Gunners Garage

Will the Winner (Gas) Become the Loser?

In the early days of the automobile industry there was an ongoing contest to see whether steamers, electric cars or gasoline-powered vehicles would prevail. Steamers ran on water that you could get anywhere, but they were cantankerous, complicated and inconvenient. Electric cars were fast, smooth, comfortable and quiet, but they didn’t go very far on one battery charge. Gas powered cars seemed to be the best compromise – at least in the early 1900s.

Now that the world is truly running out of oil,it seems that the gas-powered horseless carriage may not be a winner in the long run. If the gas buggy turns into a permanent loser, does anyone want to guess on the next winner?  

One thought on “Will the Winner (Gas) Become the Loser?

  1. Speedzzter

    The "winner" (baring some technological breakthrough on electric storage and on-board generation) is foreshadowed by Chevrolet’s hybrid Tahoe, Volkswagen’s twincharged Golf GT, and a host of European turbo diesels:

    The "winner" will be vehicles that are a "hybrid" of low-speed electric propulsion/regenerative braking together with a high-speed, forced-induction internal combustion engine burning a high octane renewable or partially renewable fuel and recovering waste heat energy from the exhaust via a blow-down turbine or turbogenerator or an auxillary steam turbine system. It will also probably have some sort of on-demand power booster, such as direct ethanol injection combined with higher intake manifold pressure. An increasing number of these future vehicles will be compression ignition (either diesel cycle or computer-controlled HCCI).

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