Types of Alternative Fuel VehiclesJune 23, 2021
Climate change and other ecological issues are highly important topics at the moment, being discussed with increasing regularity all over the globe. It’s clear to see that mankind’s industrial activities and rapid expansion have taken a real toll on the natural world, with many species wiped out, huge swathes of natural landscapes destroyed, and serious effects on climate too.
In response, many countries, governments, and businesses are looking into alternative energies and more ecological methods to continue the modern way of life without doing so much damage to the world around us. A particularly significant area of research and ecological change is the transportation industry, as traditional fossil fuel-powered vehicles contribute huge amounts to global warming.
In recent years, we’ve started to see more vehicles being developed that are less reliant on the traditional fuels and systems of the past, with greener, cleaner engines and alternative fuel sources incorporated into the design of these vehicles. This guide will take a look at some of the different types of alternative energy vehicles on the roads right now.
Electric vehicles, also known as EVs, are becoming more and more popular in modern times and being spotted more frequently on the roads of many developed nations like the US, the UK, and Australia. These vehicles run entirely on electric power, being fitted with high-powered batteries that can store large amounts of the engine and requiring no gas engine whatsoever.
The only limitation with EVs is the strength of the battery. Each vehicle, like an electric semi truck, can travel a certain amount of miles per charge and will then need to be recharged by being plugged into some sort of electrical energy source or charging station. We’re starting to see more of these charging stations appearing around the world to facilitate EV usage.
For now, the most common and accessible option for any driver interested in an alternative energy vehicle is probably a hybrid. Also known as hybrid electric vehicles or HEVs, these types of vehicles make use of both gas and electric systems. They’ve been sold for many years now and a lot of drivers have taken to them for their eco-friendly nature and reliability.
There are dozens of different hybrid models users can choose from too, and these cars actually make use of the gas engine to recharge the battery on the fly, with the battery itself being used to power the car when it comes to stopping, starting, or driving at low speeds, reducing the overall need for fuel consumption.
Plug-in hybrids, also known as PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) are almost like the halfway point between a standard hybrid and a fully electric vehicle. They’re more reliant on the battery than a regular hybrid, but they still do need some gas to get them up and running.
When compared to traditional hybrids, PHEVs have larger batteries. These big batteries are able to power the car along at any speed for set distances, with no emissions to worry about whatsoever. Owners can plug in their car at charging stations to boost the battery back up, with the gas tank acting as a backup fuel source to help out in certain situations.
Fuel cell vehicles, also known as FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicles) have been worked on by many automobile manufacturers for many years. The idea behind these types of cars is to have a vehicle powered entirely by hydrogen fuel cells, offering the advantages of no emissions at all and very impressive efficiency ratings too.
The fuel cells are able to convert simple hydrogen and oxygen into electrical energy, powering up the motor and allowing the car to move. There are not too many of these vehicles at the moment, but examples like the Hyundai Nexo SUV and Toyota Mirai can already be spotted on the roads, and this is a growing part of the automobile industry with a lot of potential for more models and further exploration in the future.
There’s even potential for new technologies to make the hydrogen cells even more naturally and in the most eco-friendly way possible, which could eliminate the need for fossil fuels in automobiles entirely.
It’s clear to see that change needs to come to the automobile and transportation industries in order to reduce the enormous effects that personal vehicles like cars, vans, and motorcycles can have on the environment. As this list shows, that change is well underway and we can expect even more positive developments in years to come.