Small city vehicles are something that are just now beginning to catch on. While there are a few available on the market, many people are waiting for them become more mainstream. Hyundai hopes to help bring the city vehicle into the spotlight with a new concept that uses technology from MIT that produces oxygen as a byproduct.
The design came from the mind of Nicholas Stone, a recent graduate of the College for Creative Studies. His design is for a small four seat city car that uses no fossil fuel whatsoever. Power for the Hyundai City Car comes from the sun, but not it the normal fashion we are used to.
The process begins by placing transparent solar panels on the outside of the vehicle and collecting solar energy. From there, electricity is generated and fed to an electric motor to power the wheels. However, the electricity is also used to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is stored to be used later, while the oxygen is allowed to flow out of the vehicle. Sound familiar? It should, because the same process happens all around you every day.
The technology is called "artificial photosynthesis" and was designed by the brilliant minds at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. According the designer, Daniel Nocera, the benefits of the system are twofold. First, the oxygen will be replenishing the city's air, which can become very polluted very quickly. Secondly, if the need arises, some of the oxygen can be pumped back into the cabin to help the driver if they need a little extra boost of energy.
If this concept will ever see production is anyone's guess, but if it does it will be interesting to see how big of a difference the added oxygen will be able to make. At least nobody will fall asleep at the wheel.