An alternative fuel vehicle is a motor vehicle manufactured with the ability to operate on alternative fuels, which are those that supply power to the motor without relying exclusively on petroleum fuels such as gasoline and diesel. Among the alternative fuel vehicles include electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, flex vehicles, natural gas vehicles, solar vehicles and hydrogen vehicles.
Between 2008 and 2009 were in circulation in the world around 34 million alternative fuel vehicles and advanced technology, representing nearly 5% of the global fleet of light vehicles. The largest fleet of alternative fuel and advanced technology the world are:
About 19.3 million flexible fuel vehicles in 2009, circulating with mixtures of ethanol and gasoline as fuel, mainly in Brazil (9.3 million), United States (about 9.0 million) Canada (600 thousand) and Europe, led by Sweden (181 thousand). In addition, a total of 183.375 flex-fuel motorcycles were sold in Brazil in 2009.
About 9.6 million natural gas vehicles vehicular circulation in 2008, led by Pakistan (2.0 million), Argentina (1.7 million), Brazil (1.6 million), Iran (1.0 million) and India (650 thousand).
Between 2.4 and 3 million vehicles still in use pure alcohol in Brazil, of the 5.7 million vehicles manufactured since 1979 Lightness to run only on ethanol fuel.
More than 2.5 million hybrid electric vehicles in 2009, led by the United States with 1.6 million, followed by Japan (over 640 thousand) and Europe (over 235 thousand). A global hybrid models manufactured by Toyota Motor Corporation exceeded the historical mark of 2 million vehicles sold in August 2009.
Vehicles using hydrogen diatomic hydrogen as its primary energy source for propulsion. There are two methods for generating propulsion, combustion or fuel cell conversion. In combustion, the hydrogen is burned in a combustion engine, the same way as gasoline. In the conversion of fuel cell, hydrogen is converted into electricity through fuel cell electric motors that move – that way, the fuel cell functions as a kind of battery. With either method, the main byproduct of hydrogen is water consumed, which additionally can also move a micro-turbine.
Currently in addition to hydrogen-powered automobiles, there are also buses, trains, bicycles, motorcycles, golf carts and other land vehicles such as ships, aircraft, submarines and rockets that use hydrogen as fuel, in various forms and in some cases to high cost. Several car companies are conducting research and development of hydrogen cars, mainly with the method of fuel cell. Currently these vehicles are available only for demonstration or rental for a limited time. In 2007 there were in circulation in the United States 200 public vehicles powered by hydrogen, mainly within the state of California.
Electric vehicles are powered by one or more electric motors. Traction can be provided by wheels or propellers driven by rotary motors, or in other cases to use other non-rotating motors, linear motors and engines, inertial, or applications of magnetism as a power source, as is the case of magnetic levitation trains. Unlike an internal combustion engine that is designed specifically to work by burning fuel, an electric vehicle gets the traction motors.
Electric motors are noted for their high efficiency at different operating regimes. The future of electric vehicles without the support of an internal combustion engine (hybrid vehicles) depends on new generations of chemical battery (Lithium Ion battery) developed ever greater charge density and longevity, which allow you to move more powerful engines and increase the range to 200 and even 400 km. The energy cost of a vehicle engine power between 10 and 20 kWh in a 100 km route type.
The Nissan Leaf is an electric vehicle battery will be launched at the European, American and Japanese in late 2010. Although officially Nissan has announced an exact price, it is expected that the car cost between $ 25,000 and $ 33,000. The vehicle was designed to travel 160 km on one charge, and the maximum velocidade can reach is 140 kph. The battery can be charged at 80% capacity in 30 minutes with a fast charger special.