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Advanced Vehicle Technologies

Existing technologies—such as electric cars and trucks—can help drastically cut U.S. oil use.

Advanced vehicles (plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles) can play a key role in implementing the Half the Oil Plan and help cut projected U.S. oil consumption in half within the next 20 years.

If we invest in the growth and development of advanced clean car and truck technologies, we can significantly lower the risks of global warming, air pollution, and oil use—and save consumers billions of dollars at the pump in the process.

 Electric cars (the future is here)

The future is starting now for electric vehicles, with advanced electrified drivetrain technology entering the market. These electric-drive vehicles—battery, fuel cell, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid electric cars—could revolutionize transportation in the years to come, reducing oil use and global warming emissions.

Explore electric car technology with our Model E electric vehicle plans, which utilize existing technology to show the feasibility of a low-carbon vehicle future.

View our infographic on EVs in AmericaLearn more about electric vehicle designs, or view the electric vehicle timeline >

 How clean cars work

Clean cars feature a range of technologies “under the hood”—all of which reduce, or eliminate, the need for gasoline. The UCS Model E series demonstrates the technologies used in the four main types of clean cars available today.

Hybrids, or hybrid-electric vehicles, combine a small combustion engine with an electric motor and battery to reduce fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions.

Plug-in hybrids are modified hybrids that can be charged for short-range travel on battery power alone.  The gas engine kicks in on longer trips, when the battery reaches the end of its range.

Electric cars run entirely on battery power and offer a driving solution without tailpipe emissions. They are recharged from an electrical outlet; current models have a range of 60 to more than 200 miles on a full charge.

Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen gas to power the engine, producing only water as a byproduct. Learn more about how a fuel cell works.

 How clean are electric cars? It depends on where you live.

Electric cars burn no gasoline and have no tailpipe emissions, but producing the electricity used to charge them does generate global warming emissions.

The amount of these emissions, however, varies significantly based on the mix of energy sources used to power your region's electricity grid.

Nearly half of Americans live in regions where charging an electric car on the electricity grid emits less global warming pollution than driving even the best hybrids or conventional cars.

Learn more about regional emissions, or see why the longer you own an EV, the cleaner it becomes >

 Electric truck technology

Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles represent only 4 percent of U.S. vehicles, but account for about 20 percent of the transportation fuel we consume. Advanced vehicle technologies have the potential to dramatically reduce this fuel consumption, slash fuel costs for businesses and operators, and improve air quality and public health. Battery, fuel cell, and hybrid powertrains are already at work in today's commercial vehicles — and are poised to expand in the years ahead.

Learn more about truck electrification >

 Advanced vehicle blueprints

UCS has demonstrated how existing technology can be used to increase the fuel efficiency and safety of our nation’s vehicles. From better truck design to re-imagining the family minivan to building a better SUV, UCS blueprints have provided guidance to policy makers and auto manufacturers as they develop the next generation of America’s vehicles.

Learn more about electric vehicle technology >

 How to get more clean cars on the road

We need smart government policies that provide incentives for automakers and consumers to invest in clean car technology—and help move America toward a cleaner, safer transportation future.

Learn more about vehicle and fuel policy >

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