Here is my idea for a very low polluting, high mileage vehicle. What I propose is that an constant speed engine running in the most power efficient horsepower operating (power) band that would drive an alternator which would in turn move the vehicle via electric motors driving each wheel directly. This would result in a vehicle that could travel longer distances than either a hybrid or pure battery powered versions.
What I am proposing is not so radical as a solely battery powered vehicle nor is it married to any one type of power/fuel source to drive the alternator. The idea of driving just an alternator with the motor staying only within the maximum power/efficiency band to me is a no brainer. Doing so will result in a vehicle that gets excellent mileage with minimum pollution.
To help you understand what I am talking about here is a nice explanation from Definitions, “The power band of an engine or electric motor refers to the range of operating speeds under which the engine or motor is able to operate efficiently. While engines and motors have a large range of operating speeds, the power band is usually a much smaller range of engine speed, only half or less of the total engine speed range. Specifically, power band is defined by the range from peak torque to peak horsepower. For example: combustion engines typically generate maximum torque at perhaps 2500 RPM. The peak horsepower might be 5000 RPM. Such an engine would have a power band of 2500 to 5000 RPM, in which the engine would be very efficient.”
So by mating a conventional low horsepower engine to an highly efficient alternator will result in enough power to directly drive from two to four wheels or more. By using an electric motor at each wheel there is no need for a mechanical differential, which if used would add unneeded additional weight to be dragged around plus the loss of power to the driven wheels due to frictional losses. There is no need for a high horsepower motor that would normally be needed to accelerate a vehicle to cruising speed in a reasonable amount of time. To take care of the power needed for reasonable acceleration a modestly sized battery would be on board and it would also store energy from regenerative braking.
Another plus is the fact that no transmission is needed at all. Not needing one lowers the vehicles weight and does not rob horsepower going to the wheels.
Of course all accessories such as air conditioning, power steering, etc. would of course use the electricity generated by the alternator. There is no need to have the fuel burning engine drive such accessories.
All of the technology already exists to do what I propose. The bulk of the work would be designing the computer system and programming it. What I am proposing is not rocket science nor is it something that would be terribly difficult to achieve. But it would be cheaper to build and operate than any other hybrid vehicle in the long term.
I know that I can not achieve my goal of building such a vehicle, for neither do I have the money nor do I have all the expertise. It is my hope by publicly talking about this that someone will also think that this is a realistic idea and make it a reality.
That is my opinion- Jumpin Jersey Mike