Future of automobiles?

Where do you see cars going in the future?

  1. All electric

    9 vote(s)
  2. Internal Combustion Engines (gas/diesel/rotary)

    5 vote(s)
  3. Hybrid Gas:electric

    6 vote(s)
  4. Hydrogen cells

    9 vote(s)
  5. Other (fuel cell, wind, solar etc.)

    5 vote(s)

Last Updated:

  1. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Well-Known Member

    I saw a show about using algae on PBS. If they can breed algae to work as fuel, algae farms could work double - using solar power to grow. What we could also try is refining methane - we have enough of it.

    I've never owned a large car, biggest one I had was a 6cyl 65 Mustang. I've mostly had 4cyl. Even my Tacoma is a 4. All of them were also stick. So I've never been a gas hog.

    I could drive the muscle cars nuts as none of them handled. You drove a Spitfire like a bike. Take the big cars road racing on extremely curvy roads and lose them.

  2. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Well-Known Member

    The trouble with ethanol is food shortages. Some parts of the world are facing problems already and the price of food is predicted to skyrocket. If growers switch exclusively over to corn for profit, that won't help the food situation.
    Means less corn for feed, less grain for bread and cereals. Trying to farm corn where it is not native due to weather will use more groundwater. Clean water is predicted to be another shortage.
  3. Mac_Leod

    Mac_Leod Well-Known Member

    That's until everyone starts driving electric cars. Demand will drive the price up, especially with the current energy supply.

    I predict that by the year 2015, we'll have cars that can hover and a personal Mr. Fusion to power them.
  4. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

    Someone needs to invent the Transporter. It would solve all our problems and fix the world's oil problems all at the same time. You're in NYC and need to be in LA for a meeting. No problem. Step over to our transporter and you're there 2 seconds later. We have the ability to give everyone their unique phone number. We could easily give every transport it's unique address. Dial it up and there you are. Privacy issues? Just set them up so they don't accept incoming transmissions unless you tell them to. Or put filters on them so they only accept transmissions from certain numbers. Order something from Amazon, press a button and there it is. Right in your house. Shipping a piano cross country? No problem. Shove it in a transporter in one place, smile and dial and press a button. I really see no rational reason why this hasn't happened yet. Yes there's that Heisenburg guy, but that's just trivial. Guy who invents the transporter will make a mint and win the Nobel prize to boot.
  5. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Well-Known Member

    As the technology stands now, yes, you are correct. That said, if down the road we develop batteries that hold a useable charge so we can drive considerable distances, then batteries and electric cars make sense.

    There is one other possibility: we will never develop a battery that works well for powering a car. We might discover that we are chasing a dream that will forever unfulfilled for centuries.

    I say we drill oil which we have plenty of and we work on developing better efficiency and less pollution.
  6. Outlaw71

    Outlaw71 Well-Known Member

    So sad that the country is run by politicians who are in the pockets of big oil. There are sooo many alternatives that we could be turning to, but once one of them starts to make headway, big oil comes in and kills it off.

    I'm with the OP, I think there should be a massive push to install an infrastructure of hydro-stations so that hydrogen cars can take off. They've already proven the technology works, the only thing holding it back is that you can't find the fuel to power the cars anywhere.

    But the upside to hydro is so much better than any of the current contenders, it's idiotic not to push it to the front. Electric looks great, but once everyone switches over to eletric, the electric companies will be so swamped by demand that costs will go through the roof. And not only for powering cars, but for our homes as well. How is that a good future? Electric companies are already so flooded by demand that they have launched campains to get people to turn off their air conditioning, lights and everything else during peak hours to conserve energy... I don't see how everyone switching their 3 or 4 vehicles over to electric as a good thing at all.

