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First Nuclear Car

The first nuclear car has not been built yet. But, a concept vehicle named the Ford Nucleon was developed in the 1950's that was supposed to one day be powered by nuclear energy.

First Nuclear Car

In this modern era when fuels like petrol and diesel are fast depleting there is a need to develop alternate fuel vehicles which use other sources of energy. Scientists have been trying since the 1950's to develop vehicles which use other forms of energy such as nuclear energy or energy from hydrogen fuel cells (1960's).

Speaking of the nuclear energy being used in cars it was in the year 1958 that Ford came up with this concept of a Nucleon car which, in theory, employed a small reactor as a source of energy without the use of an internal combustible engine. However this was only a proposed model which was never produced in real life.

The first nuclear car was supposed to have a capsule fitted at the rear end of the vehicle. The reactor at the end of the car was just like that of a submarine with the only difference that it was a bit smaller in size. Radioactive material such as uranium would produce heat which will convert running water into steam which could run a turbine. One of the turbines could be used to boost the vehicle while the other could be used to run an electric motor.

The capsule could be replaced at the rechargeable stations which could be setup once the nuclear car was on road. Each capsule was supposed to run for about 8000 Kms after which it needed a replacement. Just imagine how economical the vehicle would have become with this kind of efficiency.

Also it would be very safe and Eco friendly using proper shielding that was provided to the capsule. It was however because of this shielding effect that the nuclear car could not be produced practically because the shielding material made the vehicle very heavy. The vehicle would have no emissions but it would definitely have nuclear waste which might be difficult to dispose off.

The passenger compartment had a cantilevered roof and a cab forward style which would provide protection to the driver from the harmful effects if any of the reactor. In1950's people were not aware of the harmful effects of the nuclear energy and slowly with time when it became clear that how dangerous nuclear energy was people subsequently dropped the idea of producing the first car using nuclear energy.

Also the design of the car was based on the fact that in future lighter shielding materials and small reactors would be developed which did not happen. Thereby this first nuclear car remained only a concept and could not be made practically. However it was a significant effort on part of Ford Motors to develop something different and innovative.