There is a great need in the world to innovate away from petroleum
based transportation and home heating uses. The greatest contender is
electric systems that utilize energy stored in batteries or fuel cells.
Solutions do exist, but they have yet to be adopted by the masses.
An important concept in electric engines for cars is to maintain a low
vehicle weight so that the сar can be powered by
a reasonable amount of electric energy, and will be able to accelerate to the
same degree as other cars, obeying the speed limit. These design considerations
have been met, opening up the market to alternative fuel technologies.
Batteries are designed to be charged, then discharged,
then recharged. To charge a battery effectively one must employ a trickle
charger which delivers a low amperage reverse bias to the battery which drives
the chemical equilibrium in the battery to a stored charge state. This stored
charge can then be drawn upon to convert electrical energy to electromotive
force using an electric motor. Electric motors are relatively small and
efficient and can run for a suitable amount of time with relatively little
Alternative battery sources involve fuel cells that rely on
stored hydrogen and available oxygen which react across a membrane to produce
free electrons and water. The water is a clean waste product, and the electrons
produce a steady electric force that can be adjusted based on power demands.
The issue with hydrogen fuel supply is that local refill stations will have to
be established to supply the hydrogen tanks. Honda is a leader in this
technology with the Honda FCX vehicle.
Various cars have hit the market with hybrid technology and a
very few are released based on the fuel cell technology. The hybrid cars
utilize a primary gas engine with an associated electric engine which provides
power assist or exclusive support during lower power demand driving conditions.
Numerous automotive suppliers have initiated these systems, notably Ford,
Honda, Toyota and Lexus to my knowledge.
Vehicles are slightly more expensive owing to the increased engineering
and more complex parts list.
The choice is touted as ecologically minded at this point, but as gas
grows increasingly scarce or increasingly expensive the situation favors
conversion to all electric or hybrid technologies. Hybrid cars are in theory
cheaper to operate owing to their fuel conserving operating technique. They do conserve
fuel during their normal operations.
Important to the issue of societal divergence from a gas intensive
economy is the conversion of commercial vehicles to hybrid and battery
or fuel cell technologies. Small body trucks are the best candidates for
conversion to alternative energy sources. Notably mining technologies must be
adapted to electric systems as well. It becomes quite difficult to supply raw
materials if there is no means of extracting them from the ground or melting
them down to isolate the chemical constituents.
Related conservation techniques involve reducing transportation
demand. Busing reduces vehicle weight per passenger mile. Work at home, or
accommodation at work during the work week, will reduce traffic between sites. Cycling
and motorbikes provide efficient transport during suitable weather.
www.ford.ca -- > SUV -- ((Ford Escape Hybrid))
www.automobiles.honda.com à Accord Hybrid Sedan
à Civic Hybrid Sedan
www.toyota.ca à Camry Hybrid
à Highlander Hybrid