Why Internal Combustion Engines Will Still Thrive In an EV World

Why Internal Combustion Engines Will Still Thrive In an EV World

Bemoan it or embrace it, electric vehicles are undoubtedly the future of personal transportation. They're quiet, they're efficient, they pollute less (over their lifecycle), and they are exponentially cheaper to operate. What's more, there are are roughly 42,000 public charging stations already in the U.S. (5000 of which are fast DC chargers), charging speeds are increasing, and there are electric vehicles like the Lucid Air Dream that rival, if not exceed, the range of their petrol-powered counterparts. So what does that mean for those of us who still can't get enough of symphonic ICE-powered ecstasy? 

Before we get there, we know what you're thinking, and we totally agree that the Lucid is expensive; so too were the first cell phones, lap tops, and flat screen TVs. Next, we recognize that EVs still have an environmental impact in terms of manufacturing emissions, sourcing precious metals, and battery recycling. The key here, we're told, isn't to have no impact but rather to reduce global carbon emissions. And it makes sense. 

Even when charged using electricity generated by fossil fuels, EVs still contribute less to overall greenhouse gas emissions simply because natural gas turbines are about 42% efficient whereas most ICE engines are about 20% efficient (with some diesels as high as 40% & some groundbreaking tech making gas-powered ones over 50%, more than an F1 car's 52%). But when you consider that energy distribution via the power grid is more efficient than trucking refined liquid fuels around the country and the fact that only 60% of the USA's electricity is generated using fossil fuels, EVs take the lead overall. Then there's the true driver of EV adoption; cost per mile, but we won't get into that. Just know it's about 1/3 of the cost (if not more) of a petrol-powered beast (when charged at home). 

So where does that leave ICE-loving, gasoline-soaked souls like us? We'd like to think in a pretty good place. For people who view cars as merely an appliance, we say encourage them to go to electric as soon as possible (more fuel for us). For enthusiasts who want to experience neck-braking torque, a low center of gravity, and hooligan-cloaking stealth, we also fully support EV adoption. But the internal combustion, we'd argue, will get better as more people adopt EVs. 

This is because many major automakers still profit from existing ICE technologies but will be forced to improve efficiency to compete with EVs/government regulations. Those efficiencies - thanks to the inherent relationship between output and efficiency - may be realized by tuners/hot rodders in a performance sense; remember an F1 car is about 52% efficient.

Then, when most every-day consumers have adopted EVs, the ICE-powered machines we know and love will become even more of a hobby or 'enthusiasts niche', and more soulful because they're catered to people like us (but will probably be powered by synthetic fuels or eFuels). Can you imagine a modern  Alfa Romeo GTV6-like engine revving to the moon with pops and crackles for fun because it runs on low carbon eFuel? 

Furthermore love will prevail. Like mechanical watches, which are less accurate and much more expensive than quartz movements or 'smart' watches, our passion for the intricacy of the ICE and all of its glory will be preserved by enthusiasts, and improved by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts, even if it means running different fuel. And unlike that ultra-rare Paul Newman Rolex Daytona model #6239, there are hundreds of thousands of ICE plants patiently awaiting our projects in junkyards around the world - especially as they become less desirable by the heartless masses who somehow view cars and motorcycles as merely a means to get from A to B. 

Thus, we envision a harmonious, more eco-friendly, future of ultra efficient EVs and super special ICE classics (possibly powered by eFuels) where we'll have the option to choose the high revving symphony of a Porsche flat-six for canyon days or a stealthy Lucid (or Ford) for a high speed blast to the grocery store. At least we reckon that's true for our lifetimes. Happy motoring, all.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!  

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