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Alternative Fuels in Automobiles

Essay by   •  November 17, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  2,736 Words (11 Pages)  •  4,432 Views

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Alternative Fuels



Table of Contents

Table of Contents...........................................................................Page1

Research Essay.............................................................................Page 2-10

Bibliography.................................................................................Page 11

As humans continually exploit the earth for their own conveniences they become increasingly aware of the damage they cause. In the last 30 years the population has begun to notice just how serious the problem is and as a result great efforts have been put into amending the environment from our technological follies. Since the use of fossil fuels causes 70% of the earth's air pollution it's only logical that the human race must restrict the use of oil.

One of the main reasons that fossil fuels are extracted from the earth is to provide oil for the propulsion of transportation vehicles. Scientist and researchers realized that oil is unnecessary to power ground transportation vehicles such as cars and trucks. In fact electricity is just as effective for propelling vehicles as gasoline is. Due to "the major concern of air quality, energy diversity, and the innovations of the automobile industry" electric vehicles began to be researched and produced (Electric Vehicle Report). Electric vehicles are now becoming the future of the transportation because they secure a long-term answer to the problem of fueling and they greatly reduce the earth's air pollution. (Lee, 11)

The most viable options to replacing gas-powered vehicles are the three different forms of electric powered automobiles; hybrid, solar and fuel cell. Although electric vehicles were not recently invented most of their development has occurred in the last 15 years and with the application of modern technologies, developers have enabled electric vehicles to be powerful and cost efficient, without causing harm to the environment (Information on Electric Cars). Electric vehicles have had a relatively long history compared to most transportation devices. The first known electric automobile was a small model built by Professor Strtingh in 1835 in the Duct City of Groningen. This car, however, was extremely impractical because of its expense and the short life of the battery. The first practical electric vehicle to be built was a small automobile that was produced in the United States by Thomas Davenport. Thomas made great improvements to his electric automobile, reducing its cost, and implicating a battery with a longer life span and greater power. Even with these improvements Davenport's electric automobile was not popular because he was forced to use non-rechargeable batteries in his vehicle. (Lee, 11)

It seemed that the public would never use electric vehicles because of their batteries, but Frenchmen Gaston Plante change this notion by inventing the rechargeable storage battery in 1865 (Electric Cars). The first electric automobile to really grab the world's attention was La Jamais Contente's racecar. It was produced in 1899 in Belgium and it was designed for speed. The car broke the world land speed record in France with driver Camille Jenatzy in 1899, with a speed of over 62 miles per hour. After the invention and production of the gasoline powered automobile, electric cars gained little attention until the 1980's. (Electric Vehicle Report) In the 1900's electric cars were put to use in other ways than mass transit. They were used as an inexpensive way to travel short distances across factories, golf courses and campuses (Advocating the Use of E.V.'s). It was not long until people began to see the potential of electric vehicles. (Lee, 13)

In the early 1980's research teams were developed, sponsored by major automobile companies, to reinvent the electric vehicle by taking advantage of new technological advancements in batteries, system integration and aerodynamics. Soon word broke out that the government was going to mandate energy diversity and air quality and "many of the leading automobile companies, electric utility companies and the academic community began to do researching, testing and developing electric powered vehicles"(Electric Vehicle Report). Around 1990 several California cities began to use electricity to power buses, streetcars and mass transit vehicles to help lower their high level of air pollution. (Koppel, 56)

In 1992, Congress approved and President Bush signed the National Emergency Policy Act, which stated that the consumption of petroleum in the U.S. will be reduced by ten percent by the year 2000 and thirty percent by the year 2030. Since this announcement even more companies and research teams have jumped on the electric vehicle production wagon. Automobile manufacturer giants such as Honda, GM and Chrysler put millions of dollars into research teams so that electric cars would be available to the public as early as 1996. Also, since the National Emergency Policy Act was passed electric vehicles have been promoted greatly all over the country and the Government even offers tax breaks for owners of electric vehicles. Since transportation, because of the massive amounts of oil used, is the single biggest air polluting industry in the world there is a great need to create a vehicle that does not rely on oil. Electric vehicles seem to be the best answer to this problem. Electric vehicles, on average, are 98% cleaner than combustion vehicles as far as air pollution goes. That means that if electric vehicles were to replace traditional automobiles, air pollution could be reduce by up to 35% each year. Also, the emissions from internal combustion automobiles have lead to the depletion of the ozone, which "could increase the amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth, where it damages crops and plants and can lead to skin cancer". (Koppel, 57)

The operation of an electric vehicle is very similar to that of a traditional combustion automobile. The ignition system that starts the vehicle works in the same way. A key is turned, or a code is entered into a numeric pad and the engine responsively begins to run. A gear shift box allows a person to put the vehicle in reverse or drive and with one's foot off the brake the car will begin to move in a slow fashion, as



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