I SUSPECT YOU’VE READ AT LEAST ONE HEADLINE proclaiming that by 2040 the last new petrol- and diesel- engined cars will have been sold in Britain, the motoring public forced into automobiles powered exclusively by electricity. I imagine you then read a little deeper to educate yourself on the matter only to discover that really this isn’t going to happen at all.
This is the problem when politics and the motor industry mix. The former has absolutely no idea how the latter works or, indeed, what it is capable of. Not in some malevolent way, you understand, although the idea of the engineers at Jaguar building an XJ that vaporises unwanted politicians once the armoured doors have sealed shut does have an appeal.
Rather, the motor industry is a remarkable machine that still surprises us cynics today. Granted, Dieselgate and allegations of price fixing cartels aren’t doing the reputations of some brands any good at the moment. But away from the boardrooms the engineers on the front line are still pioneering technology that makes the car as relevant today as it was during its early days of mobilising the planet, and will continue to be beyond 2040. And it will continue to be powered by some form of internal combustion engine.
Why? Because in 23 years’ time the IC engine will be ten times more efficient than it is today. It will be cleaner, burn less fuel and be better integrated with the latest electric motors and batteries. It will be fitter for purpose. It will appeal tomorrow as it does today. Today’s engineers will hand the baton to tomorrow’s pioneers who will go on to develop performance cars and powertrains that are relevant to the time and the needs of the evo reader of the day.
The internal combustion engine is changing, but that’s because it has never stood still. It’s a shame that our political leaders have such a weak grasp of this and prefer to fight against the motor industry rather than work with it.
‘In 23 years’ time the internal combustion engine will be ten times more efficient than it is today’