Whether you’re in the market for a new vehicle, are thinking of entering the automotive industry, or are just plain curious, you may be wondering what will power tomorrow’s cars?
With air quality getting worse, oil production on the decline, and the ever fluctuating rate of gasoline car manufacturers are looking to alternative fuels. The leading contestants are hydrogen, electrical, and bio-fuels. Hydrogen is used in space crafts due to it being much more energy rich than any other fuel on the market, but the downside is it’s very expensive to produce and store.
Since hydrogen needs to be compressed, the actual volume needed is very high. For instance, to go the same amount of miles that a car with a gas tank that holds 10 gallons of gasoline, it would need to hold 45 gallons compressed at 340 times the atmospheric pressure. This hasn’t stopped Toyota from looking at the bigger picture of the automotive industry’s future. They’ve accomplished production of the first ever hydrogen powered vehicle. Although the re-fueling infrastructure is only available to California residents at this time, more information on that, and more, can be found here.
Batteries are also being utilized much more. They too have drawbacks such as range, time to charge, availability of charging stations, and the cost of electricity. Manufacturers were toying with the idea of creating a network of high voltage charging stations that can charge a car in just under 2 hours. The amount of voltage that would be necessary could be fatal if improperly handled. Despite those concerns, the west coast is trailblazing the first ever “Electric Highway,” in Washington, Oregon and California. The highway provides fast charge stations where the customer can be in-and-out in 30 minutes with a full charge.
The last, but not least, bio-fuels are renewable, carbon neutral and are already in production. Bio-fuels are anything that can be produced from any biological materials. Fossil fuels are also a product of biological material. The main difference between gas and bio fuel is that petroleum needs to be dug out of the ground unearthing carbon that was not otherwise in the atmosphere. Renewable fuels on the other hand, are made from plant organisms that have already photosynthesized carbon. When bio fuel is burned it’s considered to be carbon neutral. The impact of their production does still require energy that in return pollutes the atmosphere. The biggest hurdle for these products are profitability. The cheapest and fastest alternative to enter the market will be the one to win.
Will we fly around town like astronauts? Or continue to take out back seats to put over-sized batteries in their place? Perhaps we’ll be pouring olive oil into our gas tank in no time, but the only way to know for sure is to keep your eyes peeled. Check back here as we strive to bring you with regular updates, news, and any other fun facts that can help you and your vehicle run longer.
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