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There's More Than One Option

Updated: Dec 22, 2022



Over the past few years, electric vehicles (EVs) have become widely popular. An electric vehicle runs partially or entirely on electricity. Unlike standard cars that use fossil fuels, EVs use an electric motor powered by a fuel cell or batteries. In short, they are vehicles that use electric motors for propulsion. These vehicles have greatly helped in the movement towards a greener environment. However, there are other alternatives that are much less well-known. What might those be?


1. Solar


How does it work?


Solar-powered cars are just electric cars that have solar cells on the surface of the vehicle to convert sunlight into electricity. These solar cells are made of silicon, which is a semiconductor. When sunlight hits the semiconductor, the electrons move and travel to the negatively charged side of the cell, causing an electron flow. A few solar cars are currently available to the public; The Lightyear One, Aptera Sol, Sono Motors Sion, Hyundai IONIQ 5, and the Wolfgang Truck.


What are the cons?


The solar panels specifically used for these cars are very expensive. Currently, there’s also not a very good way to make sure that the car is usable even after the sun has set.


What are the pros?


Solar-powered cars have zero emissions and do not use non-renewable resources or burn fuel. Solar cars gain power from the sun, which is a fairly reliable source of power in many places. Finally, these cars provide no fuel costs and are low maintenance.


2. Nitrogen


How does it work?


A liquid nitrogen vehicle is powered by liquid nitrogen that is stored in a tank. Similarly, to conventional engines, a chemical reaction takes place to motorize the engines. A heat exchanger heats the liquid nitrogen, extracting heat from the surrounding air, and uses the produced pressurized gas to operate a rotary motor.


What are the cons?


Since this type of vehicle is still in the process of being developed, scientists are still not sure about the cons of this type of vehicle.


What are the pros?


One advantage of the nitrogen vehicle is that the exhaust gas is just nitrogen, a component of air. Thus, it produces no air pollution in the tailpipe emissions.

3. Hydrogen


How does it work?


Hydrogen-powered cars are also EVs but do not use batteries that power many other EVs. They utilize a fuel-cell stack, where pure hydrogen passes through a membrane to combine with oxygen from the air. This results in electricity that turns the wheels, along with water vapor. Some hydrogen-powered cars are the Hyundai Nexo, Toyota Mirai, and the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell.


What are the cons?


Although hydrogen is an abundant resource, it is expensive. This is because hydrogen is usually bonded with something else, like oxygen. Splitting and liquidizing it for EV use is not cheap.


What are the pros?


Like the previously mentioned vehicles, hydrogen-powered cars produce no harmful emissions, only water vapor. Other advantages include abundant fuel, long usage, and fast charging.



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