“There is no more honorable mission than to create innovative products that enhance the quality of life. The automobile, of course, is among the greatest of these products in the history of our planet. An automobile is mobility. Mobility is freedom. And freedom, in this country and others, is the breath of life. Yet this breath becomes increasingly difficult in metropolitan areas where mobility, in the form of huge numbers of automobiles, fouls the air. Tailpipe emissions are universally viewed as the single largest contributor to the poor air quality in our cities.”
– Ron Cogan
I spoke these words in a keynote address over 20 years ago. They still resonate today, with an expanded and growing concern beyond an automobile’s smog-forming criteria pollutants that have been a focus for years. Now , there is increasing attention devoted to transportation’s CO2, (carbon) emissions because of their alarming and far-ranging contributions to climate change.
Personal mobility is an important part of most people’s lives. Light-duty motor vehicles of all types – primarily cars, SUVs and pickups – serve our everyday needs, whether those needs are commuting to work, taking kids to school, or simply running the countless everyday errands integral to our daily lives. We don’t believe that legislating these vehicles off our highways is the answer. What we do feel is important is advocating for new generations of vehicles that achieve quantifiable goals crucial to resolving transportation’s negative environmental impacts.
For some, this means electric vehicles fueled by renewable energy. Others may take a longer view by supporting a transition to a hydrogen economy that not only enables a transition to zero-emission mobility, but also sustainable power for homes, businesses, and manufacturing. Then there are those who advocate for other low- or no-carbon alternatives like renewable e-fuels that could be used seamlessly in conventionally powered vehicles of all types.
The evolving nature of technology and mobility presents new answers and also new challenges. At Green Car Institute, we don’t presume to know the answer to which specific approach is the most viable for our future. What we do know is that tremendous activity, research, and development is taking place in multiple areas, from the electrification of light-duty and commercial vehicles to the development of fuels created using carbon captured from the air. Science continues to discover promising answers offering unexpected new directions that may come to fruition, or not. This field is fluid and continues to evolve.
Our researches will continue taking deep dives into all these possibilities, exploring industry plans, consumer attitudes, and important trends. Our findings will be disseminated through reports, studies, and analysis to share the realities and the potential of what lies ahead.
Ron Cogan, president of the Green Car Institute, has been involved in the auto industry for over three decades. His extensive knowledge of this field and keen grasp of environmental, political, and technology issues has been of value to the Green Car mission over these years. That mission includes conducting in-depth research and educating consumers, the media, and government at all levels on the benefits of advanced and environmentally conscious vehicles. In addition to his role as editor and publisher of Green Car Journal, Cogan served on the staff of Motor Trend as the magazine’s specialist on advanced technology vehicles. He has first-hand experience test driving electric, hydrogen, and alternative fuel vehicles on highways and test tracks all over the world.
Cogan has been instrumental in producing the Green Car Summit on Capitol Hill; the Green Car Pavilion in Washington DC; Automobiles and the Environment conferences in Los Angeles; and Environmental Technology Expositions in conjunction with Society of Environmental Journalists national conferences in the U.S. He has presented keynote speeches, spoken at dozens of press conferences, and overseen an acclaimed environmental automotive award program with input from the nation’s major environmental and energy efficiency organizations. Cogan is a member of the Automotive Press Association, Society of Environmental Journalists, and the Sierra Club.
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