It’s hard to believe how far transportation technology has come in just a few years. At the beginning of the 21st century, cities around the world were choking due to extremely polluted air, and efficient public transit only existed in the most densely populated cities.
Today, concern for the environment has driven development of cleaner and greener transportation systems, and public as well as private groups are working hard to connect cities like never before — for example, Elon Musk is hard at work on a hyperloop that would make the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles just 30 quick minutes.
However, perhaps the most notable innovations are seen in our personal vehicles. In the year 2000, the most fuel-efficient car on the road boasted only about 30 miles per gallon of gas — and that was on highways under ideal conditions.
Today, some hybrid-electric cars can travel upwards of 130 miles on a single gallon of fuel, all while running fantastic entertainment systems. Still, even greater car innovations are on the horizon — any many have their roots in tech that already exists in cars on the road right now. Here’s a glimpse of the car of the future.
Today, the majority of automobiles run on petroleum gasoline, which — aside from being increasingly expensive and hazardous to acquire — is death to global environments. Traditional car exhausts spew all sorts of toxic pollutants into the air, including greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and more. Thankfully, a cleaner solution exists: Hydrogen.
Hydrogen is the simplest element, and it is full of energy. In fact, NASA has used liquid hydrogen fuel to power space shuttles since the 1970s. Currently, land-based fuel cell vehicles can travel more than 300 miles without refilling, which is much farther than electric vehicles and only a smidge less than the most advanced hybrid engines.
Regardless of the distance traveled, the most plentiful emission produced by hydrogen engines is regular, clean water. Plus, hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the universe, existing naturally in nearly every compound on earth, from water to natural gas to all living things. Thus, there is no shortage of hydrogen for humans to cultivate for fuel.
Electric car–proponent Elon Musk calls the idea of hydrogen-powered vehicles “incredibly dumb,” but nearly every other car expert is ecstatic over the development of hydrogen fuel cells. Already, Honda, Toyota, and other car brands have plans to release hydrogen cars during the coming year — but only in select regions where hydrogen pumps are available.