The automotive landscape has changed so much in just a couple of years with the appearance and popularity of hybrids and electric vehicles. We are now in the midst of the EV revolution, which affecting all vehicle classes from small, urban cars to exotics hypercars. We can now safely say that electric vehicles are here to stay, but that also raises the question. What will happen with the internal combustion engine? Are the petrol and diesel engines dead, and what the future holds for those units? Today, we will try to answer those crucial questions.
1. Further evolution of internal combustion
The appearance of EV forced many car manufacturers to invest in the development of internal combustion engines. Nissan`s variable compression engines, turbocharging, advanced construction, and materials helped a breath new lease of life into a mechanical concept, which is over a century old. Today`s petrol and diesel engine are incredibly efficient and durable, and this is a big step forward compared to the units produced just a decade ago. If the patent of electromagnetic camshafts gets accepted by all manufacturers, we can witness the renaissance of internal combustion engines in the near future.
Although the electric vehicles have strong acceleration and effortless torque, the real performance and top speed still come from internal combustion. Porsche is trying to reinvent performance cars with new all-electric Tycan, but we are sure that real performance enthusiasts are always concentrated on petrol-burning cars. At least for now.
2. When electric power is just not enough
Although we can easily see the future where all cars are electric, this is only a part of the picture. There are still numerous essential vehicle types and classes where electrical power is not adequate. For example, trucks, delivery vehicles, boats, or planes. There are concepts of electric vehicle heavy trucks, but the limits are apparent – extremely small range, enormous consumption under heavy load, and long charging periods. All of this makes electric trucks not practical and not viable for everyday use. Not to forget, extremely expensive. The enormous price of the delivery vehicles and the prolonged period of transport will raise the cost of the final product and upset the economy.
There is simply no other power source for big ships or ferries other than eternal combustion engines. Even if all the vehicles on the ground are electric, the airplanes still will be equipped with internal combustion engines due to the fact that only the fuel-burning turbine engine can provide enough power and thrust.
3. Charging network
As you probably know, the biggest problem of electric vehicles is a network of charging stations as well as the long period of charging. Currently, only the significant urban areas have enough charging stations needed for the regular use of the electric vehicle. That being said, people in remote areas or third world countries don’t have access to this infrastructure, which directs them to only one choice – internal combustion. Although there are more and more charging stations each day, it would be decades before a number of those points remotely match the number of petrol stations.
4. Classic Cars
All classic cars have some kind of internal combustion engine, and since the number of those vehicles on the road is quite large, we can expect that the cult of petrol or diesel will live on. Recently, FIVA (Fédération International des Véhicules Anciens) ruled that converting a classic car to electric power will result in losing classic car status in some countries, vastly reduce the value of the vehicle and even become a reason to be expelled from discriminating traditional car clubs. This is done in order to preserve the originality of classic cars and industrial heritage. We can expect that the other national classic car societies and numerous clubs will follow this example and strongly opposed to retrofitting classic cars with electric power.
One of the most significant aspects of the electric vehicle revolution that nobody discusses is global politics. The world`s dependability on fossil fuels resulted in a commanding position of several oil-rich countries, powerful lobbying by oil companies, and car manufacturers. Even if the general public is moving to electric vehicles, those subjects will try to stay in business by forcing legislation, standards, and new technologies. The electricity can be considered as “too democratic” power source, available to all people, regardless of country location or population. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, are the advantage of just some countries, and precious resource governments and lobbyists are reluctant to leave alone.