Driving Tips

National Driving Academy blog covers items related to safe driving relevant to learner drivers and their families.

Encouraging ‘green teens’ with our electric hybrid technology

Caitlin Kerr - Thursday, September 20, 2012


The Gillard Government carbon tax has increased awareness of the environmental issues facing the nation and the global community. Regardless of your individual views on a carbon tax, the fact remains that we need to do what we can to be more environmentally friendly.

What better way to move environmental friendliness into the forefront of today's young minds than by having them experience their first driving lessons in a hybrid vehicle? Teaching students in eco-conscious vehicles gives them a chance to have a hybrid experience they may not otherwise get to encounter.

The National Driving Academy Driving School in Canberra and Queanbeyan uses a hybrid vehicle and the results to date are wonderful. In fact, after talking to students and parents we have discovered that some have decided to purchase a hybrid vehicle after taking driver training with us. Brian McManus, our hybrid car driving instructor, says that “the Insight is a great car to drive and also to learn in. I wouldn’t want to use a non-hybrid driving school car again”.

Low Emission 
Hybrid cars emit far lower levels of pollutants in the air than conventional cars, resulting decreased pollution and reduced effects of global warming. Because no two people drive the same way, it is therefore difficult to estimate, but emissions can be reduced from 25% to 90%, when comparing hybrid cars to conventional petrol-powered vehicles.

Operating costs 
Notwithstanding the higher initial cost of the vehicle, there is a substantial operating cost saving over the life of the car. The hybrid vehicle has not shown any maintenance disadvantages from the constant operating levels of a driving school car which typically will do 5,000 to 7,000km’s per month.

Hybrid Technology

Far from being a new technology, hybrid technology has been in use for years in the making of locomotives, submarines, and buses. In a similar way, hybrid cars rely on a combination of two powers – electricity and fuel injection. The battery for the electric motor automatically recharges whenever the driver slows down or brakes.

The following are some examples of how these two engines (hybrids) work together:

  • Starting or backing up: When the vehicle is going at very low speeds, there is low engine demand and therefore the electric motor turns the car’s wheels.
  • Cruising speeds: At cruising speeds, highway, or city driving, straight away the petrol powers the wheels and recharges the batteries.
  • Full acceleration: At full acceleration, additional electric power is drawn from the electric motor to obtain more power.
  • Decreasing speed or applying brakes: The turning force of the wheels makes the electric motor operate as a generator and additional electricity is stored in the hybrid vehicle battery. This process is known as “regenerative braking”.
  • Stopping: The petrol engine automatically shuts off. However, in hybrid cars, both slower acceleration and deceleration will improve fuel efficiency, in fact hybrid cars, unlike their petrol engine counterparts, actually get better mileage in stop-and-go traffic.

Many people associate hybrid cars with electric cars. However, the two are quite different. With a hybrid, the driver doesn’t even have to plug the battery into anything. The petrol motors switch on automatically when the battery gets low, and proceeds to charge the battery. Therefore, hybrid cars still use petrol while electric cars do not.

Learning in a Hybrid

Learning to drive in eco-friendly vehicles gives a learner the chance to have a hybrid experience that they may not otherwise get. In fact, several students and parents have decided to make a Hybrid vehicle purchase after experiencing driver training with us.

We will demonstrate this technology to learner drivers when they first get in the hybrid vehicle, but the most important thing to remember is there truly is no difference in the way these vehicles are driven versus normal petrol-powered vehicles.

 

The National Driving Academy’s contribution to the environment
By using hybrid driving school vehicles, we are able to realise several key environmental benefits:

  • Cutting our carbon footprint by more than 40%:

Without doubt any driving school fleet is going to drive hundreds of thousands of kilometres annually. Simply using hybrid cars and vehicles can reduce our environmental influence by tens of thousands of kilometres each year!

  • Stop/Start with less fuel: 

Part of any driving school training curriculum involves sizeable portions of the lessons spent parked curb side talking about crucial driving concepts. While a hybrid car idles, the petrol motor shuts off by design. Thus no petrol is being wasted!

Some tips for greener motoring
Your driving habits, the type of vehicle you drive and the conditions under which you drive will affect your vehicle's environmental performance. Follow these tips for greener driving.

