Few people that are ripping around the streets in today’s gas guzzlers will remember wood-powered cars, but if things continue the way they are, they may be lucky enough to see one pull up next to them at the light. Wood-powered cars are starting to pop up again as yet another means of saving our fossil fuels. Wood-powered cars made their first big appearance in Europe during WWII. A wood gas generator was attached to the vehicle so that the drivers could save fuel, yet still keep their cars operational. Looking at some of the pictures from back then, the cars literally look like they have a wood-burning furnace attached to the hood or trunk. It may have looked funny, but it was actually very efficient.
While this technology showed incredible advancements over the next decade, it became obsolete as soon as the war was over and countries started to see some normalcy come back into their lives. With the apparent need to conserve gas for the war effort gone, the odd looking devices were no longer used and the automobile returned to normalcy.
Because of the renewed effort to save our fossil fuels and reduce the carbon footprint that is left by current automobiles, wood-powered cars are again getting some attention. There is a renewed interest and there is actually somewhat of a cult following starting to develop all over the world. While the contraptions may look quite a bit different from the antiques that were used during WWII, they are still serving the same purpose.
There is one obvious drawback to the vehicles, and that is that they are definitely not aerodynamic. Whether the car owner chooses to mount the furnace to their car or pull it via a trailer, there is quite a bit more drag created when exploring the local roads. However, this particular power source is not about speed, it is about conservation. Look for this technology to start popping back up at auto-shows and for it to gain a lot more attention from green enthusiasts.