05 Dec The Future of the Industry: Fuel Alternatives
A few months back, we discussed electric cars and the likelihood of an electric car dominance in the future. A reader astutely asked why we assumed electric cars were the inevitable next step for the auto industry, and although we responded with the factors that suggest an electric car take over, they made a great point that there are multiple energy sources currently being tested as a viable replacement for gasoline. Today we take a closer look at two fuel alternatives to better understand how vehicles of the future could be powered. Hybrid alternatives like gas electric, plug-in hybrids, and EV’s are the most dominant existing alternatives. Yet, surprisingly, the sale of these vehicles takes up less than 4% of all new car sales. Such a small market share leaves a lot of room for competitors. Here are the two potential replacements we found most interesting:
Many car-owners have already converted their vehicles to run on vegetable oil. Appealing to eco-friendly consumers, vegetable oil is a renewable resource and can be obtained easily and affordably. The realistic downside to this substitute is, as it gains popularity, it will lose the affordability factor and could lead to major deforestation for more farmland, knocking the “eco-friendly” right off the package. Vegetable oil cars are also harder to maintain and adapting one’s car to run on veg oil will almost certainly render the warranty void. Another con is the reported smell of combusting vegetable oil, which many liken to the smell of french fries. Although a worthy contender, we feel this one is unlikely to become a mainstay.
Unless significant advancement is made in solar technology, solar-powered vehicles are unlikely. The current record for solar power transit was by a Dutch team for a solar-powered race in Australia. The team was able to manage 3,000 miles at an average speed of 50mph through the Outback, but this required many stops and the vehicle had to stop during the night. We’re pessimistic, but just imagine how wonderful a solar-powered transit world could be! Never run out of power, no need to plug in or stop for fuel, and free fuel forever! The possibility that solar tech will advance quickly is high though, as many homes and businesses are moving towards solar power causing a funnel of more funds than ever into research. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.
What do you think? Are you hopeful for any particular alternative fuel source? We’d love to hear from you!
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