Fuel And Electric Cars: How Car Technology Is Rapidly Evolving
As with most industries, technology in vehicles is evolving rapidly, and processes are being refined to make them more efficient.
The drive to make cars faster, more economical and safer is there for all to see; the car sector in the UK is reportedly worth £11 billion, so there is plenty of incentive for the industry to refine their products to make them more attractive to consumers. And that’s before you even consider things like environmental concerns and government quotas.
So with all that riding on their products it’s no surprise to learn that car technology is rapidly evolving.
Although there are many facets to the evolution of the car industry – from improvements in manufacturing to the streamlining of processes, perhaps the most obvious improvement that consumers can see is in fuel economy.
Driven be the need to be ‘green’, the efficiency that fuel cars now have when it comes to igniting fuel, is really quite remarkable. From carburettors to the fuel injection systems developed from the 1980’s onwards, fuel economy and therefore efficiency has improved and carbon emissions have decreased.
The main advantage in this change is that fuel is vaporised with a fuel injection, allowing the amount that is being sent into the cylinder to be controlled more closely.
That means, in conjunction with intelligent ECU ‘brains’ fitted to modern cars that manage the tiniest amount of fuel, there is less excess fuel that isn’t being ignited, which results in a cleaner, more efficient process. The next step in fuel technology has been hybrid vehicles, which combine electric and fuel technology.
In terms of electric cars, their greatest drawback has always been the length of their charge. That is the greatest obstacle the evolution of the electric car faces.
Tesla cars have helped battery technology evolve from their early days but their range is till limited. One advancement that is addressing this issue is inductive charging which, rather than extending the range of the battery actually deals with the problem of charging.
Rather than having to physically connect the car to a power station, charging can occur by proximity. That means the power of your vehicle can be topped up while you are parked, or can be installed on motorways so in stop/start traffic you won’t just be draining your batteries.
Another aspect of evolution in the electric car industry to do with the batteries themselves is the development of Lithium-Air batteries which, to cut a long story short, can hold a lot more energy due to their density than batteries used today.
Interestingly a lithium-air battery has the same energy value-per-kilo as it’s fossil fuel counterpart, meaning a similar sort of range between top-ups. Currently the best electric cars have a range of about 100 miles. Lithium-air batteries could go up to 1,000 miles between charges.
Of course, in this article, we’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to the evolution of cars over the past couple of decades. Electronic driving aids, ECU’s that can send different amounts of power to different wheels, tiptronic gearboxes and intelligent safety measures are just a few of the advancements we’ve seen adopted in commercial vehicles. And that’s before you even examine the processes it takes to manufacture vehicles.
Given the speed of change in the automotive industry, changes and advancements will continue to occur. Just a few years ago it would have seemed impossible that electric cars would be on the road. Imagine what might happen in the next ten years.
Author Bio – Peter South Journalist & Blogger for http://www.fafnir.com