The average passenger car requires about 25 horsepower for 90% of its operation. The only time more horsepower is really needed is when the vehicle is accelerating. Unfortunately, current automotive technology has to design the engine for the 10% requirement of relatively high-horsepower, rather than the 90%—leaving the engine running fairly inefficiently 90% of the time.
Current hybrids avoid this by using an electric motor to power the vehicle, and then running a small gasoline engine to provide additional horsepower on a demand basis as well as generate electricity to re-charge the battery pack for the electric motor. However, this isn’t all that efficient an approach either, since even the most modern battery technology is relatively heavy—adding significant weight to the vehicle—and relatively inefficient.
The sad part is that almost 40 years ago a solution was developed that addressed the two major shortcomings of the modern automobile—fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions. Detroit was offered this technology in various forms over the last 40 years, and has consistently refused to even look at it or consider using it, most recently as two years ago. This is one major reason I think Congress should let the auto industry fail—they’ve brought it upon themselves.
The technology in question would allow a full-size passenger vehicle—a sedan capable of carrying five adult passengers—to operate with considerably lower emissions and better fuel efficiency than most cars are capable of today. It would do so without creating toxic hazardous waste in the form of large battery banks as is currently the case with the gasoline-electric hybrids, like the Toyota Prius.
As a coincidence, some of the technology that was touted by Toyota in an magazine ad series a few years back was actually developed for this project almost forty years ago. Toyota had run a series of ads claiming to be the first dual power supply transmission design. They really should have done better research, as that occurred almost forty years ago. When the inventor of the next generation automotive power plant contacted Toyota and informed them of this, the ad campaign quietly disappeared.
If you’re curious about the Next Generation Automobile that was developed almost forty years ago, drop me an e-mail or leave a comment on this blog.