    They you have to take into consideration that so far they've only made small to medium sized electric cars available. What about mini-vans, trucks, SUVs, RV's and full size trucks capable of towing horse trailers and the like... do they really think they'll be able to convert all of those vehicles over to electric as well? We just took a 16 hour trip down to Louisiana towing a trailer carrying two motorcycles and had two motorcycles in the back of the truck... I can't imagine how big the battery would have had to have been to get us down there in an electric truck. More than likely it would have required us to stop off and 'recharge' quite a few times. Which would have lengthened our trip down there considerably, maybe even doubled it... no thanks.

    The plus side to hydrogen is, the middle east doesn't own more than half of the worlds supply of it. We won't have to go to war with anyone to keep our supply of it. And unlike oil, the initial investment to build the technology will be large, but then should continue to fall as we refine it. I can forsee a day when a hydrogen converter could be purchased by just about anyone, meaning you could just fill up in your garage and not even worry about what the price at the pump was. Wouldn't that be something. No longer would we be slaves to the heads of oil companies who decide it's time to raise the price by $10 bucks a barrel 'just because'. So what if everyone was getting ready to go on the road for Labor Day weekend or what have you, the supply of hydrogen is never going to waver, it's the single most abundant element in the universe. So say goodbye to holiday fuel spikes. Not likely in our lifetime of course, but long term... I think it could become a reality.

    That is, unless the oil companies succesfully kill it off, while killing off our brave young men and women in wars over in the middle east just to keep our precious supply of oil coming across the ocean.
  7. dan330

    dan330 Well-Known Member

    the conversion of water to hydrogen is another big problem. they will need to develop / discover a better cheaper fast way to do this.

    and big power plants will use this to create electricity.. and hopefully will also lower the cost all around.
  8. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Well-Known Member

    People often say this and their statements leave me often confused.

    If the politicians are indeed in the pockets of big oil, how come they can't drill? Vast profits are to be made just from the oil we know about; vastly more money can come from oil yet to be discovered.

    So, in simple terms, explain it to me.

  9. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Well-Known Member

    The process is a simple process that I once used for science class. You basically pass electricity through water and collect the oxygen at one terminal/wire and hydrogen at the other. If you want a better quality gas, you pass each gas through an absorbent material to remove the water vapor.

    The problem as I understand it is not in generating the gas from water (if they is the best way) it is storage. Some people are working on Hydrogen Sponges to hold and store the gas.

  10. Outlaw71

    Outlaw71 Well-Known Member

    Who knows, you tell me? If there really is all this oil for us to have right under our noses, then why isn't it being done?

    Maybe because that would mean flooding the market with oil, which in turn would drive prices waaaaaay down, and the oil companies would no longer enjoy such huge profit margins? If you keep the supply down, they can charge damn near anything they want for it. And when we have absolutely no alternative to turn to, then we have to choice but to pay it.

    I also remember the day when gas was under $1 dollar per gallon. But they'll never be anywhere close to that ever again. But while the start up of hydro could see costs close to, or even higher than that of current gas prices, just like with any other technology, that price will come down. It's not the technology that's keeping oil prices high, it's supply.

    The supply of hydrogen is for all intents and purposes unlimited, and will forever remain so as it is a renewable energy source. So production costs will steadily decline as the technology advances further and further.
  11. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Well-Known Member

    Environmental policy and crazy environmentalists and others have the power to prevent drilling for oil, for any number of reasons. If you owned a large piece of property and you wanted to develop it, and someone discovered some rare species of something, they stand a good chance of preventing you from disrupting the land.

    We do not drill because we are prevented from drilling. It is just that simple.

    You also seem to be assuming that if we have hydrogen available, the costs will not be just as high; you promote these laughable financial conspiracy theories about the oil companies but you do not seem to think the Hydrogen providers wont play the same game.

    Yes, I remember when gas was under a buck a gallon. I remember when gas was less than half that.
  12. Outlaw71

    Outlaw71 Well-Known Member

    I don't have a problem with two (or more) competing sources of energy, do you? Is there a reason gas powered cars, electric cars and hydrogen powered cars can't share the road? Why would you want to be at the mercy of having only one choice like we've had all this time? Oil companies have enjoyed a corner on the market long enough, let someone else have a turn for God sakes.

