Electricity, CNG, or Perhaps Hydrogen? Judge for Yourselves!

Electricity, CNG, or Perhaps Hydrogen? Judge for Yourselves!

Innovation

From a local standpoint, purely electric cars are the most environmentally friendly type of motorised transport around today. How do other environmentally friendly drive systems fare in comparison? Read on to find out!

27. 8. 2019

In this day and age, the impact that transport has on the environment is a widely discussed topic. Though no drive (at least to date) is perfect, each has its pros and cons. To help you form your own opinion, we offer a comprehensive overview of each type of ecological drive and walk you through their main strengths and weaknesses.

Electric
Powered exclusively by battery-provided energy

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ŠKODA CITIGOe iV - the first electric production car; the picture shows the position of the Li-ion battery (highlighted in orange) under the vehicle floor and the space below the rear seats

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Nearly zero operating emissions

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Indirect emissions if the car is recharged with energy produced by coal power plants

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Technically simple charging at charging stations or from household outlets

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Environmental impact of the mining, production and disposal of precious materials required for battery production

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Current low costs usually won’t exceed EUR 0.04/km; however, after electric cars are adopted en masse, the electricity price might increase

Hybrid
Conventional fuels combined with electricity.

superb-skoda-engine-plug-in-view
ŠKODA SUPERB iV with a plug-in hybrid drive – a classic 1.4-litre internal combustion petrol engine (the black colour under the bonnet at the front) and the electric engine and its electric-drive technology (orange colour)

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The electric motor reduces CO2 emissions compared with conventional cars

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More complex technology (combination of two drive systems)

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Fuel consumption 15 to 35 per cent lower than with internal combustion engine cars, primarily in city traffic

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High purchase cost of some versions

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Heavier

LPG
Liquefied petroleum gas.

lpg-engine-type-view

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Much cheaper than petrol and diesel

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Compulsory annual inspection of the fuel system and limited access to indoor parking facilities

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Sufficient number of refuelling stations

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No significant environmental benefits

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Converting a conventional engine to LPG is fairly cheap: it usually costs around one to two thousand euros

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Limited range of factory-made cars

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Lower engine noise than with internal combustion engines

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Raw material dependence on politically unstable countries

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Longer life of engine oils

CNG
Compressed natural gas

scala-skoda-engine-cng-view
The new ŠKODA SCALA G-TEC has three CNG tanks (blue colour) with a capacity of 13.8 kilograms and an additional nine-litre petrol tank

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Much lower quantities of dust particles, CO2 and other pollutants than diesel engines

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Limited refuelling infrastructure

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Lower noise levels

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Limited access to underground parking facilities

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More efficient mixing with air, which may improve the car’s power output

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Compulsory regular checks of system tightness and pressure tank tests

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Low driving costs, as much as 50 per cent lower than with Natural 95 (petrol)

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The purchase cost is higher than that of the petrol version

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Lower excise tax than other fuels, road tax exemption

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Raw material dependence on politically unstable countries

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Extensive range of various models – for example, ŠKODA offers the CNG OCTAVIA, which will soon be joined by the SCALA

Hydrogen
The engine is driven by electricity produced by a reaction of gas and fuel cells made of graphite and other metals.

hydrogen-collage-barrels-h2

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Low or zero emissions

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Technology isn’t advanced enough to be deployed in series production

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Infinite sources of hydrogen

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No refuelling network

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Simple hydrogen/air mixing

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Complicated transport – hydrogen is transported in a liquid state at a temperature of -253 °C

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Danger of premature fuel mix ignition

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The low density of hydrogen requires big fuel tanks

Bio-fuels
Diesel/petrol enriched with vegetable oils, primarily rapeseed oil.

biofuel-engine-barrells-type

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Renewable energy resource

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Growing these plants has environmental impacts

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If subsidised: cheaper than conventional fuels

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2,500 litres of water required to produce 1 litre of bio-fuel

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In some cases: lower CO2 emissions

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Their use increases the prices of staple foods

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Low efficiency – the energy generated by burning biomass from a certain piece of land is as much as 50 times lower than the amount of energy generated by solar panels installed on a piece of land of the same size

This article was originally published in the ŠKODA Mobil supplement RIDE INTO THE FUTUREe.

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