Rising fossil fuel prices and the Russia-Ukraine war remind us of the prototype of nuclear powered vehicles
Vladimir Putin’s veiled nuclear threat in the Russia-Ukraine war has put Western countries and the rest of the planet on high alert. The subject was once again in the spotlight, but we must recall that in the fifties and sixties nuclear power was thought to be used in four-wheeled vehicles.
In addition, the rise in the cost of conventional fossil fuels may once again shift the focus to this type of energy, now with more advanced methods. The reality is that cars over 60 years ago moved with smaller reactors than used in the military world, but are still too heavy and too heavy for the car.
The most famous of its efforts to carry a nuclear-powered engine was the 1958 launch. It is a kind of futuristic car, the cabin in the front and the rear are completely occupied by the reactor, with uranium rods, and intended to convert water into steam, with which the vehicle moves. But it didn’t even prototype as some models were made in different sizes.
In addition to its body, the most interesting thing about this vehicle is its theoretical range: 8,000 kilometres. But, of course, the problem comes from the size of its reactor and, above all, its insulation, not only from the heat it generates, but also from the radiation it provides.
The Ford Gyron
It owes its name to the fact that it has only two stacked wheels and a hydraulic gyroscopic system, with which the Ford Gyron is stabilised. The chakras, once in motion, are hidden in the body. Its creator Alex Tremulis has had a clear aeronautical inspiration since he began his career as a designer for the United States Air Force.
There was no steering wheel on the board, but the dial and buttons along with the reverse accelerated, braked or entered.
The Ford Gyron
Unveiled in 1959, it looks like something straight out of a science fiction movie… at the time. The prototype appeared at the Geneva Motor Show that year and was designed by the same designer who created Renault Fuego and Citroen SM, Robert Opron.
Its bubble cabin is surrounded by clear plastic and the rear is in the clean style of a Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft with a huge double spoiler. Despite this dual steering rudder, the car had no wheels, so it had to go over the tracks placed on the asphalt. A very utopian idea.
Born in the same year as Nucleo, it was unveiled in 1958, and is owned by Edward E. Klein. Designed by Hermann. The great thing about Astral is that it has only one central chakra, fixed by gyroscopes. It could be moved over water and had a shield to protect the wanderers from radiation.
Ford Seattle XXI
In 1962, Ford got back on track with this 3/8 scale model designed by Alex Tremullis (yes, Ford designed the Gyron).
It also had a bubble cabin and, of course, an interchangeable cell nuclear reactor. Its double front axle and four wheels caught the eye, as well as an interactive interface with the browser in the style of most current cars.
Ford Seattle XXI
In those years, France put its sands in the ‘nuclear’ race to fuel the car. The Geneva Motor Show saw the Arbel-Symmetric, a more generic body car created by brothers Casimir Andr ಮತ್ತು and Maurice Lubier.
Inspired by the Ford Nucleon, they planned to use a 40 kW nuclear reactor, which is controlled by nuclear waste. The French government never gave its consent or funding for the project.
Cadillac WTFC (World Thorium Fuel Concept)
But nuclear cars don’t just live in uranium. In 2009, Cadillac introduced this prototype, based on thorium as a nuclear fuel. This metal is more abundant than uranium and has 200 times more energy potential than uranium.
Cadillac was designed by artist Loren Colaces to commemorate the centenary of General Motors’ acquisition.
Credit Flavia Marinho./ Drivepilots