Infinity cars

Discussion in 'Energy' started by Generator_X, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. Generator_X

    Generator_X New Member

    Are there any cars which don't need any refueling and can go on and on without stopping to get charged...?

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  2. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Active Member

    There have been a surprising number of proposals for "on-the-fly" charging, which would use wireless charging coils or strips embedded in the road, to provide electric cars with regular bursts of charging as they went by.

    But it would be so absurdly impractical, and astoundingly expensive, to actually build such a system, that this has never progressed beyond a few very short strips of road or highway here and there. Building highways is already horribly expensive on a per-mile basis. The idea that we'd want to make it very much more expensive is... well, it's quite clearly a non-starter.

    However, surprisingly, some city buses do use on-the-fly charging, with charging strips built into dedicated bus lanes. (Obviously those strips are limited to charging just one bus at a time, rather far from what would be needed if most or all cars were designed to be powered that way.) I guess these have proven to be practical at least to some extent, altho as battery prices continue to drop and as the ability to fast-charge batteries keeps improving, I doubt we'll see these systems continue to be installed.

    From MIT Technology Review: "The Case for Building Electric Roads"

    * * * * *

    Moving beyond the semi-practical to the merely theoretical: There is one technology which could propel a car more-or-less forever, or at least for a very long time, without needing fuel or recharging; a miniature nuclear reactor which generates electricity directly, instead of merely generating heat to power a steam engine to generate electricity. The title of an article about the device suggests this is an absurd idea, but actually I see nothing in the details of how it works to suggest it couldn't become a practical method of powering a car someday, if it really can be effectively shielded with nothing thicker than aluminum foil, as the article indicates.

    Please note I'm not expecting a car powered by this device to show up at my local auto dealer anytime soon. ;)
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  3. Jack

    Jack Administrator Staff Member

    This is interesting. I wonder if it would be more cost effective to have a super powerful electric road just at bus stops, this led me to think about stop lights. I know of plenty of intersections in my hometown that were spruced up with brick and stone to make it look nice. If cities are willing to do this, why not make intersections/stop lights into "charge zones". Imagine a world where sitting at a stop light can be a good thing ; )
  4. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Active Member

    I have never understood why anyone would take seriously the idea of installing millions -- or more realistically, hundreds of millions or billions -- of chargers buried in the roads which would charge a car for only a few seconds apiece, instead of just one charger wherever the car is parked at night plus a limited number of public chargers for fast-charging.

    Seriously, who would actually recommend paying for all of that?

    And think it through: Not all roads would have the buried chargers installed. At most, only highways and well-traveled roads would be electrified. BEVs would still have to have a battery pack, so they could be driven on non-electrified roads. So really, what advantage would there be? It would extend the range of BEVs and/or allow them to get along with somewhat smaller battery packs -- but only if they stuck to well-traveled roads. And that's the only advantage. Furthermore, to achieve even that limited goal would be a mind-boggling expense.

    I put this in the daydreamer "Wouldn't it be nice if...?" category, and definitely not in the category of anything we could ever expect to see deployed on a widespread basis.
  5. Jack

    Jack Administrator Staff Member

    Who would recommend building those bus lanes that you referenced? Who would recommend paying for this giant brick star that caused countless hours of traffic and was only constructed a few years ago? Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 10.42.40 AM.png

    I think it is very obvious that the giant brick star (and brick signs with illuminated names of the roads and cities) were a superfluous expense that communicate to all the drivers "This is a nice place to be. We have nice things, you should live here."

    So again I say, If cities are willing to do this, why not make intersections/stop lights into "charge zones"? This may cost more than brick and lights, BUT imagine all the affluent Tesla owners that pull up to a red light and see beautiful intersection in a mostly-residential area. Now imagine these owners directly benefiting from simply sitting there. "It's beautiful, it's new, and it benefits me. I want to live here." If cities could persuade wealthy individuals into giving them their tax money for 10-15 years (kids in school), then you would pay for the intersection many times over. A city could even change it's whole culture and standard of living by attracting riches with gimmicky "charge zones." Property taxes are much more valuable than the cost of a "charge zone".

    The truth is, the technology doesn't even have to be that great - it's all about the perception of it. But if quality and practicality are the obstacles that you struggle to understand, don't underestimate the advances in batteries and charging that are on the horizon.

    Beyond this, think of how many people drive a hybrid and use the short electric range to run errands in town. Short range = small battery = less charge time. In a world with "charge zones", a driver could run to town and back without losing much energy. This would effectively create an infinity car.
    Domenick likes this.

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