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THE CAR IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE CAR.

So, on the day I shall be told by doctors when I can drive again the car is sentenced to death. The UK government has, as you will have heard, announced a ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars from 2040.

The internal combustion engine will have come and gone in what, three generations? It was a fad, a passing phase. The V8, the straight 6, the flat four; they were Beatles haircuts, soda streams and loon pants - no more permanent than a pop song. Countless millions of people made engines their life. They dreamed about them, worked directly in them and their lives rang to the sound of them.

It was a social mover and shaker like no other. It's oily gyrations powered not just our cars but the inspiration behind music, poetry, literature and art. And now it's execution date has been announced. The internal combustion engine is sitting in its cell, staring through the bars at the scaffold.

Except it was dying anyway. Advances in battery technology are being shoved along by the power of commerce - a far mightier engine than the internal combustion one it will replace.

Infrastructure, the means to charge cars, represents not a problem but a huge, quivering opportunity glistening with money and power. Humankind is not generally inclined to pass by such opportunities. 2040 is 23 years away. 23 years ago we didn't have social media. Now it's become the new engineer of social ranking and, arguably, democracy. At the current rate of technological progress there's every chance the internal combustion engine will have died on the way to the scaffold.

I might have had a shaky experience in an electric car recently - I'm on my way to the hospital to find out when I can drive again - but I'm still very, very excited about the future of cars.

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