The Future Of Motoring

05 Apr

Sometimes it feels as if it is impossible to keep up with the pace at which cars are improving now. You just have to think about far they have come to find yourself amazed.

The first stationary petrol engine, which was completed on New Year’s Eve 1879, was built by the German engineer Carl Benz (who would later lend his name to Mercedes-Benz of course). The first car would be completed six years later in 1885. It had two seats and 0.75hp. It looked remarkably like a buggy except without the horse. It was driven in public for the first time in 1886 and by 1888, it managed to make a journey of 180 kilometres across Germany. In only 129 years, technology has improved so much that modern production cars can reach speeds of over 270 mph with horsepower of over 1400. Luckily, technology is only going to continue improving. Here are a few things to look out for soon:

While it may be an uncomfortable fact to face, the truth is that combustion engines are exceptionally polluting and they are damaging the environment. Even if this were not the case, the fuel that powers them is in shorter supply every day and the means of extracting it carry with them dangers of their own too. The trend away from traditional engines is both exciting and necessary. One technology that seeks to lead the way is electric cars. They may not be as conventionally interesting as their more familiar counterparts, but there are lots of things about them that are still impressive. For instance, their range has been steadily increasing and many models can now last for over 100 miles (some even boasting about 250 miles). Further, they are now developing rapid charging systems and the batteries themselves are lighter and more efficient. In fact, the running costs of electric cars are now less than conventional cars. One big disadvantage, however, is their still quite expensive purchase price. However, this will decrease as they become more popular, and they will.

Another interesting and innovative form of motoring technology is solar cars. They are mostly in developmental stages at the moment (at least in terms of commercial availability) but teams such as DUEM at Durham University are demonstrating just how great they can be. In terms of fuel, they obviously run on sunlight, which unlike oil, is not likely to run out anytime soon and if it does, the last thing to worry about would be how your car has stopped working. Solar cars are so impressive in fact that they are now able to compete in races of over 3000km. They can reach speeds of 70mph and run on the equivalent power of a kettle. They also weigh only 200 kilograms.

Being a car enthusiast necessarily means embracing new technology. The culture of car developers is such that they are not purists or Luddites in the sense that they hang on to outmoded technology just because it is familiar. The world is changing, and cars need to change with it. It should be embraced.


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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Guest content


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