Steam cars

Pelland steam car

The Cyclone

Plymouth steamer

Wiki on modern use of steam in cars

Saab steam car

As a result of the 1973 oil crisis, SAAB started a project in 1974 headed by Dr. Ove Platell which made a prototype steam-powered car.[citation needed] The engine used an electronically-controlled 28 pound multi-parallel-circuit steam generator with 1 millimetre bore tubing and 16 gallons per hour firing rate which was intended to produce 160 hp (119 kW), and was about the same size as a standard car battery. Lengthy start-up times were avoided by using air compressed and stored when the car was running to power the car upon starting until adequate steam pressure was built up. The engine used a conical rotary valve made from pure boron nitride. To conserve water, a hermetically sealed water system was used.

Pelland Steamer

In 1974, the British designer Peter Pellandine produced the first Pelland Steamer to a contract with the South Australian Government. It had a fibreglass monocoque chassis (based on the internal combustion -engined Pelland Sports) and used a twin-cylinder double-acting compound engine. It has been preserved at the National Motor Museum at Birdwood, South Australia.

In 1977 the Pelland Mk II Steam Car was built, this time by Pelland Engineering in the UK. It had a three-cylinder double-acting engine in a ‘broad-arrow’ configuration, mounted in a tubular steel chassis with a Kevlar body, giving a gross weight of just 1,050 lb (476 kg). Uncomplicated and robust, the steam engine was claimed to give trouble-free, efficient performance. It had huge torque (1,100 ft·lbf/1,491 N·m) at zero engine revs, and could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in under 8 seconds.

Pellandine made several attempts to break the land speed record for steam power, but was thwarted by technical issues.  Pellandine moved back to Australia in the 1990s where he continued to develop the Steamer. The latest version is the Mark IV.

Enginion Steamcell

From 1996, a R&D subsidiary of the Volkswagen group called Enginion AG was developing a system called ZEE (Zero Emissions Engine). It produced steam almost instantly without an open flame, and took 30 seconds to reach maximum power from a cold start. Their third prototype, EZEE03, was a three-cylinder unit meant to fit in a Škoda Fabia automobile. The EZEE03 was described as having a “two-stroke” (i.e. single-acting) engine of 1,000 cc (61 cu in) displacement, producing up to 220 hp (164 kW) (500 N·m or 369 ft·lbf).

Exhaust emissions were said to be far below the SULEV standard. It had an “oilless” engine with ceramic cylinder linings using steam instead of oil as a lubricant. However, Enginion found that the market was not ready for steam cars, so they opted instead to develop the “Steamcell” power generator/heating system based on similar technology.

Why not?

Depends on the furl used to produce the steam and how much is required.  And of course the corruption of the opposition.

2 comments for “Steam cars

  1. ubermouth
    October 23, 2011 at 19:52

    Wow! I LOVE that car!

  2. Rossa
    October 26, 2011 at 10:41

    With Chris Huhne suggesting that only low emission cars will be allowed to travel at the new 80mph speed limit they are considering for the motorways this may be a better candidate than most electric cars which, apart from the Tesla, would probably take a lifetime to even get to 80mph.

    Or maybe they mean to make in 80kph (50mph), now we’re supposed to use the EU’s measurements. Ahhh…that’s more like it in this ‘green’ and pleasant land 🙂

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