By Eric J. Leech
The premise of the show Mean Green Machines is quite simply the battle of electric over gas. This is a very new and interesting concept, as for one, electric has a very limited umber of years in research and testing as compared to gas powered engines, and for two, there are definitely two types of individuals who form out of such competitions...
There are those who believe that there will never be another form of propulsion better than the age old combustion engine that has been around for over 100 years, and those who see "gas" as not only a very ancient and inefficient source of energy, but also very destructive.
The gas advocates will tell you that electric vehicles tend to be heavy, complicated, unreliable, and cannot produce the same power as gas. The truth of the matter is that you could quite frankly make either side look better depending on which information you chose to offer towards your argument.
This is what has made Mean Green Machines such an important concept, as it is pitting these two sides together to prove to audiences once and for all if new green energy can actually stand up to the tried and true combustion engine. It is ignoring all opinion and actually putting the beliefs to test.
What you will see as the season unfolds, is that electric energy has some very important advantages that gas power will never be able to match, no matter how much more research is put into them.
For one, fossil fuels will always expend some amount of pollution after their energy is spent through combustion. We can use catalytic converters and direct injection to minimize this, but the end result is waste. Electric energy on the other hand produces close to, if not zero emissions. There is no combustion to cause pollution.
The other performance advantage that energy has is its immediate power. Just as a battery has an immediate source of energy to run your electronics, an electric vehicle has immediate horsepower and torque. A combustion engine needs to run through the cycle of rpm (engine revolutions per minute) in order to build up its full horsepower and torque potential. An electric motor has full power the moment you press your foot on the accelerator.
The other downfall of gas power, is that because of its rpm necessity, it must have a clutch driven transmission to give the motor time to build up the horsepower before it is capable of turning the next available gear ratio. Rarely can a gas vehicle propel a vehicle using just one gear, it just doesn't have the available horsepower and torque to get it moving initially.
Electric on the other hand may in some cases work without a traditional transmission. They can use what is called Epicycle gearing, which does not require a clutch and has superior performance capability as well as wear characteristics to the transmission of a traditional gas vehicle.
These are just a few of the advantages of the mean green electric vehicle. So it's mean green versus just plain mean... let's find out who wins over the course of the season!