Many people see no alternative to diesel and gasoline. But green solutions are slowly becoming a reality – today we will look at the less obvious ones.
We bet on electricity and standard cells – every manufacturer already has a proposal
The year 2018 and 2019 will see a real rash of so-called EVs – electric vehicles. The fashion, which was initiated by, among others, Elon Musk’s Tesla, begins to enter wider use. However, it does not necessarily have much to do with ecology – so far studies have provided us with conflicting information on how harmful the production and disposal of battery cells is. But one thing is certain – the world of the future is an electric world
It is entirely possible that our children will not have the opportunity to listen to a diesel engine – well, maybe in the city’s engineering museum. Today, many brands are competing to deliver the most efficient batteries possible. There is talk of a goal of achieving a range of over a thousand kilometers. At the moment, however, we don’t have a commercial vehicle with such a powerful battery. But many suppliers are thinking in even longer terms. They see electrics not as a revolution, but a transitional evolution. As just one of many stages of development. It is possible that the cars of the future will be powered by something completely different.
Hydrogen as a driving fuel
Propulsion energy does not have to be obtained from the electric grid. Lithium-ion cells are slowly becoming a relic. Modern manufacturers are thinking more and more about hydrogen – not least because it can be found in the Universe in extremely large quantities. It is no coincidence that this element opens the periodic table. Many people expect that in the future we will be able to use it as a direct fuel in engines. But rest assured – this is not the scenario most associated with this element
Hydrogen can also be used as a propellant for an electric motor. Prototypes of such units are slowly being built. But it’s hard to say whether we’ll see them in commercial use this decade – rather, we’ll have to be patient. Hydrogen seems to be a theoretically interesting alternative to oil. Also because it is definitely a greener way to power our vehicles. For the time being it is still a technology straight out of science fiction. It has a real chance to appear and even conquer the market, but not yet in the nearest future.
Choosing the right raw material to power our cars is not a simple matter. Certainly, an interesting option seems to be a turn towards drives using radioactive materials such as uranium, radium or polonium. These elements are a source of energy that in some science-fiction worlds actually powers all sorts of vehicles. Today we also have nuclear-powered submarines. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily a safe path
Rare but spectacular disasters involving nuclear power, with serious consequences, contribute to a lack of confidence in nuclear power. It is not difficult to predict that many people would have concerns about the health risks of using this type of propulsion. Further problems could arise if such substances were leaked during an accident. Nuclear propulsion is therefore not a solution in traffic – it seems that the ubiquity of electricity and hydrogen, for the time being, outclasses the competition.
Electricity and its benefits
Today the focus is firmly on providing the most efficient photovoltaic cells possible. We already have the technology to create semi-tapes that can absorb energy from the sun and store it in a battery. However, there is no denying that it is still in its infancy. We are just beginning to get electricity from this simple and friendly source. But soon a real revolution may await us. Especially that inductive charging is possible
If we manage to create appropriate roads, we could charge the battery of our vehicle, for example while standing in a traffic jam. How to adapt batteries, energy generators, photovoltaic cells, to achieve complete energy independence of the vehicle, having thanks to it practically unlimited range? Perhaps it is not impossible. This is what manufacturers are currently trying to achieve
Will it be a matter of hydrogen or ultra-efficient photovoltaic strips? That is precisely unknown
There is another important issue. It’s not just about the differences between electricity from a coal-fired power plant and electricity from a photovoltaic plant. They are of course important, but note that there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to improving the efficiency of energy use within the vehicle. The use of autonomous control networks would save a huge amount of energy during traffic jams, for example. Algorithms that optimize driving are another major gain. It is not only necessary to create more efficient, more powerful cells and generators. We need to think about how to use the energy we already have.