IntroductionBy some accounts, the world is in trouble and automobiles and the gas they consume are playing a large role. Most notably, there is the environmental threat. Burning fossils fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and adds to the threat of global warming . Cars using gasoline are the primary sources of this problem in the United States, causing 25% of yearly emissions . Additionally, there is the politics of oil. Because of the limited supply of this natural resource, there is much human suffering brought about by wars, dictatorships, and greed.
There aren't many solutions to this problem. In fact, the only true solution is to use less gasoline. This can be accomplished through consumer habits such as driving less and carpooling, using an alternative fuel source, or simply going further with each gallon. The current focus of auto manufacturers is on this last point in the form of hybrid vehicles.
These vehicles consume less gasoline having both a gasoline and an electric engine. The electric engine, often used during city driving, is powered by regenerative breaking. This technology leverages the kinetic energy of the vehicle to take the burden off of the gas-powered motor.
In the first few years of their release, as gas prices rose, hybrid vehicles were selling well . But recently, as gas prices have dropped, so has hybrid sales . They have yet to hit the mainstream and the auto manufactures are now struggling with a few questions. First of all, who is the target customer for this technology? And then, how can they bring these vehicles to market profitably?While it may be in the planet's long-term interest to reduce gasoline consumption, there is currently no short-term reason for the adoption of hybrid vehicles. The two main players in this game are the...