One of my many interests has always been steam power. When I was little, I loved to see old steam locomotives operate, and more recently I have read a lot about the use of steam engines in cars. In fact, there is currently an automotive steam engine ready for market, from the Cyclone Power company.
A bit of history.....In 1900, there was equal competition between steam cars, gasoline and electric cars. There were a lot of technical advances made, and the most advanced car (the Doble Model E) could start from cold in 30 seconds, had a top speed of 90mph, and at 70mph there was no vibration, since the engine turned at 900rpm. That was accomplished in 1924.
There are still a lot of people who would like to see the steam car back on the road (myself included). Cars physically have not changed much, retrofitting a steam engine in an existing car is a very attractive option. Fitting it all in a small light package is the issue.
Enter the Cyclone Power company. They claim to have created a self contained steam engine and boiler packaged in roughly the same space as a standard trans-axle ICE. They are mainly going to launch a 100HP automotive engine, aimed at the performance market, the Mark V.
I am more interested in the smaller, 20HP model, the Mark II. This one is targeted at generators/steady speed operation. But if it could be made to fit a small car, the benefits would be numerous:
simpler than ICE (no transmission, clutch, radiator, alternator, etc)
lower horsepower = better MPG
better low end torque
runs on any liquid fuel
extremely low emissions
I will be emailing the company and try to get their take on this idea.