You can’t discuss the future of cars without taking the discussion of fuel. Gasoline fuel has been our way of getting from A to B for decades. But as we have begun to realise that gasoline is not gonna live forever, we have experimented with alternatives. This is one of the keys to deciding our transportations in the future and this of course includes the car.
One of the first ideas that was introduced was the nitrogen car like the LN2000. With nitrogen’s low boiling point you will have a lot of energy in a small amount of fuel, therefore only needing a small quantity to travel a long way. With nitrogen being one of the main elements in air and the only exhaust being nitrogen gas there is no pollution from this method.
Another possible future of cars is the hydrogen car. This has been proclaimed as the most successful so far, with hydrogen being the most common substans in the universe, we are not likely to run out of it, and with the only bi-product being water, then we are set for a cleaner world. Chicago mayor Richard Daley actually drank directly from the exhaust. Thats how clean it is.
The problem with hydrogen cars is that hydrogen is difficult to extract since it is always combined with other substances. But the process is not more expensive than drilling for oil, so as soon as people are willing to invest in this future, then we will probably see hydrogen cars all over.
A third option is the electric car. Being easy to maufacture and much like the cars we have today, this is also a good opportunity, but the one problem that is yet to be figured out is how we get batteries that can hold enough electricity? By now some of the top-runners are going for 4 hours before they need to recharge (which takes about an hour and a half), and in a modern world with everyone going places, then stopping for that long is just not something we can afford as a society. The problem is difficult, but there have already been numerous attempts to solve it, and we are getting closer.
What ever happened to solar powered cars? Well, they are the fourth opportunity, but unlikely to become a standard as the problems are simply to many. When you get the power from the sun you need solar cells (so called photovoltaic cells) on your car, and they don’t look too pretty as a start. The second problem is that we usually park in garages, under trees or in carports, where the sun doesn’t get. Therefore the car can’t charge new energy from the sun and we can’t go anywhere the next time we turn the key. Another problem is just to figure out how much power should go directly to driving the car and how much should go to the battery for when a cloud passes by.
A suggestion of solar charging arrays is a possibility, where people park their cars under an entire array of photovoltaic cells and let it recharge. Such arrays can already be seen in Santa Monica, CA. If we can solve these problems then solar powered cars are definately a good opprtunity, but there is a long way to go.
The opportunities are many and we will get to them at some point with successful results, but exactly when is difficult to say. There are many “ifs” and probably more to come.