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author photo by Autotrader October 2007

Creativity is a wonderful thing, and as the stakes get higher and our needs drive acceptance of ideas outside of the norm, we figured we would stop to take a not-so-serious (but not too far-fetched) look at what we may see in the future.

Alternative Fuels

  • Trash — If it is good enough to run a time-traveling DeLorean, it can run my car any day. There are already recapture efforts in place to collect methane released from rotting trash in dumps. All we need to do is speed up the process so it can go straight from the kitchen garbage to the gas tank.

  • Cow-Patties — A perfect technology for rural areas (that are often last to receive new technologies). Not the most pleasant of topics, but research has shown that "cow patties" can be a source of methane (having grown up on a farm I can attest to this). Just imagine, you're driving down that country road and run out of gas. You can just grab the shovel from the trunk, jump a pasture fence, and before you know it your back on the road.

  • Moonshine — Essentially the same genre as Ethanol, and well documented as a fuel source (thanks, Uncle Jesse), but if we could grow our own corn and then refine it into fuel right at home we could save a ton. Just need to keep a lookout for them revenuers.

Hybrid Hybrids
With mainstream hybrids recapturing lost energy from braking, test models using heat-recapture systems, and flex-fuel / bio-diesel utilizing renewable resources, we asked where else can we "re" some additional horsepower?

  • Air Power — What if we turned those popular giant spoilers on the back of sports car into windmills? We could at least "re"-capture enough power to run those giant speakers.

  • Kid-power — Instead of building up their thumb muscles (by playing modern video games) the kids could burn off all that extra energy during long trips by playing some kind of bicycle game that used actual pedals. The pedaling could generate electricity that could be used to power the batteries.

  • Hot Air from Cell Phones — With the hot air I've heard during some phone conversations, there has got to be a ton cooped up in the average commuter's car. Just have a steam turbine hooked up to the mouthpiece, and they'll be saving the earth by the rollover minute. Now, maybe we can also capture energy from the adrenaline emitted by the other drivers trying to avoid those on their phones?

Vehicle Designs
Maybe the only reason the mainstream hasn't embraced these new technologies is because they are not available in the body style configurations they need.

  • "What about our children's future?" — The vehicle most closely associated with children, the minivan, does not have a model with any of the modern fuel-saving equipment.

  • Introducing the "Seg-Wagon" — Maybe the reason the revolutionary Segway scooter has not been embraced by the mainstream is because you can't take anyone, or just about anything, with you. With a Seg-Wagon you could haul everything and everyone all over town (hmm, maybe it will be available with a V8?).

  • Full-Sized SUVs — What better vehicle than the main culprit, or target, itself. An additional benefit would be the fact that all current and future technologies could be crammed into the abundant spaces in the engine compartment and under the chassis.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Alternative Realities - Autotrader