concern for many motorists is the accessibility of charging points – despite the increase in total number, these tend to be clustered in large towns rather than even spread across routes.

Many of these cars can drive between 100 and 150 miles before needing to be recharged. Some top-of-the-range Tesla models can last for approximately 334 miles. With government plans to improve the infrastructure for electric cars by installing more charging points in public locations, drivers will have fewer worries about being stuck without a charging point.

The initial cost of electric and hybrid vehicles is still higher than regular cars. Even with financial benefits, such as entering congestion zones without paying charges, these vehicles can seem like an expensive option. However, with the investment behind the latest technologies from both the government and key players in the industry, the future could see reductions in the costs of electric cars.

There is still significant progress to be made in the development of the infrastructure required to support electric cars. However, the focus on improving driver safety and helping the environment is one set to remain firmly on the agenda of governments and manufacturers alike.

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Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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