Minimise your vehicle use

  • Think about your travel needs prior to your travel. Planned travel decisions will result in fewer trips and more efficient/cheaper travel than unplanned decisions made 'on the go'. Some travel planning tips: 
    • Plan to do a number of errands in one trip rather than several trips and save both time and fuel (for the first couple of minutes of a car trip the engine is cold and this results in an increase in fuel consumption per kilometre).
    • Patronise shops near to you whenever possible to reduce the distances you travel by car. Walk or cycle to your local shops if you can.
    • Avoid peak-hour traffic whenever possible.
    • Use alternative transport, eg. public transport (bus, train, tram or ferry), walking or cycling. These alternative methods of travel are often cheaper, and may provide other benefits including increased fitness.

Drive in high gear

  • The engine runs most efficiently between around 1,500 and 2,500 rpm (lower in diesels). To maintain these low revs you should change up through the gears as soon as practical and before the revs reach 2,500 rpm. Automatic transmissions will shift up more quickly and smoothly if you ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car gathers momentum.

Drive smoothly - avoid unnecessary acceleration

  • Drive at a good distance from the car in front so you can anticipate and travel with the flow of traffic. You will be able to see such things as traffic lights changing or cars turning and minimise your fuel use through braking and accelerating back up to full speed.

Minimise fuel wasted in idling

  • Minimise fuel wasted in idling by stopping the engine whenever your car is stopped or held up for an extended period of time. By having the engine switched off, even for a short period, you will save more fuel than is lost from the burst of fuel involved in restarting the engine. The net increased wear and tear from this practice is negligible.

Speed kills economy

  • High speeds result in high fuel consumption. At 110 km/h your car can use up to 25% more fuel than it would cruising at 90 km/h.

Minimise aerodynamic drag

  • Additional parts on the exterior of a vehicle such as roof racks and spoilers, or having the window open, increases air resistance and fuel consumption, in some cases by over 20%.

Look after your vehicle's tyres

  • Inflate your vehicle's tyres to the highest pressure recommended by the tyre manufacturer and make sure your wheels are properly aligned (remember to keep your spare tire inflated as well). Looking after your tyres will not only reduce your fuel consumption it will also extend tyre life and improve handling.

Travel light

  • Don't carry more people or cargo than you have to. The more a vehicle carries the more fuel it uses.

Service your vehicle regularly

  • Keeping your vehicle well tuned will minimise its environmental impact.

Source: http://www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au/GVGPublicUI/Information.aspx?type=Greener...

 

ACT Government’s Green Vehicles Stamp Duty Scheme
The Green Vehicles Stamp Duty Scheme sets differential stamp duty costs for new light vehicles to provide an incentive for the purchase of low emission vehicles and a disincentive against the purchase of vehicles with poor environmental performance.

Under the Green Vehicles Duty Scheme, all new light vehicles have a Green Vehicle Rating of A, B, C, or D, on which duty rates will be based. A better environmental choice will mean you pay less stamp duty! The ACT Green Vehicle Rating is based on a combination of two environmental ratings from the Commonwealth Green Vehicle Guide, the greenhouse rating, based on a vehicle’s carbon dioxide emissions, and the air pollution rating, a measure of noxious pollutants that reduce our air quality.

Vehicles with an “A” rating will pay nil stamp duty. Vehicles with a “B” rating have an environmental performance significantly above average, and will receive a duty discount. Vehicles with average environmental performance have a "C" rating, and duty rates will be unchanged. “D” vehicles have below average environmental performance, and will pay a higher rate of duty.

Green Vehicle Rating

Portion of Price up to $45,000
(currently $3 per $100 or part thereof)

Portion of price over $45,000
(currently $5 per $100 or part thereof)

A

$0

$0

B

$2 per $100 or part thereof

$4 per $100 or part thereof

C

$3 per $100 or part thereof

$5 per $100 or part thereof

D

$4 per $100 or part thereof

$6 per $100 or part thereof

 Source: http://www.rego.act.gov.au/registration/stamp-duty/green-vehicle-scheme

 



Call us on 1300 922 797 or 02 6259 4053 to schedule a driving lesson.

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