    I thought competition was considered a good thing after all (what if Nokia was the only cell phone OEM there was). Congress usually breaks up a monopoly to let competition thrive. But Big oil has had a monopoly on personal transportation ever sine we switched over from horses.

    As far as environmentalists limiting oil drilling goes... since the majority of environmentalists belong to the democratic party, and oil companies are mostly backed by the republicans, since there are approximately 63 million registered democrats and 47 million registered republicans... I guess we'll just have to respect majority rules since this country is a democracy.

    But even if we did open up drilling, it wouldn't help all that much. American oil companies are no different than middle eastern oil companies. They limit their own production to keep demand high. And what do they do with the oil they produce? A lot of it is sold to other countries, as this article from a few years ago illustrates...

    And this one...


    Ahhh... energy alternatives. Why not make hydrogen an energy alternative? Now we aren't stuck with only one choice. It pacifies these so called 'environmentalist extremists'. And with the weight of oil demands off of our shoulders, we can once again enjoy .50 cent gasoline to power our metal sleds, and motorcycles around on. I would love to have a hydrogen powered car in my garage sitting next to my gasoline powered motorcycle.

    Not that I believe anyone is truly interested in an of this. But what a nice dream it is eh?
  13. lordofthereef

    lordofthereef Well-Known Member

    Amen. I will say this; The oil companies will probably be the ones that own future alternative energy markets too.
  14. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

    The problem is the consumer. There are electric cars out there. No one is buying them. There are natural gas powered vehicles out there. No one is buying them. Consumers seem to want hybrids and gasoline powered vehicles. Hybrids tend to be much higher priced though so the average consumer can't necessarily afford them.
  15. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Well-Known Member

    A lot of the reserve oil is also in oil shale and sands. It is not cost effective to process yet, plus it uses quite a bit of water to turn it into slurry. We have quite a bit of oil shale in CO, but no water. All of the Colorado and other major rivers are spoken for downstream.
  16. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Well-Known Member

    The use of CNG seems to be growing here in Utah. Right now, you can purchase a fairly nice 2001 Crown Vic that was converted by the factory for about $6,000. You can buy a 2006 HD Chevy truck for around $11,000.

    Both are duel fuel so not being able to find CNG is a non-issue.

    Unfortunately, CNG vehicles are not strictly legal, unless they are factory built. That said, almost any vehicle can be converted. So the reasonably good alternative the government wants is tied up in red tape.

    Your cost of CNG at the pump is $1.27 per gallon at one of the Questar pumps and $1.02 at state owned stations. When you purchase one of these properly converted vehicles, you are eligible for a state tax credit of $2,500. So you can have nice vehicles that are environmentally sane and friendly, and a big tax credit. What's not to love about CNG?

    We have large natural gas reserves here in Utah. I think some sort of duel fuel (Gasoline and CNG) is one of the better approaches. Most cars can be converted to CNG and if you run a dual system, you do not need to worry about not being able to find batteries or hydrogen along your travel route.

    You can (in Utah) drive in the HOV lane without passengers and parking is free downtown.

    We have two proven ways to go: Gasoline from plentiful oil and CNG. CNG is dirt cheap and growing. Should it not take root and you cant find CNG, you still have gasoline.

    But no, some of you want to eliminate oil (some of you simply fail to grasp that oil is not just about gas, it is about almost every GD consumer product you own) and replace two proven technologies with two more technologies that are absolutely useless for most of us and likely several decades down the road.

    And there is no reason to believe that we will one day be talking about those that control the batteries and hydrogen much like we bitch about OPEC today.

    I just do not get it.

