Environment


An interesting picture of the automotive future has been described by Michelle Krebs at Readers Digest starting with the a description of the automotive everyday live in 2020. The picture looks very much the same as others, who have taken a glance into the crystal ball. Sooner or later, we all expect the car to be personalized and able to find its way autonomously.
Different to others, Krebs asks so questions, the automobile industry doesn’t consider very often within “cheery visions” – that is, who or what will provide all the energy needed. Gasoline is getting more and more expensive (see Current Gas Prices and Price Histroy), though new alternatives need to be found. According to most expertises, sooner or later, hydrogen will replace gasoline as the number one resource for energy in vehicular traffic. Current trends of German car production confirm the consumers search for power alternatives. The following chart shows the trends in German automobile production (Data Source: Daten zur Automobilwirtschaft, Ausgabe 2008, Verband der Automobilindustrie) concerning energy resources.

Next to new ways to build car engines (hybrid, electric, or hydrogen engines) to satisfy the growing power demand in individual traffic, I believe that managing traffic in a smarter way should be mentioned much more often when discussing questions of energy consumption in vehicular traffic.

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This article is still a stub, so don’t take it too seriously 😉

I have been thinking about the following question:

If we equip our cars of the future with additional car electonics and communication equipment (which for sure consumes some additional power and consequently additional fuel) and add some smart traffic flow applications on top – which provide you with a smoother ride and claim a less overall fuel consumption – how good do they have to be to make you smile on your next trip to the gas station?

I see a metric here for determining the quality of such applications: Liters per 100 kilometers (well, there are for sure other metrices out there which also play a role: average driver stress reduction per hour, traffic jam length reduction per day, number of vehicle generated deaths per year – to name just a few that pop into mind – but for now let’s face on our precious environment).

If your application for traffic flow increases the fuel consumption and the CO2 production because you need a small mainframe in your vehicle to run the calculations – should you rethink if you really want to do this?

Soon I want to post some hard numbers here. Because the additional power consumption should be equally divided along all applications running on your vehicular PC. And there is still the power needed for manufacturing and recycling your hardware, which should not be left out of the equation.

I see a matrix here (right now filled with bogus information):

Application Savings
Speed advisory application 0.5 liters / 100 km
Turning off air conditioning 0.5 liters / 100 km

Let’s see, when I find the time for that… HELP! 🙂