Automotive manufacturers not only aim at making advanced modified internal combustion engines but are also looking forward to find engines powered by alternate sources of energy. Cylinder deactivation and Direct Fuel Injection have become common in today’s world. The manufacturers are also using turbochargers and superchargers with small engines to make them fuel efficient while being able to deliver the same torque and power similar to the large engines.
A notable advancement in hybrid cars is now getting popular. This was first introduced in Chevrolet Volt and it solves the problem with charging the electric motor on the go. The car has a gasoline powered engine and that recharges the battery pack if the battery level falls below a particular level. Many such ideas are to get shape in the future.
More cars like Honda Civic Sedan that is capable of operating by natural gas is to hit the road in the future. Fuel cell powered cars are also making their way into the market. A fuel cell works by a chemical reaction that happens inside the cell. This produces electricity and that electricity is either used to directly power the electric motor or it is stored in the rechargeable battery pack. The byproduct of this reaction is usually water which can be converted to steam if circulated to carry the heat away from the system. This is very advantageous as the byproduct of the chemical reaction is not harmful for the environment.
Direct Injection Ethanol Engine is an advancement to the IC engines as well as alternate fuel engines. The reason why more efficient IC engines weren’t possible was because of the dependence of compression ratio on the fuel used. Higher compression ratios were impossible because of the use of petrol and diesel. Ethanol is capable of withstanding higher compression ratios and hence the usage of the same can increase the efficiency of the engine.
Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems are to be popular in the future too. The principle is that when a car is braking, the kinetic energy is lost as heat. This loss in kinetic energy can be recovered by connecting the flywheel while braking to a generator thus producing electricity to recharge the batteries. This has been adopted by leading manufacturers in the world like Volvo and Jaguar to improve the fuel efficiency.
In the near future, it seems that the innovative Internal combustion engines and variations in electric motors are most likely the available options for vehicle propulsion.