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Vehicle manufacturers under pressure to cut carbon emissions
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SA goes for cleaner diesel
Diesel goes one step better

Vehicle manufacturers under pressure to cut carbon emissions - PWC

Professional services firm Price Waterhouse Coopers' South African Automotive division said on Monday that petrol and diesel vehicles would continue to dominate the market, despite manufacturers being under pressure to reduce carbon emissions and improve fuel savings.

"Increased regulations on carbon emissions, rising demand for fossil fuels and more fuel-efficient technologies are the major concerns of CEOs in the automotive industry," commented South African Automotive partner Mike Rudman, in a statement.

He stated that this challenged the manufacturers on how to make vehicles more efficient, while still keeping costs at an acceptable level to make ‘green' vehicles attractive to consumers.

Rudman said that environmentally friendly cars had shown little success, and consumers would only purchase green-technology vehicles if they did not cost more than conventional vehicles.

This meant petrol and diesel vehicles would continue to dominate the market for the next few decades. However, the automotive industry could contribute to CO2 emission reductions through enhanced engine concepts, alternative fuels and beyond engine technology.

Rudman suggested the industry could make significant improvements through concepts such as downsizing, charging and direct injection on petrol and diesel vehicles, while the convergence of diesel and petrol engines was also a viable option.

Further, the efficiency of internal combustion engines could be further improved by moving towards electrification and hybridisation.

In addition, Rudman said biofuels as an alternative fuel had its advantages, but there was little arable land available for the planting of such fuel sources, which could endanger food supplies as well as damage the environment.

On the other hand, gas, either liquefied or compressed, already presented an alternative to traditional fuels.

Rudman adds that looking further into the future at ‘beyond engine technology', the internal combustion engine's dominant position was likely to be replaced by the hydrogen fuel cell, which would take advantage of the existing electric components used in hybrids.

However, complete fuel cell dominance was still decades away and even if introduced to the market by the middle of the next decade, it would still take years for the fuel cell to be fully accepted by consumers.

Meanwhile, Rudman said there were other peripheral options available to the industry in reducing carbon emissions, which included improved transmissions, driver assistance programs, tyre technology and design, aerodynamic drag refinements, alternative materials and energy management within the vehicle.
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