Alternative fuel and what it means for vehicles
Struggling to choose between a diesel or petrol car? Things are about to get a lot more difficult, as alternative fuelled vehicles are becoming an increasingly viable option. Hybrid, electric and hydrogen-powered cars are already on the forecourts, so which one should you choose?
Examining the future of alternative fuel vehicles is used Honda Jazz retailer Motorparks; read on to find out more:
The foundations of electric vehicles date back to as early as 1828, when Anyos Jedlik invented a model car that was powered by an electric motor. Developments snowballed throughout the 19th century, with William Morrison inventing what is credited as the first practical electric vehicle in 1891, capable of carrying up to six passengers.
Developments slowed in the years following as petrol and diesel grew in popularity. This was until 1996 when the GM EV1 was released, with the vehicle capable of travelling between 70 and 90 miles. Major brands emerged in the years following; smart in 2000 and Tesla Motors in 2003. By 2008, the Tesla Roadster was released and achieved a 245-mile on a single charge.
In more recent times, Nissan released the Leaf in 2011, while production of the Ford Focus Electric began in 2013.
Advantages & disadvantages of electric vehicles
As sales of electric vehicles have grown, their advantages have become clear. They are cheaper to run than their petrol or diesel alternatives and give off zero emissions. As their popularity has grown, charging has become easier and more widely available through dedicated charging points.
However, while it is more widely available, charging a vehicle can still be time-consuming. Likewise, the components in electric engines are usually heavier than other vehicles, meaning they’re often not as quick off the mark.
It’s not just electric vehicles that date back to the 19th century, so do hydrogen-powered vehicles. As early as 1807, Francois Isaac de Rivaz created a vehicle that was powered by a combination of oxygen and hydrogen. By 1933, the Norsk Hydro Company and GAZ had converted trucks to use hydrogen as a fuel.
In more modern times, 2007 saw the introduction of the Hyundai Tucson, a hydrogen vehicle that could deliver a range of over 200 miles. In 2014, Toyota entered the market with a road-ready sedan. With many more vehicles poised for release in the future, it seems hydrogen-powered vehicles could become more common very soon.
Advantages & disadvantages of hydrogen vehicles
Efficiency and availability are two of the main benefits of hydrogen-powered vehicles, while its zero emissions is another obvious advantage.
On the flipside, hydrogen is expensive and reliant on non-renewable sources to create the hydrogen fuel.
With biodiesel, compressed natural gas (CNC) and ethanol all also being considered as potential future fuels, it seems the car buyers’ headache is going to get a whole lot worse!