Which Vehicle do YOU Think Can Help Save the World?

A couple of weeks ago I started a poll asking people to vote on which type of vehicle they thought would best help solve our growing environmental problems.  After writing about many of the different types of environmentally friendlier vehicles, reading many of the comments and looking at the votes, it’s relatively clear that we have ourselves a clear cut winner.

So, according to the votes, over 41% of people feel that Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles are the best choice to help solve our growing environmental problems.  Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles were followed by Plug-in Hybrids (27%), Electric Cars (25%) and Ethanol Vehicles (7%).

The fact that three different types of vehicles received 93% of the votes goes to show that in the end we may not be settling on just one of these types of environmentally friendly cars, rather when we go to buy a new car in 10 or 15 years we may have several different environmentally friendly options to choose from.

That’s not to say that these options don’t have their drawbacks; it certainly seems that each of them falls short somewhere along the line.  Whether it’s the lack of infrastructure, continued burning of fossil fuels, or a production of a different type of emission, each of these alternatives leaves something to be desired.

On the same note, most of these technologies are still in their infancies, so as more and more data is gathered, I think these alternative vehicles will have many strengths and very little weaknesses.

Considering it’s now vogue for people to be aware of environmental issues, I think that more money will be flowing into these alternative fuels and that these cars will be available to the public sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, let’s make sure that we’re trying our best to maximize our current car’s gas mileage and minimize the damage we’re doing to the environment.

Comments

  1. Which just goes to show that people don’t really know the pros and cons of these cars and are just reflecting the great job done by all the hydrogen hypesters. Hydrogen is the flavor of the day, but it doesn’t make sense for cars. It’s much more expensive and more pollulting than other alternatives. I recommend reading Joseph Romm’s book The Hype about Hydrogen, or my own book, Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars that will Recharge America for a closer look at why hydrogen won’t save us.
    Sherry Boschert
    http://www.sherryboschert.com

  2. Sherry – thanks for the comment. To be honest, I think that plug-in hybrids are going to be the next big thing, but I’m afraid that they’re only going to be a stop-gap until we come up with a fuel other than gasoline.

  3. Congratulations for being on Hugg!
    I think that the Volt concept will be the best option. Its generator will run on either methane gas from biomass or SVO for now. These cars should give 100+ mpg in the future.
    Building BEV strong enough for tesla like range will be too expensive for purchase and maintenance for the average person.

    Million dollar Fuelcell cars are less fuel efficient then the 25000$ CNG toyota Prius.

    How many folks in your survey?

  4. Henry – thanks for the comment and congratulations. I like Hugg, so it’s always nice to get up there. I think the technology for a lot of these alternative fuels will come down in price, but I think the days of cheap transportation are going to be over before we know it.

    I had 150 responses for the poll.

  5. I’m not sure hydrogen is the best option, at least not yet:

    Overall efficiency (oil well and/or power plant to wheels) of
    alternative fuel cars:

    Liquid Hydrogen Fuel Cell 17%
    Gaseous Hydrogen Fuel Cell 22%
    Gasoline Car 20%
    Diesel car 26%
    Diesel-electric hybrid 33% (with regenerative braking)
    Electric Plug-in Car 66% (with regenerative braking; short range only i.e. 60km/charge)

    http://www.evworld.com/library/fcev_vs_hev.pdf
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_engine#Power_and_fuel_economy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_combustion_engine#Engine_Efficiency
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_fuel_cell#In_practice

  6. This may be of interest to some:

    I’m considering (some day) buying a diesel-electric hybrid with the
    option of plugging in overnight. Such a car could easily run
    exclusively electric on my daily commute to work if I plugged it in
    periodically overnight at home. The question I seek to answer below
    is, how much savings, if any, could I realize by plugging such a car
    in overnight versus running my existing diesel 1997 VW Golf?

    Why post this? In case you or someone you know might have the
    same question and save you the effort of calculating.

    Assume 73% Efficiency [1] for plug-in charge/discharge losses plus
    friction losses, assuming regenerative braking (wall to wheels)

    Conversions: 1 GJ = 277.8 kWhr = 25 L diesel (40MJ/L [3])

    Golf gets 12.5 to 17 km/L (winter to summer)

    Assume average 14 km/L diesel to move car in city

    8 km to work each way * 2 = 16km/day

    assume 16km/day on weekends as well for misc driving

    Fuel used = 16/14 = 1.14 L diesel/day

    Daily Cost of diesel = 1.14 * $1/L = $1.14/day

    Efficiency of Golf ~26% [2]

    Diesel used to move car = 1.14*0.26 = 0.30 L diesel/day

    Power required to move car = 0.30*277.8/25 = 3.3 kWhr/day

    Power required from grid to charge car: 3.3/0.73 = 4.5 kWhr/day

    Cost of power = 4.5 kWhr*$0.08/kWhr = $0.36/day

    Savings per day = $1.14 – $0.36 = $0.78/day

    Savings per year = 365 days/yr *0.78 = $285/yr

    Sources:

    [1] http://www.evworld.com/library/fcev_vs_hev.pdf
    [2]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_engine#Power_and_fuel_economy
    [3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel#Petroleum_diesel

  7. THP – thanks for the comments and for the resources. Like you, I’m very interested in these plugin hybrids, and I’m actually considering buying a regular hybrid and having the necessary modifications done to it. That being said, I’m afraid the car will get screwed up and I’ll be out 25 grand!

  8. Ermm… Bicycle?

    We moved closer to the city, so that we could cycle-commute to work. Another friend choses jobs close to where he works so he can cycle there.

    I’m mindful (of course) that this solution doesn’t work for everyone. Howver, there are many, many people who could cycle (or even walk!) and choose to take their car.

  9. Seth Gibson says

    This is a great article with one small problem and it is the same difficulty that we as Americans face every day: SAVING THE WORLD. Here is an interesting spin relating to this topic that I would like to know: Which Vehicle do YOU Think Can Save the American economy?

    I am not well-versed with computer and do not know the first thing about launching this discussion, maybe someone could take the initiative and help kick off this idea into gear.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Which Vehicle do YOU Think Can Help Save the World? by Daily Fuel alternative fuel cars: Liquid Hydrogen Fuel Cell 17% Gaseous Hydrogen Fuel Cell 22% Gasoline Car 20% Diesel car 26% Diesel-electric hybrid 33% (with regenerative braking) […]

  2. […] results from the GasBuddy.com poll were pretty much in line with a similar poll I ran back in April, which asked, “which type of vehicle do you think will best help solve […]

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