It has been relatively frustrated to follow, how such a simple thing as power plant principle and its optimization takes ages to arrive to automotive industry. THE industry, where the development has been considered shiny and glory, fast and always the state-of-art. Formula 1 and Ferraris and all the shining stuff. This, at least in mind of great public, is continuously thirsty for landmarks in automobile exhibitions.
SHIPS HAS BEEN USING THE POWER PLANT OPTIMIZATION FOR AGES
Meanwhile, dog-bidden and shady marine industry and its ships has been using the power plant optimization for ages. What comes to the operational planning, electrical ships are light-years ahead of automotive. Everybody in modern marine system design knows that wide operation profile requires more than just one power source.
Thanks to the huge consumption, our every day bread has been coming from squeezing out fractions of persentage of consumption. Our bad track record of using old-fashioned gear makes us the leaders of know-how in this field. Crazy, but true.
Of course there are many good reasons for this situation. I do not want to say that all people working on automotive industry don`t know what they are doing. Quite opposite! They know exactly what they are doing, but industrial engineering is focusing on things that have not been in focus for marine application engineers.
As the world is in the edge of falling into the troubled waters, maybe it would be time for engineers to open the window and take targets from the nature around us?
SUCCESSFUL POWER PLANT DESIGN
There are two ways to successful power plant design. Either you limit and accept the limits … or you aim for maximum flexibility. What Citroën did last month, was a perfect example how to limit the operations and make everybody to accept this. They announced a very small electrical car (that can even be driven with moped driving license), which is available with a very small monthly fee.
This kind of concept does look tempting not only for the teenagers, but also for adults using full cars. I sincerely hope that I am not a victim of false advertising. This small unit does the bottom half of needed power curve of the automotive. You can use it for local tasks but for long distance or carry loads you need to use something else. This is acceptable for me, as I know it from the beginning. I accept the limitation. Great audience will accept the limitation, because it brings the savings in wallet and on emissions.
RADICALLY SMALLER KW RATINGS MEANS SMALLER EMISSIONS
When I am ready to accept this limitation, I allow the engine size to be much less than with traditional dimensioning. This is exactly what is needed in todays world! Radically smaller kw-ratings means smaller emissions in the electricity production. Just driving a hybrid car (with similar energy consumption as best fuel engine) is not an improvement step.
This is the fact that frustrates me the most! When installed power in car energy sources is reduced to less than half, we can start expecting meaningful step in reduction of traffic emissions. This is where Citroën is now heading.
Now it remains to see, if Citroën – or some other smart car manufacturer – adopts the rest from marine power plant principle. There is still much more to adopt. Maybe next we will see an additional cargo part with additional energy source, that can be added to a small city module and by using these two parts parallel?
The car could be optimized then for 90 km/h operations with longer range. Maybe this additional module could be rented from the service station? Maybe there will be also a van module available for moving things?
Please carry on. Make the concept full! I want you to open the ketchup bottle of emission reductions.
Maybe you would like to read also about All electrical ship, generation 0.1.