Electric Cars Are Booming. But Don’t Write Combustion Engines Off
Global electric vehicle sales were up by 26 percent in ’21. More than 6.4 million new EVs found new owners globally last year. Audi, Alfa Romeo, Bentley, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, Renault, Volvo and others vow to only sell electric cars by 2030. General Motors will join them by 2035.
You may be freaked out by now, if like us you’re a petrolhead. Especially if you gravitate to any of the brands noted above. But relax! The combustion engine has not yet had its day. Not by any means. See, not all carmakers promise to eliminate ICEs anytime soon. Some are in fact flat out developing meaner, cleaner and greener gas and diesel engines as we speak. Indeed, not even the good old V8 appears to be anywhere near extinction…
All Carmakers Will Offer Electric Cars
Make no mistake, all carmakers will offer electric cars. But not all of them are prepared to throw their entire hat into that battery pond. Many remain committed to keeping ICEs alive. BMW, Mercedes and VW will keep on building combustion cars. So will Ford and Stellantis. Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota, along with Yamaha and Kawasaki too. And even Korea’s Hyundai and Kia. Some of them are developing new engines. Others are embracing hydrogen, biodiesel and synthetic fuels. And much more, too.
You may ask what’s driving this disruptive trend in a battery mad industry? Well it seems the biggest motivator just happens to be that some carmakers simply want to keep their customers happy. Not everybody wants an EV. So while many carmakers promise that they will force battery cars down their buyers necks, others, and perhaps those with a closer understanding of their customers’ wants and needs, refuse to let the combustion dream die, just yet.
BMW is leading the renewed internal combustion engine charge. “One thing is certain,” BMW Development Director Frank Weber promises. “We will still need state-of-the-art combustion engines for a good many years to come. “That is why we are working on a new generation of petrol and diesel straight-six and V8 engines that will most effectively contribute to reducing CO2 in the global passenger car sector. “We will reduce emissions, regardless of whether we do that with more advanced engines, or electric powertrains.
BMW Developing New Combustion Engines
“We looked at our power options and found a promising approach while reconciling emissions needs on the one hand and performance requirements on the other. “Our next six-cylinder engine alone, will reduce CO2 emissions much more effectively than ever. “They will be nothing like they were before. “Our new engines will have something completely new in the cylinder head to reduce emissions in the crucial fight against climate change.
“Most importantly, we will not force our customers to choose between combustion and electric vehicles,” Weber concluded. “BMW will always offer the most sustainable and innovative cars, regardless of their drive type, in line with standardised future emissions legislation around the world.”
Unlike its rivals, BMW has not rushed to bring its EV battery cell production in-house, in spite of its transition to EVs ramping up more rapidly than than expected. BMW EV sales have doubled off full order books. “We are in no rush to scale up battery cell production,” BMW finance boss Nicolas Peter admits. “We are not yet at the point where we can say what technology will accompany us for the next 10 to 15 years. “That’s why it’s important to invest with worldwide partners in a lot of resources.”
Mercedes, VW also have Combustion Plans
BMW is not alone in its commitment to combustion engine propulsion. Like Munich, Stuttgart is also developing gas powered alternatives to its future battery vehicles. In spite reports to the contrary, and that the next C63 AMG likely to be a 4 cylinder hybrid, Mercedes-AMG doesn’t appear ready to abandon its V8s just yet, either. “I think for the next 10 years we will see the V8 for sure,” AMG boss Philipp Schiemer admitted recently. “We have a lot of customers who love their cars and I still think that we will see those people buying V8s for a long time to come.”
Even more interestingly however, while Volkswagen continues to focus on BEVs and hybrids, it too appears to have changed tack of late. While it promises to build its last new ICE platform in 2026, and previously hinted that it would sooner move to a fully electric range, Wolfsburg is now aiming at a 70% electric range by 2030. That comes in tandem with recent news that the company’s latest-generation 4-cylinder TDI diesel engines can now be fired by paraffinic diesel fuels. These newly developed fuels promise to slash CO2 emissions by up to 95 percent.
So, Volkswagen is also “systematically further developing” its existing range of combustion engines as it responds to diverse customer needs across its many international markets. Every new VW turbodiesel delivered since July 2021 is able to run on European standard EN 15940 paraffinic diesel fuels. Paraffinic fuels are made out of biological residual waste materials, with anything from used vegetable cooking oils to sawdust converted into hydrocarbon fuels via a reaction with hydrogen.
Heard of Parafinic Diesel? You Have Now!
“Paraffinic fuels are a sensible additional option,” Volkswagen Petrol and Diesel boss, Professor Thomas Garbe explains. “Customers will be able to significantly reduce CO2 emissions by using environmentally friendly fuels, as soon as they become available.” Biofuels like HVO are already widely available and likely to increase their European road transport energy market share to 20 or 30 percent within ten years. Like BMW, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Mazda and Nissan, Volkswagen plans to be climate-neutral by 2050.
So there you have it. Depending on your preferred car brand, you may or may not be forced to drive an electric car, come the end of the decade. That’s eight years away. The likes of BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and others, continue to actively develop fresh future combustion engine solutions. They will be much cleverer and significantly cleaner than any engine we know now. And more than competitive with their electric rivals. Most significantly, they will keep combustion motoring alive for far longer than many would ever want you to imagine….