Eco-Living Magazine

Green Technology in Future Race Cars

Posted on the 14 December 2012 by T_mackinnon @tedmackinnon

The sport of racing has been around much longer than automobiles. People, horses, dogs and chariots have raced for centuries, all with the same goal in mind: to go faster than everyone else. The nature of automobile racing, which favors speed over practicality, is somewhat at odds with the conservationist goals of “green” technology. But certain aspects of green can, and have, infiltrated the sport of automobile racing.

The goal of green technology vs. the goal of a race car
Green technology is primarily concerned with increasing two things:

1. Increasing the use of renewable fuels
2. Increasing efficiency by using less fuel

Green Race Cars - Myth or Possibility?
Neither of these goals aligns well with the goal of car racing, which is to go very, very fast. Fossil fuels are generally more energy-dense than renewable fuels such as biodiesel, and are therefore preferable for auto racing. And try telling a race car driver that the race car’s gas mileage would improve if he’d just slow down a bit. It won’t go over well. Though the two worlds seem to have opposite motivations, there are ways in which green technology can improve auto racing.

How auto racing can benefit from green technology
Not every aspect of green technology flies in the face of auto racing. Some sustainable practices may actually improve the sport.

Sustainable body: The University of Ulster and University of Warwick created a race car composed almost entirely of recycled material. Powered by a biodiesel engine, the vehicle reached 130 miles per hour on the race track. While these recycled race cars can’t yet compete with the lightness and durability of current Formula One vehicles, technological improvements may someday change that.
Sustainable fuel: In addition to the biodiesel fuel used in the sustainable body automobile, Indy cars currently use an ethanol blend fuel for racing. This is an example of a renewable fuel that has already found its way into automotive racing. It has also been suggested that Formula One racing will eventually move away from the use of standard gasoline, and instead use a hydrogen fuel. Whatever the outcome is, most experts agree that gasoline is on the way out.
Hybrid race cars: Hybrid technology is already in use in Formula One auto racing. Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) allow race cars to recapture the energy lost while braking, and re-purpose it for accelerating the vehicle.

Despite the practical nature of green technology, it has changed, and will continue to change, the sport of auto racing. If you’re planning on buying a car of your own, make sure it’s protected by car insurance coverage. To find the best deal on coverage that you need, compare several insurance quotes before settling on a provider.

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