What Is a Zero Emission Vehicle? Definition, Meaning and Concept

A zero emission vehicle or ZEV is a vehicle that emits virtually no pollution when running or when stationary. Some types of zero emission vehicles emit no pollution when running, but may still rely on energy sources that are polluting. For example, if you have a battery-powered car, you may be charging it with power that comes from natural gas or coal, although the ultimate goal is to create ZEVs that don't rely on any energy source that pollutes the environment.

Although this idea seems quite new, there is an old machine that is a good example of a zero emission vehicle, the bicycle. By using human power alone, and while that human may occasionally rely on other things, such as gas power to heat your home, the bike emits nothing when in transit. Horses, by contrast, are not a good example of a zero emission vehicle because horses emit methane gas when in transit and when stabled overnight. Another good example of a zero emission vehicle is an unpowered sailboat or rowboat, which relies on human power or wind power to run.

There are a number of companies that are moving into the market to offer their versions of zero emission vehicle types. These include various versions of electric cars, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and compressed air vehicles. The EV1, for example, marketed in the early 1990s was a General Motors vehicle that initially showed some promise of gaining considerable market share. However, numerous things combined to stop the sale or lease of these cars and most of them were destroyed, much to the annoyance of people who were fans. The question of how the EV1 was phased out is the subject of the movie, Who Killed the Electric Car? , which presents a look, albeit partial,

However, the crisis in the use of fossil fuels and their damage to the environment are causing concern and there is a desire for companies to create an affordable and easy-to-use vehicle with zero emissions, in addition to converting a large part of public transport to ZEV standards. Some companies have been praised for their cars, including Tesla, which introduced an electric sports car in 2006 and is starting to produce more standard vehicles to run on solar power and electricity alone.

Other companies like Honda are producing a limited number of cars that run on hydrogen fuel cells. The main difficulties now with zero emission vehicles is that they are expensive for the average consumer, and it can also be difficult to fuel them or find things like hydrogen to fill them. This makes them difficult to market, although certainly people with higher incomes can afford to buy and feed them as needed.