Alternative Energy Vehicles Essay

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Alternative Energy Vehicles

Interested in alternative-energy driven cars? Here is a brief synopsis of the existing technologies, some of the problems surrounding each of them, and suggestions for further reading.

There is no question that pollution from automobiles is a major problem in industrialized countries and is increasing in developing nations. And the number of cars is increasingly rapidly: in the United States, the automobile population has increased 6X faster than the human population and 2X faster than the number of new drivers (Motavelli, 2000). At the same time, the average fuel economy of the 2001 fleet decreased to 20.4 miles per gallon, the same it was in 1980. This decrease is fueled by the growing trend in
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The positively-charged hydrogen ion travels through an electrolyte solution to the anode, while the electron – which is incapable of traveling through the solution – travels along a wire to the anode. The movement of the electron along this wire produces the electricity. When the electron and hydrogen ion meet at the anode, they combine with oxygen to form water, the waste product of fuel cells.

Fuel-cells are extremely clean and efficient, and seem to be a promising energy source. However, as of now, the hydrogen that is used in fuel-cells must be obtained somewhere – most commonly, fossil fuels. There is hope for developing zero-emission hydrogen using solar energy to split water into oxygen and hydrogen.

Noting the possible economic benefits, and the willingness of consumers to buy clean cars at reasonable prices, automobile manufacturers have been seriously looking into hydrogen fuel-cell cars. For example, General Motors has been researching a 100% fuel-cell powered car that could change the basis of traditional car design by removing the drive-shaft used in internal combustion engines, which frees up the body of the car for substantial reorganization


Hybrid cars. Hybrid cars are the most currently feasible reduced-emission vehicles and provide promise for a

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