Alternatives to Gasoline-powered Cars


Some people think that because they have purchased Toyota Prius, they are saving those cute baby seals. However, we haven’t been particularly successful in helpong the Mother Earth if we don’t do things properly. We may wonder how a diesel, electric hybrid car can save the environment. People still prioritize on comfort and they won’t buy even the greenest cars when they are not comfortable, especially during long-distance trips. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche came up with a concept of gasoline-powered hybrid electric engines. Instead of used on a car, it powered a horseless carriage. Due to its low power and limited range, Porsche’s hybrid carriage was only considered as a toy. The basic principle of hybrid can be easily understood. The gasoline engine charges a bank of accummulators or batteries. When the gasoline engine is switched off, the batteries power electric motors to proper the wheels. At night, these batteries can be charged from the wall outlet overnight. There are different methods to save energy, such as using a regenerative barking system that recovers wasted energy from the braking action back to the batteries. However, on batteries alone, hybrid cars can only cover a short distance.

So we can say that hybrid cars are essentially normal gasoline-powered cars with an added electric motor. Often, our car stays idle, like in heavy traffic or at a stop light. When the car idles, the gasoline engine disengages automatically and batteries are used to power the car’s features and accessories. It means that the stereo and air conditioner system will stay on. The gasoline engine will be restarted when the car speed exceeds 10 mph or depending on manufacturer’s specifications. If the hybrid cars are charged overnight from non-polluting power generation facilities, such as hydroelectric plants or solar cells; the overall carbon footprint will be much lower. Hybrid cars use less fuel than normal cars. However, we should know that hybrids require a computer system and complicated software to work. Another alternative to gasoline-powered cars are diesel models. Unlike gasoline, diesel fuel is able to auto-ignite when subjected to an immense amount of pressure. With compression alone, it’s possible for hybrid cars to move. Gasoline is lighter than diesel fuel, so it has lower energy content. It takes more gasoline to push the car to a desired speed and distance.

Fuel and air injection on diesel cars is powered by mechanical fuel pumps. For greater efficiency, we may choose computer-controlled diesel cars that determine the optimum condition for the engine. Smoke and obnoxious exhaust smell are significantly reduced in newer diesel cars. In these models, smoke that leaves the tail pipe is repeatedly filtered. Diesel cars may also use a type of chemical called Uria to reduce dangerous pollutants. Thanks to solid sound insulation and better engine design, modern diesel cars are also less noisy. In reality, latest diesel cars and hybrids can have similar mileage. Diesel is a mature technology and it has been frequently improved.

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