According to the hysterical mainstream media, it’s pretty much game over for us car enthusiasts. The government has announced that sales of new petroland diesel-engined cars are to be outlawed in Britain by 2040 and an allelectric future ushered in. Meanwhile, autonomous vehicles will remove the notion of driving pleasure altogether: soon after that, if I might be permitted to fuel the hysteria, I foresee the car’s role as the means to personal freedom vanishing, as a ‘higher authority’ dictates on which roads you can travel and at what time of the day. There’ll be no place in the Brave New World for the Mazda MX-5 and all that it provides and represents.
Yet I have a feeling – and a hope – that things won’t actually turn out that way.you have to remember that politicians have a fondness for pretending they thought of everything first and they’re at the vanguard of making the world a better place. Bold pronouncements, without careful consideration or proper examination of the facts, are their stock in trade. Just has to make a good sound-bite.
Fortunately there are better informed heads at work in the automotive industry, and with luck they will prevail. Electric cars and hybrids will be critical for the future – autonomous vehicles less so, they’re more of a fashion thing – but the internal combustion engine, with much improved efficiency, is also seen as a vital part of the mix.
Forget 2040, Mazda is on the brink of launching the next generation of petrol engine, the SKYACTIV-X, which runs so lean that spark plugs can’t ignite the mixture: instead it uses compression ignition, like a diesel, combined with a supercharger. Compared with current Mazda engines, CO2 emissions are claimed to be down 20–30 per cent, with torque up 10–30 per cent. Win, win. Zoom-zoom.
Also encouraging is that Mazda’s sustainability message – which includes electric and autonomous vehicles – is backed by a desire that all its future models will enrich their drivers emotionally: they’ll be fun to drive. The MX-5 is in safe hands.
Brett Fraser, editor email@example.com