The General Motors Impact is an electric car. It is one of dozens of cars being developed that produce no polluting emissions.
Most modern cars run by burning gasoline in an internal combustion engine. Recently there has been an increasing concern with the amount of pollution produced by engines of this type. Mechanical engineers have been responsible for making these engines more efficient in recent years, and in reducing emissions, but there is an increasing public desire to eliminate polluting emissions entirely. This is most clearly demonstrated by California's law requiring a certain percentage of the cars sold in California to be "zero-emissions cars" by the year 2000.
The General Motors Impact, shown above, is an electric car. Mechanical engineers at large automotive companies such as GM and Ford are working on improving electric cars. There are also other models for emission free cars. Some companies are trying to develop cars that run on butane or propane. These cars will produce no more pollution than a gas stove and will also run virtually silently. In all of these projects mechanical engineers play a vital role as they design new engines and lighter bodies for these cars of the future.