In a world that tries to save more and more of its resources, BMW wants to make use of the car’s heat to recover some of the energy lost by thermal means. It’s just that they understood this time by being green means putting a radioactive thermoelectric generator in the car’s tailpipe.
The thermoelectric device generates electricity when heated. Volkswagen also has an ongoing research on this, but BMW says they will recover up to 5% of the fuel consumption of an Efficient Dynamics vehicle.
BMW’s project is called “Megacity Vehicles”, and it’s scheduled to be on market in about 5 years. That much time means a lot, since battery and fuel cell technologies advance every year with dozens of inventions.
I don’t know if the big brother’s BMW approach is the healthiest, but their conservative trend towards inventing new patches for old bugs resembles a bit with Ford’s denial of advancing from the model T some decades ago. Though, BMW’s cars are extraordinary.
Would this be some kind of policy of keeping a certain kind of customers motivated, by showing off with fuel savings of 5%? I like fast and powerful cars, I also like renewable energy, but… let’s be serious: I wouldn’t think of putting a radioactive thing in my tailpipe, even if it were folded in ten layers of lead. I don’t think that’s doing any good to the environment, since in the case of an accident… you don’t know where that material will end up.
But… who am I to judge?