Sunday, June 21, 2009

Steam power

Steam power, usually using an oil- or gas-heated boiler, was also in use until the 1930s but had the major disadvantage of being unable to power the car until boiler pressure was available (although the newer models could achieve this in well under a minute). It has the advantage of being able to produce very low emissions as the combustion process can be carefully controlled. Its disadvantages include poor heat efficiency and extensive requirements for electric auxiliaries.[

The first electric cars

The first electric cars were built around 1832, well before internal combustion powered cars appeared.[21] For a period of time electrics were considered superior due to the silent nature of electric motors compared to the very loud noise of the gasoline engine. This advantage was removed with Hiram Percy Maxim's invention of the muffler in 1897. Thereafter internal combustion powered cars had two critical advantages: 1) long range and 2) high specific energy (far lower weight of petrol fuel versus weight of batteries). The building of battery electric vehicles that could rival internal combustion models had to wait for the introduction of modern semiconductor controls and improved batteries. Because they can deliver a high torque at low revolutions electric cars do not require such a complex drive train and transmission as internal combustion powered cars. Some post-2000 electric car designs such as the Venturi F├ętish are able to accelerate from 0-60 mph (96 km/h) in 4.0 seconds with a top speed around 130 mph (210 km/h). Others have a range of 250 miles (400 km) on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highway cycle requiring 3-1/2 hours to completely charge.[22] Equivalent fuel efficiency to internal combustion is not well defined but some press reports give it at around 135 miles per US gallon (1.74 L/100 km; 162 mpg

Exhaust gases are also cleaned up

Exhaust gases are also cleaned up by fitting a catalytic converter into the exhaust system. Clean air legislation in many of the car industries most important markets has made both catalysts and fuel injection virtually universal fittings. Most modern gasoline engines also are capable of running with up to 15% ethanol mixed into the gasoline - older vehicles may have seals and hoses that can be harmed by ethanol. With a small amount of redesign, gasoline-powered vehicles can run on ethanol concentrations as high as 85%. 100% ethanol is used in some parts of the world (such as Brazil), but vehicles must be started on pure gasoline and switched over to ethanol once the engine is running. Most gasoline engined cars can also run on LPG with the addition of an LPG tank for fuel storage and carburettor modifications to add an LPG mixer. LPG produces fewer toxic emissions and is a popular fuel for fork-lift trucks that have to operate inside buildings.

Gasoline engines

Gasoline engines have the advantage over diesel in being lighter and able to work at higher rotational speeds and they are the usual choice for fitting in high-performance sports cars. Continuous development of gasoline engines for over a hundred years has produced improvements in efficiency and reduced pollution. The carburetor was used on nearly all road car engines until the 1980s but it was long realised better control of the fuel/air mixture could be achieved with fuel injection. Indirect fuel injection was first used in aircraft engines from 1909, in racing car engines from the 1930s, and road cars from the late 1950s.[16] Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) is now starting to appear in production vehicles such as the 2007 (Mark II) BMW Mini.

Diesel-engined cars

Diesel-engined cars have long been popular in Europe with the first models being introduced as early as 1922 [15] by Peugeot and the first production car, Mercedes-Benz 260 D in 1936 by Mercedes-Benz. The main benefit of diesel engines is a 50% fuel burn efficiency compared with 27%[16] in the best gasoline engines. A down-side of the Diesel engine is that better filters are required to reduce the presence in the exhaust gases of fine soot particulates called diesel particulate matter. Manufacturers are now starting to fit[when?] diesel particulate filters to remove the soot. Many diesel-powered cars can run with little or no modifications on 100% biodiesel and combinations of other organic oil

Fuel and propulsion technologies

Most automobiles in use today are propelled by gasoline (also known as petrol) or diesel internal combustion engines, which are known to cause air pollution and are also blamed for contributing to climate change and global warming.[14] Increasing costs of oil-based fuels, tightening environmental laws and restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions are propelling work on alternative power systems for automobiles. Efforts to improve or replace existing technologies include the development of hybrid vehicles, and electric and hydrogen vehicles which do not release pollution into the air

Morris in Europe

In Europe much the same would happen. Morris set up its production line at Cowley in 1924, and soon outsold Ford, while beginning in 1923 to follow Ford's practise of vertical integration, buying Hotchkiss (engines), Wrigley (gearboxes), and Osberton (radiators), for instance, as well as competitors, such as Wolseley: in 1925, Morris had 41% of total British car production. Most British small-car assemblers, from Abbey to Xtra had gone under. Citroen did the same in France, coming to cars in 1919; between them and other cheap cars in reply such as Renault's 10CV and Peugeot's 5CV, they produced 550,000 cars in 1925, and Mors, Hurtu, and others could not compete.[13] Germany's first mass-manufactured car, the Opel 4PS Laubfrosch (Tree Frog), came off the line at Russelsheim in 1924, soon making Opel the top car builder in Germany, with 37.5% of the market