Powering the Future

By: Mateo Sanguinetti Fa

Image by Car and Driver

Recently most companies are starting to move towards more eco-friendly powered cars. With the almost immediate success Tesla had it would be a terrible financial decision to keep cars running on ICE (Internal Combustion Engine). Not only is this a great financial decision it’s also great for the environment and could drop pollution by a huge number. But a question that is presented is which is better: Hydrogen powered cars, electric cars, or maybe even another fuel source?

Image by afdc.enegry.gov

Let’s start with a less commonly heard of fuel source, Hydrogen. To overly simplify the way the work is by separating hydrogen into protons and electrons which go to their respective parts and then the electron provides power by going through a cathode which provides the power. Hydrogen powered cars on paper seem pretty good and the car itself is so emission free that when it needs to dispose of its waste it is literally water. Compared to electric cars it has far more range than any Tesla you’ll find, they also have a 5–10 minute charging time like petrol so why is there an abundance of them? Well you see the cost of these cars are not cheap, the MSRP for a Toyota Mirai, one of the most popular models out there right now, is around 50,000 dollars. On top of that the cost for fuel isn’t very nice either, around 90 dollars for a full tank, although Toyota gives you 15,000 dollars in credit for fuel stations if you aren’t living in California have fun trying to find one; in the entire united states there are only 39, 35 in California alone. Assuming you live in California and have the money to buy a Toyota Mirai should you? Well it depends, the car would be great for a daily driver and having some far trips, by far I mean one end of California to the other much farther and you’ll run out of fuel, but beyond that there is no way that these cars are worth it.

image by the car connection

So hydrogen cars seem great on paper but how about something that’s good in the real world, electric cars. Electric cars have been the buzz recently with the announcement of companies like Mercedes-Benz and all of GM going full electric by around 2030. Although this may be sad for car enthusiasts like me, I can assure everyone that it’s for the better of the world. Although compared to hydrogen cars their range is still impressive, early electric vehicles could do around 100 miles and modern electric vehicles can do between 200 miles and 300 miles. Quite the impressive feat if you ask me, on top of that expect to see cars that are usually run on fuel like a civic or a corolla to have EV options in the future as EV is the way to go. But all of this doesn’t come cheap, it is still around the range of 50k like the hydrogen cars but compared to both this is still a better option in general. Prices are expected to go down as the supply increases.

image by Car and Driver

Although Electric cars are taking the world by storm, a little-big horse by the name of Porsche is developing e-fuel. Porsche recently said in a press release that they will be starting out 34,340 gallons of this E-fuel and testing on their popular and very well known 911 GT3, their top of the line sports cars. Porsche says that when this synthetic fuel goes live it will reduce Co2 in the air by 85%. That is incredibly high considering that even electric cars still produce emissions as lithium, which is what the batteries still have to be mined and made. Considering that synthetic fuels do take over we won’t have to ditch our gas guzzling cars instead, offer mainly expensive in the short run but a cheaper solution in the long run alternative to reduce carbon emissions. So how much can we really trust this given its coming from such a company like Porsche, well we can actually trust this a good amount, although maybe the 85% is achievable they will still produce the same amount of emissions as electric vehicles which although sounds bad means that it’s worth it, Let me explain. Electric vehicles cost around 100 times more emissions wise to produce compared to gas cars but since after that initial cost it does not produce anymore emissions it’s worth it as cars in as little as a year nearly triples that.

image by Sunday times driving

So what do you think will lead to the future? Personally I’m all for synthetic fuels as they will save everyone money considering that you don’t have to get a whole new car but can still appreciate that electric vehicles exist. Or maybe hydrogen power will overcome these? Who knows as long as cars still get me from point A to B and I can have it in it, I’ll go for it.

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