Senin, 03 Maret 2008

What's The Alternative Power?

For the first time since the 1920s, when early steam-powered and electric vehicles yielded to the internal combustion engine, a real picture is starting to emerge on alternative power systems for the future। Until now, automotive companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to develop new means of vehicle propulsion -- and with good reason Oil is a finite resource that simply will run out one day. And the auto industry is under increasing pressure to reduce pollution by creating cleaner-running cars.
Over the years, attempts to develop pure-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles have not met with great success. Not long ago I drove a fully charged electric vehicle at General Motors' proving grounds and was impressed by the vehicle's power and overall quality. However, no company has yet to make a major breakthrough that can keep an EV running for more than 50 to 100 miles without recharging. And the cost of the vehicle is still prohibitive.
Hybrid vehicles, which combine electric motors and gasoline or diesel engines, also are being developed with some positive results. But hybrids are more likely to serve as a "bridge" from one technology to the next
Then there are fuel cells, which seem to have the backing of everyone from the major automakers to the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE projects that if a mere 10% of automobiles nationwide were powered by fuel cells:

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