|Car of the Future
Potential Future Car Technologies
Potential future car technologies include new energy sources and materials, which are being developed in order to make automobiles more sustainable, safer, more energy efficient, or less polluting.
Cars are being developed in many different ways. With rising gas prices, the future of cars is leaning towards fuel efficiency, energy-savers, hybrid vehicles, battery electric vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles.
Potential future car technologies include new energy
sources and materials, which are being developed in order to make
automobiles more sustainable, safer, more energy efficient, or less
Cars are being developed in many different ways.
With rising gas prices, the future of cars is leaning towards fuel
efficiency, energy-savers, hybrid vehicles, battery electric vehicles
and fuel-cell vehicles.
One major problem in developing cleaner, energy efficient
automobiles is the source of power to drive the engine.
A variety of
alternative fuel vehicles have been proposed or sold, including electric
cars, compressed-air cars, hydrogen cars and liquid nitrogen cars.
In one experiment done to improve the future of cars, a new kind of
battery was installed which can be easily removed, and recharged in two
First, by a generator integrated with the IC and second
by removing the cassettes so that they can be recharged off-board in the
Conventional automobiles operate at about 15% efficiency. The rest of
the energy is lost to engine and drive-train inefficiencies and idling. Therefore, the potential to improve fuel efficiency with advanced technologies is tremendously enormous.
Various technologies have been developed and utilized to increase the
energy efficiency of conventional cars or supplement them, resulting in
energy savings. Regenerative braking technology saves and stores energy for future use or as back up power. When
conventional brakes are used, 100% of the kinetic energy lost is
converted to thermal energy, and dissipated in the form of heat. Regenerative braking recovers some of this energy to recharge the batteries in a hybrid vehicle.
BMW's Turbosteamer concept uses energy from the exhaust gases of the
traditional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) to power a steam engine
which also contributes power to the automobile. This can increase energy
efficiency by up to 15%.
Compressed air Hybrid is an engine made by researchers at Brunel
University in Britain, which forces highly compressed air into the
engine, which they claim reduces fuel consumption by 30%. Utilization of waste heat from D.W. as useful mechanical energy through
exhaust powered steam, stirling engines, thermal diodes, etc.
Using computational fluid dynamics in the design stage can produce
vehicles which take significantly less energy to push through the air, a
major consideration at highway speeds. The Volkswagen 1-litre car and
Aptera 2 Series are examples of ultra-low-drag vehicles.
The Race For The Future Car
Today, almost 90% of vehicular fuel needs are met by oil. Petroleum also makes up 40% of total energy consumption in the United States, but is responsible for only 1% of electricity generation.
Petroleum's worth as a portable, dense energy source powering the vast majority of vehicles and as the base of many industrial chemicals makes it one of the world's most important commodities.
Viability of the oil commodity is controlled by several key parameters, number of vehicles in the world competing for fuel, quantity of oil exported to the world market (Export Land Model), Net Energy Gain (energy consumed to provide economically useful energy), political stability of oil exporting nations and ability to defend oil supply lines.
The top three oil producing countries are Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States. About 80% of the world's readily accessible reserves are located in the Middle East, with 62.5% coming from the Arab 5: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iraq, Qatar and Kuwait.
A large portion of the world's total oil exists as unconventional sources, such as bitumen in Canada and Venezuela and oil shale.
While significant volumes of oil are extracted from oil sands, particularly in Canada, logistical and technical hurdles remain, as oil extraction requires large amounts of heat and water, making its net energy content quite low relative to conventional crude oil.
Thus, Canada's oil sands are not expected to provide more than a few million barrels per day in the foreseeable future. Net Energy Gain from oil sands and shale are less than 5.
Conventional crude oil production, those having Net Energy Gain above 10 stopped growing in 2005 at about 74 million barrels per day. The International Energy Agency's (IEA) 2010 World Energy Outlook estimated that conventional crude oil production has peaked and is depleting at 6.8% per year.
US military's Joint Forces Command's Joint Operating Environment 2010 issued this warning to all US military commands "By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day."
Who Killed the Electric Car?
'Who Killed the Electric Car?' is a 2006 documentary film that explores the creation, limited commercialization, and subsequent destruction of the battery electric vehicle in the United States, specifically the General Motors EV1 of the mid 1990s.
The film explores the roles of automobile manufacturers, the oil industry, the US government, the Californian government, batteries, hydrogen vehicles, and consumers in limiting the development and adoption of this technology.
After a premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, it was released theatrically by Sony Pictures Classics in June, 2006 and then on DVD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on November 14, 2006.
During an interview with CBS News, director Chris Paine announced that he had started a new documentary about electric cars with a working title of 'Who Saved the Electric Car?', later renamed 'Revenge of the Electric Car', which had its world premiere at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival on Earth Day, April 22, 2011.
The film deals with the history of the electric car, its modern development, and commercialization.
The film focuses primarily on the General Motors EV1, which was made available for lease mainly in Southern California, after the California Air Resources Board passed the Zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate in 1990 which required the seven major automobile suppliers in the United States to offer electric vehicles in order to continue sales of their gasoline powered vehicles in California.