  17. Outlaw71

    Outlaw71 Well-Known Member

    Well for one thing we're talking about the future, and not May 2011, but on down the road when we here are dead and burried, and when population issues will be much more of an issue. Emissions in heavily populated area's are already an issue, when just about everywhere is a heavily populated area and the US is pushing a few billion in population why would we want to pass along such a dirty technology?

    Creating an infrastructure to sustain a clean energy source is something we as a species will have to come to grips with sooner or later. Putting all that burden on our kids or grand kids is something I honestly don't get. Why put off till tomorrow what we can do today?

    And while some of the things people are envisioning for the future may well be laughable to some, never underestimate the possibilities the future holds. If someone would have told you back in 1961 that 50 years into the future we'd have computers 100 times more powerful than computers that took up entire warehouses back then, that fit in our pockets that you could also call people half way around the world on, that stored enough songs that would fill thousands of vinyl records, and also took photos and moving video that you could wireless send to your television to watch on... you would have laughed yourself right out of your big block V8 gas guzzling automobile.

    But today, you have that very thing in your pocket.

    lordofthereef likes this.
  18. dan330

    dan330 Well-Known Member

    My guess is that.. the man... don't want to use our resources yet.... they want to use other's first.

    That way.. when the other's are used up... the man... will have all that is left in the world.
  19. dan330

    dan330 Well-Known Member

    Yes... but as I understand it.. this process needs too much electricty to make it advantageous
  20. Outlaw71

    Outlaw71 Well-Known Member

    Which means there must be further development.

    But hydrogen is only one of many clean source fuels that we could be building a future on. There are many others.
  21. lordofthereef

    lordofthereef Well-Known Member

    As an even cruder example, let's consider how long man used horses for just about everything imaginable. A century or so ago it would have been inconceivable that we have machines running on similar fuel as lanterns of the era. Certainly when the first vehicles were on the road, fuel was not readily available. People still used their horse and carriage to get around for the most part. Why should we assume that this wouldn't be the case with the next fuel source? We will continue to use our petrol machines to get places as the new fuel source slowly makes its way into the economy. We may have plenty left (I actually did some calculation in another thread), but that doesn't make the resource unlimited. At some point we will run out. Why not spend time NOW working to come up with the necessary technology to limit our dependence on the resource?
  22. dan330

    dan330 Well-Known Member

    i heard.. back in the day...before automobiles...
    when oil was processed
    gasoline and diesel was a by product that was unwanted.
  23. mttfrog13

    mttfrog13 Well-Known Member

    If i understood what you described right, then I'm pretty sure they've already implemented this into cars. Using the momentum of a car slowing during braking and converting the kinetic energy into electricity essentially creating mini turbines at each wheel. This is one of the ways (along with basically turning off when they stop) hybrid cars get such ridiculously good mileage in the city. You would've been filthy rich if you thought of this sooner.

    My vote is for electric cars and maybe some type of hybrid electric/gas or diesel heavy duty engines for long distance trips, trucks or government vehicles. I see a future where our houses are powered completely off of solar, wind, and nuclear power in that order of highest proportion to lowest. Then, you'll plug your car in at home, which will essentially mean its power is coming from the sun.

    I haven't read much into how realistic hydrogen is to me but something about it seems fishy. In my opinion, gas companies feel threatened by electric cars, solar energy companies, and companies who manufacture wind turbines because it will cut them out of the system since people will plug in at home. If cars transition to hydrogen, then Exxon can still stay in business can build hydrogen filling stations.

    Its too early to tell though. There is still time for electric car batteries to be improved and for hydrogen creation to be perfected and distributed on a large scale. One thing is for sure, fossil fuels and ethanol will be phased out very soon.
  24. Knewz

    Knewz Well-Known Member

    Electric motorcycles = future .... Go Brammo!
    gallandof likes this.
  25. gallandof

    gallandof Well-Known Member

    motorcycles are a great testbed for future technologies. some of the new electric bikes are pretty nice performance wise, as well as being practical. too bad motorcycle sales suck here in the US. Too many stupid on the roads :(

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