Automobiles – Changing trends in India and World

Dhirajlal K. Chauhan
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Automobiles in use today – The automobiles invariably run on petrol, diesel, or CNG, LNG and even on LPG. The use of these fuels causes varying degrees of pollution in the atmosphere. Diesel being most notorious due to higher proportion of Sulphur dioxide gas. Recent incident being in the national capital region (NCR).The level of pollution reached in NCR an alarming proportion leading to closure of schools and the people being forced to wear gas masks to go out. Even people were advised to stay in doors to because of air pollution.
Apart from pollution, the cost of fuel is a worrisome factor due to rising petroleum crude prices, huge government levies on the petrol, diesel and gas in India. Then there is a fear of crude reserves getting exhausted soon. Several national and local governments have established tax credits, subsidies, and other incentives to promote the introduction and now adoption in the mass market of new electric vehicles depending on battery size and their all-electric range.
Such circumstances force the automobile manufacturers to develop alternate types of vehicles to protect environment, offset the cost of fuel to some extent and to stay ahead in the business because of competition.
The main alternative vehicles are those operating on the batteries alone or those
using combination of fuel and batteries known as Hybrid vehicles.

Battery driven automobiles - The first practical electric cars were produced in the 1880s.Electric cars were popular in the late 19th century and early 20th century, until advances in internal combustion engines, electric starters in particular, and mass production of cheaper gasoline vehicles led to a decline in the use of electric drive vehicles. In 1897, electric cars found their first commercial use in the USA. In place of internal combustion engine, an electric motor drives this vehicle and the motor gets electric power through batteries. Unlike gasoline-powered vehicles, the electric ones are quieter and do not require gear changes.
Where oil is imported, use of electric vehicles can reduce imports and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to Internal Combustion engines.
These automobiles do not cause any pollution i.e. there are no tailpipe pollutants such as particulates (soot), volatile organic compounds, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone, lead, and various oxides of nitrogen.
Electric motors are more efficient than internal combustion engines in converting stored energy into driving a vehicle.
Since 2008, a renaissance in electric vehicle manufacturing has occurred due to advances in batteries. As of December 2015, there were over 30 models of highway legal all-electric passenger cars and utility vans available world over. Cumulative global sales of highway-capable light-duty pure electric vehicles passed one million units in total, globally, in September 2016.
Great effort is taken to keep the mass of an electric vehicle as low as possible to improve its range and endurance. However, the weight and bulk of the batteries themselves usually makes an EV heavier than a comparable gasoline vehicle, reducing range and leading to longer braking distances. However, in a collision, the occupants of a heavy vehicle will, on average, suffer fewer and less serious injuries than the occupants of a lighter vehicle; therefore, the additional weight brings safety benefit.
Performance of Battery driven car – see Table 1 below.

Performance of Battery driven car                                                                                   Table 1

However, drivers can sometimes suffer from range anxiety - the fear that the batteries will be depleted before reaching their destination.

Electric vehicle battery - While most current highway-speed electric vehicle designs focus on lithium-ion and other lithium-based variants, a variety of alternative batteries can also be used. Lithium-based batteries are often chosen for their high power and energy density but have a limited shelf life and cycle lifetime which can significantly increase the running costs of the vehicle. Variants such as Lithium iron phosphate and Lithium-titanate attempt to solve the durability issues of traditional lithium-ion batteries.

Other battery types include lead acid batteries which are still the most used form of power for most of the electric vehicles used today. The initial construction costs are significantly lower than for other battery types, but the power to weight ratio is poorer than other designs, Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) which are somewhat heavier and less efficient than lithium ion, but also cheaper. Several other battery chemistries are in development such as zinc-air battery which could be much lighter and liquid batteries that might be rapidly refilled, rather than recharged, are also under development.
Acceleration and drivetrain design

Acceleration and drivetrain designFigure 1: Rimac Concept One, Electric supercar

(This car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.5 seconds, 1224 hp).

Hybrid vehicles – Henri Pieper developed the world’s first petro-electric hybrid automobile in 1899. In these vehicles, the energy is stored in the fuel of the internal combustion engine and an electric battery set. A hybrid vehicle has a clutch between the engine and the rotational electrodynamic unit. A driving energy transmission mechanism is provided between the clutch and the rotational electrodynamic unit for transmitting driving energy to an appliance such as an alternator. When driving the engine, the clutch is closed by a clutch controlling unit, and the engine makes the rotational electrodynamic unit function as a generator to operate the appliances. When the engine is stopped, the clutch is opened by the clutch controlling means, and the rotational electrodynamic unit is caused to operate as a motor to operate the appliances. In the system where the appliances are driven by the engine, the appliances are kept being operated even after the engine stops.
(See Figure 2 for basic concept of these vehicles).
How Hybrids WorkFigure 2 : How Hybrids Work


Toyota, Honda, Ford Motors, Nissan are among the leading manufacturers of such vehicles. Saturn Vue, Toyota Prius, Toyota Yaris, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Honda Insight, Honda Civic Hybrid, Lexus RX 400h and 450h are among some of the models of these automobiles. 

Figure 4Figure 5

Figure 4 : FORD Escape Plug-in Hybrid with a      Figure 5 : Toyota Prius Prime has all electric range 

Flexible fuel capability to run on Ethanol.               of 40 km.

Batteries for Hybrid cars - Today most hybrid car batteries are either 1) Nickel metal hydride or 2) Lithium ion; both are regarded as more environmentally friendly than lead-based batteries which constitute the bulk of petrol car starter batteries today. Though hybrid cars consume less fuel than conventional cars, there is still an issue regarding the environmental damage of the hybrid car battery. Lithium ion battery is the least toxic.

In addition to its smaller size and lighter weight, lithium-ion batteries deliver performance that helps to protect the environment with features such as improved charge efficiency, can produce a voltage more than three times that of Nickel–metal hydride battery cell while simultaneously storing large quantities of electricity as well.
These batteries also produce higher output (boosting vehicle power), higher efficiency (avoiding wasteful use of electricity), and provide excellent durability, compared with the life of the battery being roughly equivalent to the life of the vehicle. Use of lithium-ion batteries reduces the overall weight of the vehicle and also achieves improved fuel economy of 30% better than petro-powered vehicles with a consequent reduction in CO2 emissions helping to prevent global warming.
In addition, a technique of Regenerative braking is used to reduce fuel consumption and/or increase power output from the engine using the extra energy from the brakes. (see Figure 6).
Regenerative brakingFigure 6: Regenerative braking

Scenario of Electric vehicles in India - In India, Mahindra Electric Mobility Ltd is manufacturing City car and Sedan models. There are a few manufacturers like Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors who make city buses and few others who produce
Electric auto rickshaws.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle - These cars can emerge as an alternative to all types of vehicles discussed above. Hydrogen gas is used as a fuel to obtain power for driving the car. However, presently these cars are under developmental stage and there are limitations on generation of Hydrogen gas and its storage. These are totally
pollution free and release only water vapours.
A bright future awaits these cars as soon as these problems are overcome.

Conclusion - It is imperative that if mankind has to protect itself from the menace of air pollution, gasoline driven vehicles should pave way to Hybrid vehicles to get partial relief and Battery driven vehicles to get complete relief.
Hydrogen fuel cell driven vehicles would be the ultimate choice.