More and more you hear about new “breakthroughs” with regards to internal combustion engines. They get more efficient and the cars fitted with them can achieve higher better fuel economy. Is this delaying, or even putting off the electric vehicle? I think these “breakthroughs” are just some small improvements, some last efforts to try and maintain the old status quo. Yes, for the immediate future improving fuel economy on conventional cars can do a lot of good, especially if you consider that electric vehicles are not within everybody’s reach tomorrow.
Are all breakthroughs really that great, or just a small step ahead? - IMG Link
The improvements for the internal combustion engine are small steps that could/should have been taken long time ago, but it is only now that with the current awareness on fuel conservation that engines have become more efficient. Before there was no real, urgent need. Calling them breakthroughs is giving them a bit more credit than they deserve.
I find the thought that the internal combustion will ‘win’ from the electric vehicle is amusing, given the potential benefits of the electric drive train there is no reason to keep using fuel and keep spitting out exhaust gasses once electric vehicle technology matures and becomes more widely adopted. Ultimately, the only true ‘winner’ if you want to call it that should be the people; a cleaner world, a car which is more fun to drive and that is always full when you go to work in the morning.
For the immediate future, the biggest impact to make our transport cleaner is to use vehicles with a better fuel economy, likely this will be hybrids. In my opinion the electric vehicle can provide the goal of zero emission in the long run. Given that not many people can get access to electric vehicles so easily (due to cost and production volumes) they are not the broad solution for the masses. Hybrids or vehicles with a good fuel economy are more widely available and can provide many with an intermediate before the electric vehicle is ready to go on main stage.
Once the electric vehicles have matured more, can provide a bit more range and when the charging infrastructure is more widely adopted (and interoperability is a standard!) the big breakthrough of the electric vehicle will happen. At that point it becomes a common sight in the streets, people are more familiar with the concept of driving electric and know the benefits. Once this takes place, our transporting needs can become truly the zero emission we are all aiming for.