What are Eco-friendly Vehicles?
Eco-friendly Vehicles are a type of green vehicle also referred to as environmentally friendly vehicles or clean vehicles. Ecofriendly vehicles do not produce that many harmful impacts to the environment that the vehicles with internal combustion engines produce.
Basically, eco-friendly vehicles are powered by alternative fuels and are incorporated with advanced vehicle technologies. Let us further proceed to understand some eco-friendly vehicles:
Helium is identified as one of the best propellants that can be used to run vehicles instead of petrol and diesel. If cost is considered then it is known that helium is 25% less costly in comparison to conventional fuels like petrol and diesel. At the same time, it exhibits somewhat more ecofriendly behaviour by not producing fuel exhaust. Along with that helium can be stored in cylinders.
However, despite all these advantages, one of the major disadvantages of these vehicles is that in some countries the temperature conditions are not suitable for helium-based cars as helium in cylinders can blow up. So, scientists are trying to find such a catalyst using which the temperature can remain under control as this will facilitate the use of helium in vehicles in tropical countries.
Fuel Cell Vehicles
A fuel cell is formed by two oppositely charged electrodes present within two separate chambers that are distanced from each other by a semipermeable membrane. The chambers are loaded with hydrogen gas which it gets split into hydrogen atoms. Due to the electric potential difference between the electrodes the hydrogen atoms get ionized instantly.
Basically, the single electron of the hydrogen atom gets separated from the proton. The proton reaches the other chamber through the membrane where it forms water by combining with the oxygen atom. While on the other side, the motion of electrons present in the first chamber drives the electric current. This means that a chemical reaction generates electricity and this electricity can power the vehicle.
One should note here that when fuel cells power the vehicles then the exhaust pipes only release warm water vapour hence giving rise to clean technology which is free from burning. This means that a combination of H2 and O2 can produce water, heat and electricity. As we know that huge amount of oxygen and hydrogen is present on the earth and water does not cause any pollution thus, fuel cells can be used to generate electricity at cheap rates without harming the environment.
There are various types of fuel cells that can be used to power laptops as well as power plants. The various fuel cells are as follows:
- Polymer membrane fuel cell
- Phosphoric acid fuel cell
- Molten carbonate fuel cell
- Solid oxide fuel cell
To power vehicles, Polymer membrane fuel cell also known as proton exchange membrane is mostly used.
Electric vehicles are very much environment friendly however, they are not that much cost-effective in comparison to helium-based vehicles. Not only this, electric vehicles are somewhat heavy and in order to make them such a vehicle that can cover as much as distance as possible, the tyres must have low rolling resistance along with aluminium chassis and regenerative braking system. By incorporating this, the energy which gets lost at the time of applying brakes can be recaptured.
At the time of invention, bulky lead-acid batteries were used however, lithium nickel-metal hydride or sodium sulphur batteries only use a fraction of energy by consuming the same amount of petrol and diesel.
Battery-powered vehicles are in use in many countries but it requires high cost in terms of maintenance and infrastructure.
In hybrid vehicles, there are dual systems, like two fuels, however, the engine runs using one at a time. Electric motors first generated hybrid cars. There is a gasoline engine which kicks in at the time of acceleration in order to speed up and shuts off during deceleration and gets stopped. The batteries used in electric motors get recharged during this process.
Hybrid vehicles offer more advantages than gasoline-powered models as the former exhibits less fuel consumption, along with that the carbon dioxide emission is almost half than gasoline-powered models. Practically, hybrid vehicles are more useful than an electric vehicle.
One should note here that hybrid vehicles can work on both electric motor as well as a conventional internal combustion engine. However, day by day with the advancement in technology there is a need for smaller and lighter engines.
There are various kinds of hybrids but all do not exhibit same environmental performance. Series hybrid, which is considered to be the best, is the one that is powered by an electric motor and for which electricity is supplied from a pack of batteries or generator. Parallel hybrid is the one that runs on a conventional engine and electric motor.
These vehicles make use of liquid hydrogen and their engine is manufactured in such a manner that it can run either on hydrogen or on petrol. The first luxury car powered by liquid hydrogen is BMW invented by a German Automaker in December 2006.
The BMW 7 series hydrogen 7 Saloon is powered by a 260 hp twelve-cylinder engine with an accelerating speed of about 0 to 100 km in 9.5 seconds. Its top speed is nearly around 230 km/h. This vehicle exhibits the ability to switch between petrol and hydrogen thereby somewhat providing better infrastructure in built-up scenarios.