Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Use many power sources for cars
  [vote for,

Gasoline-Electric Hybrid cars are opening the possibility of allowing multiple sources of electrical power. Why not go hog wild?

Make a hybrid car, for starters, with an additional battery that can be plugged into main.

Next replace parts of the roof, hood, and trunk with solar panels. And plug those solar panels into the battery.

And how about a "battery charging pedal", a pedal that spins a small generator and charges the main battery. The driver can power the battery and keep fit and active. You could have a "reverse cigarette lighter" that it could plug into, and people could choose various mechanisms to power it - the driver with pedals underneath, or any passenger with either pedals or hand cranks.

And next, we can use a more efficient engine. Instead of running the car from the gasoline engine, you can use a more efficient engine that can take many types of fuel, such as a Stirling engine. The engine can run even when the car is off to generate power for the battery. A computer can control when the engine is needed or when solar power is sufficient. When a battery is full, if a car is plugged in it can simply push out the extra to the grid. http://www.stirlingengine.com/faq/one? scope=public&faq_id=1#3

You may need an advanced analog computer transformer to "clean" up the energy from pedals, solar, stirling engines, and the power grid. The transformer could transform direct current and alternating current of various voltages to the battery's charging type, and it could also choose to push energy directly to the motor bypassing the battery.

Finally, I proudly propose using a transparent surface on the road, and storing solar panels underneath. The road may cost more, but you get electricity from planetary surface area that simply was not being used for growing plants. You can then plug that electricity into main, or have charging stations along the road.

Oh, and use more ethanol and less gasoline. E85 (85% Ethanol) is now much cheaper than gas at the pump most places and produces 80% of the power output.

grinch, Jun 01 2005


       Optional live bird tethers on the roof, so you can attach a few seagulls.
phundug, Jun 01 2005

       And giant springs on the bumpers so you can more efficiently transmit/recieve energy from colliding cars.
daseva, Jun 01 2005

       Don't forget the sail, for windy days. And the windmill (to be used in the parking lot only).
Worldgineer, Jun 01 2005

       Transparent concrete is real, btw: http://www.economist.com/ science/tq/displayStory.cfm? Story_ID=779421   

       Solar panel efficiency is about %15, and there are billions of square meters of roads out there.   

       A square meter of low mass thin film solar panels operating at a typical efficiency level of 12% will generate 1500 kwh of energy per year in space, which is about $60 worth.   

       Multiply by a billion sq. meters of road (Think Rt. 66 or I-95), and you have $60 billion worth of energy to tap.
grinch, Jun 01 2005

       (use the link button to add links)   

       Unless you at least come up with clear rubber, clear concrete won't help much. Your tires lay down a layer of rubber with an average thickness of a rubber molecule everywhere you drive. Sure, most of this is at corners and anywhere you stop, but people stop about anywhere.
Worldgineer, Jun 01 2005

       Oh yeah, they also move too. In fact, they do most of this so called "moving" on roads, where they block the sunlight from hitting the road because they are not transparent, no matter how fast they move. At any rate, your generous 60 billion needs to be cut.   

       Oh, and the cost of all that paneling? say $1200/sq.m * 1 billion sq.m = 1.2 trillion dollars. That's alot.   

       Okay, world energy consumption = 200 million btu per capita. Say, 6 billion in the world * 200 million = 1.2 trillion million btu. Average cost per million btu = 9 dollars. Cost of energy consumption = 10 trillion dollars. So, your design would cost 1/10th of the world's energy demand in a year. Not horrible, but what is returned? 1 kWh = 3411 btu. 1.5 trillion kWh = 5 billion million btu. 5 billion / 1.2 trillion = .41 % of the world's energy consumption in a year. Soo...   

       We seem to have used 10% of the worlds energy costs in a year to gain .41% of the energy in a year. The roads would pay themselves off in 25 years. hmm.   

       Dosen't sound that bad.   

       Oh yeah, cars on the roads, lowers the available area, make that payoff date somewhere between 25 years and 50 years... Hmm. Don't know how to feel about this.
daseva, Jun 01 2005

       I think you're dreaming at $1,200/sq.m. According to Travis county TX website "The typical cost can range from $750,000 to over $1M per mile." for reconstruction of regular asphalt roads. And that's per linear mile, not square.
Worldgineer, Jun 01 2005

       I'm not speaking about the cost of roads. That cost is there wether you like it or not, so just ignore it. Like ether.   

       All my figures are sourced, from one place or another... Just have to half trust a half baker...
daseva, Jun 01 2005

       //Oh, and use more ethanol and less gasoline.//
I drink only ethanol...just doing my part.
ldischler, Jun 02 2005

       Some interesting ideas you have here. If all the car companies of the world ever unite under one name, and finally decide to bring those economic cars into full production, I hope you're on the design team.   

       I gave you a bun, 'cause you're idea is a positive one .. and not one about making bullets more effective.
kuupuuluu, Jun 02 2005

       Great, now package all of those components into a viable car without it being a supertanker. Do that, and you can have my job.
RayfordSteele, Jun 03 2005

       Great points, desava. I put this onto halfbakery because it's just a bunch of random ideas not clearly ready for production. I'd like to mod a hybrid to see what doodads would be positive-energy producing. I don't think the sail s was the best idea :) But I may try springs :)   

       Think globally, act locally on the road. You can't rebuild I-95 in 20 years, but a transparent concrete driveway could be a good proof of concept.
grinch, Jun 03 2005


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