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The Water Fueled Car

The world energy crisis which first manifested itself in the 1970′s and resulted in huge increases in world oil prices continues to put a hole in our pockets. Since that time scientists have been looking for alternatives to prevent the ever decreasing world reserves being the causation of a global financial crisis.

Coupled with the economic concerns, recent concern over global warming and the environment have also contributed to opinion that we can not sustain our current reliance on fossil fuels. What are the alternatives though?

Surprisingly enough, a great deal of research has been put into the use of water as an energy source. The water powered car goes back as far as 1930′s and has recently come back into vogue in the search for alternative fuels.

Many would find the idea of a water powered car as ridiculous but there is a great amount of scientific research behind it. The general principle is that the water is subject to an electrical current, which causes splitting of the water atoms into Hydrogen and Oxygen, termed Brown’s Gas (after Yull Brown a scientist who conducted a lot of research in this field in the 1970′s), this gas is them combusted to produce energy. The following reactions show the process involved.

2H2O ‘ 2H2 + O2 [Electrolysis step] 2H2 + O2 ‘ 2H2O [Combustion step]

This technology is currently under many patents, including one owned by Hydrogen Technology Applications, who is reportedly in discussions with a major automotive manufacturer. Honda have also produced a “Hydrogen” concept car, which in fact runs on this technology and despite it’s naming, which is only due to the fact that it combusts hydrogen, essential runs on water.

Although we have not currently discovered an economical method to utilise the theory as it stand, many companies have already begun using hybrid technology, which involves supplementing a normal cars fuel supply with water, after installation of an electrolysis device on the fuel intake system. Despite how difficult this sound it is reportedly quite easy to convert your current auto to a water powered car.

As the search for alternatives continues slowly it is interesting as a bystander to observe the advances being utilised and ignored due to economic concerns. It will be very interesting to see what the future holds and what other current perceptions will be blown out of the water in the future.

The BMW I8 Concept: A Luxury Hybrid

For those familiar with the global automotive scene, then you will most likely know what a concept car is like. If not, then for your information, concept cars are essentially designs from the different car manufacturing companies that give us an idea on what to expect from cars in the future. Usually, the most intriguing concept cars come from the German and the Japanese car companies. This is because they are the ones who usually come up with the most realistic and the most captivating designs in the industry. One concept car that stands out from the rest is the BMW i8, also known as the BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics. It is part of BMW’s “Project i” and was initially unveiled in 2011 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Project i is what BMW deems to be the next prominent hallmark in the company’s already illustrious history. Its main objective is to introduce the new type of car, intent on revolutionizing the whole industry. The BMW i8, identified as new luxury car by many critics is expected to go into production by this year.

Exterior

Its exterior makes it one of the most dynamic looking concept cars. This futuristic looking car is made with the most advanced materials available. For instance, its chassis is made from super lightweight aluminum. Its sunroof, windows, as well as the windshield, is made from polycarbonate glass. The doors are totally transparent. This provides you with a clear view of the car’s interior.

Interior

The BMW i8 is a coupe, and it can accommodate up to four people. There are two pairs of leather seats at the front and back. The control panels are arranged in such a way that it enables you to enjoy the power this sports car has while still remaining in complete control.

Features and Performance

The BMW i8 is an ecofriendly car that does not sacrifice practicality with performance. However, unlike the i3, the i8 concept was designed specifically for the sports car fanatic. Its performance is reminiscent of the top of the line sports car, yet it is still extremely fuel efficient. It can go from 0-60 in under 5 seconds (4.8 seconds to be exact). It has a top speed of 160 miles per hour. It also emits tremendously low amounts at 99 grams per kilometer. It has a fuel consumption rating of 70 mpg. This means that it consumes only 3 liters of fuel for every 100 kilometer. This is the most salient feature of this new breed of luxury car.

The i8 is a plug-in hybrid that comes equipped with a high performance 1.5 liter, 3 cylinder combustion engine. This engine packs 220 horsepower and 221 lb-ft torque. This monster of a machine works in perfect unison with the other two electric engines. The lithium ion battery can be charged using a power supply. This battery is what enables the car to travel up to 20 miles without any fuel on its tank. The complementary design between sports car elements and ecofriendly environmentalism is what defines the i8.

This high tech and ecofriendly luxury car will be made available for purchase by 2014.

Korean Car Designers Set To Conquer Auto Industry

The auto industry has always been known to be a dynamic industry. Year in and year out, car makers look for ways to improve their production vehicles. They focus not only on the performance of their car but also in the looks of these automobiles.

That is why car designers have always played a key role in the auto industry. In connection with this, car makers are always on the lookout for promising students. Lately, the industry has found a new spot where talented car design students thrive: South Korea.

While the country has only a short time of car making history compared to Japanese and Western countries, students from the country are touted to be one of the best in the world. Koreans have been employed by car manufacturers like Nissan and Mercedes-Benz. Some attributes that these South Korean designers have that impressed chief designers from the aforementioned car makers are their technical skills, work ethic, and creativity.

Shiro Nakamura, the chief Creative Officer and Head of Design for Nissan, said that: “When I first saw the sketches that Korean students were drawing, I was utterly shocked. Their design is very emotional and powerful. I hate to say it, but they are miles ahead of Japanese students, both in terms of design sense and technique. There’s no comparison”. He further said that Nissan will probably hire more Korean designers this year than Japanese ones.

The most known school where South Korean designers come from is the Hongik University which is located in the country’s capital. The university is the country’s top fine arts school. The Seoul-based school only offered the transportation design course in 1990, last year the number of students accommodated is doubled to 120.

Aside from homegrown talents, South Korea also produced some of the best young designers in the world. On of them is Jae Chung. He did not study in South Korea but out in the West. He graduated from the Art Center in California. Today he is now working for Dodge and the interesting fact is that he penned the Dodge Demon sports coupe currently on display at the 77th Geneva International Auto Show.

Ralph Gilles, the Vice President of Design for Chrysler, has this to say about Chung: “He was born in Korea and went to school in Pasadena. And it’s just like anything -you get exposed to the school, you get exposed to Chrysler and Dodge and out comes this new aesthetic.”

Another Korean, and also an alumnus of the Art Center, Han Seung Lee landed a job at Honda. Lee, in turn, penned the Sports 4 Concept shown to the public at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2005. This shows that Koreans have what it takes to take on the world of car designing as sure as a Mercedes H&K air filters are efficient when it comes to doing their job.

Another chief designer which expressed admiration toward Korean design students is Koichi Hayashi, Deputy General Manager of Design for Mazda. He said that: “There’s a real passion among Korean designers to advance and succeed that exceeds what you see in Japanese students.” Currently, he has four Korean designers working for him at their Hiroshima headquarters.

The emergence of South Korea as a source of talented car designers is a good news for Japanese car makers. Due to the similarities in language structure and working culture of Japan and South Korea, Korean designers have an edge over their Western counterparts when applying for a job in any Japanese car company. Furthermore, Koreans are more willing than Westerners to work for relatively low starting salaries offered by Japanese car companies.

According to Nakamura, “all the pieces are in place, right now, young Korean designers are most sought after by Japanese carmakers but they can make it in the West anytime.” But Korean students should not rest on their laurels since in the near future – other countries in the world will also be producing design students at par with them. Countries like China, Russia, and India have all invested in training their car design students to be competitive in the auto industry.