Nearly 5000 electric cars were designed and manufactured by GM, Toyota, Honda, Ford, Nissan, and Chrysler; and then later destroyed or donated to museums and educational institutions. Also discussed are the implications of the events depicted for air pollution, oil dependency, Middle East politics, and global warming.
The film details the California Air Resources Board's reversal of the mandate after relentless pressure and suits from automobile manufacturers, continual pressure from the oil industry, orchestrated hype over a future hydrogen car, and finally the George W. Bush administration.
Revenge of the Electric Car
Revenge follows four entrepreneurs from 2007-2011 as they fight to bring the electric car back to the world market in the midst of a global recession.
A portion of the film details GM's efforts to demonstrate to California that there was no consumer demand for their product, and then to take back every EV1 and destroy them.
A few were disabled and given to museums and universities, but almost all were found to have been crushed.
GM never responded to the EV drivers' offer to pay the residual lease value ($1.9 million was offered for the remaining 78 cars in Burbank before they were crushed).
Several activists, including actresses Alexandra Paul and Colette Divine, are arrested in the protest that attempted to block the GM car carriers taking the remaining EV1s off to be crushed.
The film explores some of the motives that may have pushed the auto and oil industries to kill off the electric car. Wally Rippel offers, for example, that the oil companies were afraid of losing their monopoly on transportation fuel over the coming decades; while the auto companies feared short term costs for EV development and long term revenue loss because EVs require little maintenance and no tuneups.
Others explained the killing differently.
GM spokesman Dave Barthmuss argued it was lack of consumer interest due to the maximum range of 80–100 miles per charge, and the relatively high price. The film also showed the failed attempts by electric car enthusiasts trying to combat auto industry moves, and save the surviving vehicles.
Towards the end of the film, a deactivated EV1 car #99 is found in the garage of Petersen Automotive Museum, with former EV sales representative, Chelsea Sexton, invited for a visit.
The film also explores the future of automobile technologies including a deeply critical look at hydrogen vehicles, an upbeat discussion of plug-in hybrids, and examples of other developing EV technologies such as the Tesla Roadster (released on the market two years after the film).
Stanley Meyer's Water Fuel Cell
The water fuel cell is a purported free energy device invented by American Stanley Allen Meyer. He claimed that an automobile retrofitted with the device could use water as fuel instead of gasoline.
The fuel cell purportedly split water into its component elements, hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen was then burned to generate energy, a process that reconstituted the water molecules.
According to Meyer, the device required less energy to perform electrolysis than the minimum energy requirement predicted or measured by conventional science.
If the device worked as specified, it would violate both the first and second laws of thermodynamics, allowing operation as a perpetual motion machine.
Meyer's claims about his "Water Fuel Cell" and the car that it powered were found to be fraudulent by an Ohio court in 1996.
Stanley Meyer died suddenly on March 21, 1998 after dining at a restaurant. An autopsy report by the Franklin County, Ohio coroner concluded that Meyer had died of a cerebral aneurysm, but conspiracy theorists insist that he was poisoned to suppress the technology, and that oil companies and the United States government were involved in his death.
Meyer's patents are still available online, although there has been no independent verification of his claims.
The H2O Car
A water-fuelled car is a hypothetical automobile that derives its energy directly from water.
Water-fuelled cars have been the subject of numerous international patents, newspaper and popular science magazine articles, local television news coverage, and the Internet.
The claims for these devices have been found to be incorrect and some were found to be tied to investment frauds.
These vehicles may be claimed to produce fuel from water on board with no other energy input, or may be a hybrid of sorts claiming to get energy from both water and a conventional source (such as gasoline).
This article focuses on vehicles that claim to extract chemical potential energy directly from water.
Water is fully oxidized hydrogen. Hydrogen itself is a high-energy, flammable substance, but its useful energy is released when water is formed—water will not burn.
The process of electrolysis, discussed below, would split water into hydrogen and oxygen, but it takes as much energy to take apart a water molecule as was released when the hydrogen was oxidized to form water.
In fact, some energy would be lost in converting water to hydrogen and then burning the hydrogen because some heat would always be produced in the conversions. Releasing chemical energy from water would therefore violate the first and/or second laws of thermodynamics.
In addition to claims of cars that run exclusively on water, there have also been claims that burning hydrogen or oxyhydrogen in addition to petrol or diesel fuel increases mileage. Whether such systems actually improve emissions or fuel efficiency is debated.
A number of websites exist promoting the use of oxyhydrogen (often called "HHO"), selling plans for do-it-yourself electrolysers or entire kits with the promise of large improvements in fuel efficiency. According to a spokesman for the American Automobile Association, "All of these devices look like they could probably work for you, but let me tell you they don't."
While it is no secret that the oil industries and governments around the world are extremely greedy, the big question people are asking is what will power tomorrows vehicles? While there may be no clear answer today, it is believed that battery electric vehicles will be the choice of tomorrow.