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Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 21
Last seen: 11 months, 6 days
    #4253395 - 06/03/05 08:40 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

As a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the growing uncertainty with the situation in the Middle East, South America and Europe, the United States is now forced to re-think its energy policy so that it can lower energy consumption of and dependence on foreign oil. Just as the automobile replaced the horse-drawn carriage so it is time for the electric battery to replace the gasoline engine. We are at the dawn of a new age when one can plug their car into an electric outlet and re-charge it for travel up to sixty miles or more. But with any wholesale change comes the requirement of a transitional mechanism. Hence the need for a vehicle that can run alternatively on both gasoline and electricity. The goal of course would be to make a total conversion within a reasonable amount of time. Most of the electricity produced in the United States comes from coal-fired power plants so the concern by some is that a reduction in tailpipe emissions would be offset by an increase in air pollution from the power plants. Others argue that the sheer volume of reduced vehicle emissions would fall far greater than plant-produced air pollution. We may even see a coalition of military hawks and environmentalists as fuel efficiency brings about both security and a better climate.

Few would argue that two factors influence consumer's choice of transportation more than anything else: gas mileage and appearance. Ever since the automobile became available to the average consumer, it has always been considered a status symbol much like the clothing we wear and the houses we live in. The price of electricity is pale compared to the price of gasoline so this factor is virtually a no-brainer. The choice of appearance however, will always linger as long as we believe that "appearance makes the person". But this factor can also be addressed during the transition phase since it appears that most vehicles today can be modified to use both fuel sources. As for the future, the old tried and true marketing techniques will convince most people that buying the style of car available will guarantee that the "future won't pass them by". Just as Japanese cars promoting fuel efficiency in response to the oil embargo of the 1970's sparked the Big Three to respond accordingly so will the shift to electric vehicles change the market once again. Perhaps this time General Motors, Ford and Daimler Chrysler will get the "jump on the competition" and in so doing, save themselves from bankruptcy.

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Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 21
Last seen: 11 months, 6 days
Re: Energy [Re: JOEBIALEK]
    #4257258 - 06/04/05 10:02 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

can't wait for my electric Camry...

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Registered: 06/26/05
Posts: 731
Re: Energy [Re: JOEBIALEK]
    #4670762 - 09/16/05 07:04 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

I'm not the only one to have thought of this, but as yet no real work has been done. How about a hybrid car powered with a Stirling Engine?

The Sterling is more efficient than the internal combustion or diesel engine, and it's also a lot quieter. Sounds great, but it's not good for cars because it can't rev up quickly and it takes about 5 minutes to get the engine hot enough to run well. We want our cars to start the minute we put the key in.

A hybrid design (with enough batteries for 10-20 miles) solves this. You can get all the acceleration you need from the electric motors, and you can start driving right away, while heating up the Sterling "boiler". Then it kicks in to provide the power to run the car for the long haul. If you know the trip is short, no need to fire up the Sterling until the battery gets low.

The Stirling can burn anything. Gasoline, kerosene, diesel, vegetable oil, hydrogen, even wood! Yes, you could, in theory, be stuck by the side of the road out of gas, then go out with an axe to chop trees and refuel your car.

Well, almost. You want high-temperature burning for the best efficiency, and this would pollute and probably dirty your nice clean boiler. Right now the engines are expensive to machine but I suspect that could change.


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