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‘The internal combustion engine still has a fair bit of life in it yet’

Auto Express logo Auto Express 12/07/2017 Joe Holding
‘The internal combustion engine still has a fair bit of life in it yet’ © Auto Express ‘The internal combustion engine still has a fair bit of life in it yet’

If you believe the headlines in some of the media over the past week the end of the road for petrol and diesel cars is nigh. We’re delighted to set the record straight – that’s utter tosh!

Many people mis-read Volvo’s announcement that all new models post-2019 will feature some form of electrification.

That doesn’t mean every Volvo will be fully electric. Eventually, maybe, but not for a good while yet.

Related: Volvo will only build hybrids and EVs starting in 2019 (Wochit Business)

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We’re big fans of what electrification can bring to our cars; we love the environmental and cost benefits it can bring, as well as the actual driving experience. And fair play to Volvo – by making this announcement it has further cemented its position as a leader in advanced technology.

But the simple fact is that the good old internal combustion engine still has a fair bit of life in it yet. Battery technology won’t be at a stage for a while where it can power larger cars for longer distances – at least not at affordable prices.

It’ll happen and it may come sooner than some people think such is the amount of resource being piled into battery research right now, especially with pretty much every manufacturer focusing so much effort on EV programmes.

Opinion: why Volvo isn't sounding the death knell for petrol

Demand for electrified cars (full EVs, plug-in hybrids and mild hybrids) is increasing rapidly and the talk of the industry is the tipping point when more buyers start to put these models on their shopping lists. I think that could happen soon, too. The biggest barriers to EV ownership – price and range – are being overcome with each new launch.

But all this talk of cars with plugs brings another issue: charging. The new Audi A8 introduces a novel solution – inductive charging. However, the number of charging points needs to keep pace with the growing number of electric cars.

That’s something the industry and government need to address fast, or they risk halting the electric car charge.


Related: Engines revealed - power and beauty under the bonnet

Engines revealed: power and beauty under the bonnet: Most people don’t give engines much thought, and there’s no reason why they should. All an engine is required to do is provide enough power to drive the car, certainly reliably and preferably without using too much fuel or making too much noise. As long as it can achieve this, you can reasonably ignore it.But they are fascinating things. The way they can convert fuel into energy which is then transferred to the wheels by way of innumerable gears and shafts is almost magical and, if you’re in the right mood, beautiful.In well over a century, thousands upon thousands of engines have been designed and built. Some have been so successful that they have found their way into an enormous variety of cars over anything from a few years to many decades. Here we take a look at some of the most celebrated, many of which could be described as classics. Engines revealed: power and beauty under the bonnet


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