We’ve blogged before on alternative fuel sources for cars and confirmed that we’re keeping a close eye on developments in areas such as fuel cells, electrically powered vehicles and even solar options.
Right now, in our view they’re not yet quite robust enough to form the basis of our luxury limousine hire fleet. However, while we were watching industry news in this area, we came across an astonishing car design concept. We’d never heard of it and thought we’d share it with you.
How would you like to ride in a luxury limousine powered by a nuclear reactor sitting just behind you in the back?
Hopefully you’ve just picked yourself up off the floor but this isn’t as made-up as it sounds. Believe it or not, if you Google the “Ford Nucleon” you’ll see a production model of just such a concept car produced by Ford in the late 1950s.
The styling of the vehicle is incredible and quite beautiful in a late ‘50s’ way but what makes it stand out is that tastefully almost-concealed nuclear generator at the back.
The idea was simple. The reactor heated water to create steam which then drove the engine through turbines or other technology. In fact, nuclear powered ships and submarines use the same principle today.
No fuel, no ‘filling-up’, at least theoretically no pollution (apart, eventually, from the spent rods!). It looked ideal.
Of course, it never happened. Apart from innumerable technical challenges, it seemed asking the public to sit alongside a reactor in their car might be a difficult concept to sell in the marketplace!
Now this could be just an interesting footnote to those ‘anything is possible’ decades of the 1950s and 1960s – except for one thing. Numbers of reputable scientists are suggesting today that we should be looking again at these old ‘micro-fission engines’ designed in outline by our fathers and grandfathers. They say it may be very viable and safe and an answer to the 21st century’s energy problems.
Don’t worry though – we have no intention of offering atomic-powered cars for the foreseeable future!