In an increasingly pollution-conscious world, environment-friendly transportation systems are in a huge demand. Be it metro services, buses or personal transport vehicles such as hybrid cars, we take a look at eight interesting initiatives worth a mention…
- PRT Pod Cars
World’s first urban Passenger Rapid Transport (PRT) system will in a few years be a reality in Amritsar. At present, the PRT runs only at the London Heathrow Terminal. Urban experts think that PRT will eliminate cars in future cities.
PRT pod cars are small automated vehicles moving on dedicated tracks, and they are being tried in some cities around the world, including Amritsar in India. PRT is in fact a personal taxi, which is demand-responsive to any user. It transports users anywhere within the track network directly and without any stops.
According to Ultra Global PRT, the company that makes the pod cars, the vehicle uses one third of the energy of a car is virtually silent with no emissions.
- Hi-tech ‘electrified’ road for OLEV vehicle
In a world first, South Korea has switched on a hi-tech ‘electrified’ road which can recharge moving electric vehicles as they drive over it. The Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) is an electric vehicle that can be charged while stationary or driving, thus removing the need to stop at a charging station, researchers said.
The bus receives 20 kHz and 100 kW (136 horsepower) electricity at an 85 per cent maximum power transmission efficiency rate while maintaining a 17cm air gap between the underbody of the vehicle and the road surface.
Power comes from the electrical cables buried under the surface of the road, creating magnetic fields. There is a receiving device installed on the underbody of the OLEV that converts these fields into electricity.
- ISRO, Tata Motors’ fuel cell bus
For the first time in the country, a Hydrogen-powered automobile bus has been developed by Tata Motors and ISRO after several years of research. It’s a CNG-type bus. Hydrogen in bottles at high pressure is stored at the top of the bus and there would be zero pollution.
The hydrogen cells were a spin-off of the cryogenic technology that ISRO had been developing for the last few years. The fuel cell technology makes it a clean and silent bus on-road. Hydrogen is stored in compressed form, which combines with oxygen from the air to generate electricity, and gives water vapour as the only emission.
This electricity is used to charge the battery to power the motor of the bus. A number of fuel cells are combined to form a fuel cell stack, which is placed in the rear module of the bus.
- Delhi Metro
Delhi Metro is the world’s first railway project to be registered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change under the Clean Development Mechanism.
It has claimed carbon credits for the use of a regenerative braking system. Under the regenerative braking process, whenever trains on the Metro network apply brakes, three phase-traction motors installed on these trains act as generators to produce electrical energy which goes back into the Over Head Electricity (OHE) lines.
The regenerated electrical energy that is supplied back to the OHE is used by other accelerating trains in the same service line, thus saving overall energy in the system as about 30% of electricity requirement is reduced.
- Hybrid cars
To overcome the drawbacks of an electric vehicle, the hybrid vehicle was created. Besides reducing emissions, it offers increased mileage and decent driving range.
Hybrid vehicles feature a powertrain that includes a traditional internal combustion engine as well as an electric motor, batteries and a generator, which are the same components as in an electric vehicle.
Hybrid vehicles seldom come with powerful internal combustion engines as that would increase tailpipe emissions, thereby rendering the concept of a hybrid vehicle pointless. Hybrid vehicles are the most successful type of eco-friendly vehicles in the market today due to their real world usability and practicality.
- CNG-Electric Hybrid Bus
For a city that has for so long been at the forefront of adopting clean fuels for its public transportation, the DTC has now taken its ‘going green’ tag to an entirely different level with the introduction of four new CNG-Electric Hybrid Bus, courtesy Tata Motors.
The Hybrid Tata Starbus has been built for intra-city transportation, and is powered by a parallel hybrid engine comprising of an internal combustion CNG engine and an electric motor using regenerative energy storage system.
Researchers and transport industry experts agree that CNG is practically the cheapest and least polluting fuel for commercial transportation. However, they believe that a CNG hybrid engine further brings down fuel consumption.
- Mahindra’s zero-emission e2o
Nine years after the country’s first electric car REVAi, Mahindra Reva launched a second-generation four-seat hatchback called the e2o that it says will bring down the running cost to 50 paise per kilometre.
The fully automatic, zero emission e2o, (pronounced ‘Ee-too-oh’) is powered by 48-volt lithium ion batteries that offer a claimed range of 100km per charge. Charging can be done anywhere through a standard 15-ampere plug point.
A full charge takes 5 hours, while a quick charge option is also there. Mahindra has plonked in some ingenious technologies into the e2o such as Sun2Car, Revive and regenerative braking system that further boost the car’s range. The Sun2Car, for instance, allows people to charge the e2o using solar energy while it’s parked.
The e-rickshaw scheme has been promoted quite actively by Delhi government as an environmentally friendly alternative. The seating capacity of the vehicle is two, in addition to the driver.
As these are electric vehicles, charging stations are also be set up at strategic locations along the cluster route.
Which of these would you like to ride in?