What is a petrolhead's ideal future?
I think I have earned the title of "petrolhead" so here's what I hope the future of the car holds
Times are changing in the automotive industry, like it or not. As climate change has become an ever-growing issue, our beloved car has been targeted as a mechanism of slowing it down. But when governments have imposed bans and various restrictions on the car, they have entirely forgotten to ask about those who care, love and know about the car: the petrolhead. We have been labelled as a dangerous enemy to the World with aged and unrationalised views and have subsequently been overlooked and then looked down upon by the general public. But they don't know about our stuff, do they? We for the most part appreciate climate change as an issue and have a degree of expertise in the automotive sector, so it would surely make sense to ask us what we would do. So, as one of these so called "petrolheads", here is my take on the situation.
I for one believe that climate change is a huge issue that really does need to be stopped in its tracks and I will champion that view above all others. However, this is admittedly a somewhat diluted view, diluted by my love for the internal combustion engine (ICE). The ICE just gives you a certain passion and soul I am yet to find within an alternative fuel source. Said passion is somewhat unexplainable but very evident when you drive the two. I understand Electric Cars for example are still in their infancy but take this as an example.
The brand new Rimac C-Two is an engineering marvel. It boasts mind-boggling performance statistics alongside what is likely to be astonishing handling prowess. Then take a Pagani Huarya. It is for sure slower and probably inferior dynamically, but looks aside, it is the one many enthusiasts would rather own. This is because you will feel more connected to the car when you drive it. That is for many reasons, not just the intoxicating whine of the V12 engine. It just feels more characterful than the Rimac. You can sense the amount of time and care that has gone into handcrafting this masterpiece for example whereas the Rimac feels somewhat stolid in comparison. I'm by no means saying that if the Rimac had engine noise and was handmade it would feel more soulful as there is so much more to it than that. If you can excuse the cliché: there is a connection between man and machine that you just can't feel with any electric car and that is something that genuinely can't and won't be fixed or improved upon. Objectively, the Rimac is far superior and probably the better car, but the Huarya is far more soulful and that's what sets it apart from the endless ultra high performance Electric hypercars.
This Rimac C-Two is an engineering marvel and is objectively superior to almost everything else on the road...
...but us petrolheads would have a Huarya any day even if it lacks in performance when compared to the Rimac because it has true soul.
The next major point of discussion is emissions. Having done relatively extensive research, I can confidently conclude that the ICE does have genuine carbon free potential (at least not in its current form) but it is extremely energy inefficient to do so. This is only achievable via accelerated development of synthetic fuels which are only about 13% energy efficient throughout their lifetime in comparison to FCEVs which are 44% efficient throughout the same timespan and BEVs which are 88% efficient. They may have much more carbon free potential than other fuels, but they fall behind in other more significant emissions and in efficiency so probably shouldn't be used in the mainstream. I still believe that synthetic fuel powered ICE cars should have a future in the enthusiast sector and that includes older cars and cars developed in the future though.
However, those are genuinely the only reasons I can think of to keep the ICE on the road. It is quite evident that soon EVs and multiple other alternative fuel sources will outclass them in every other way measurable be it charging times, range, performance, price or anything else unemotional that springs to mind. But banning their production or them being driven altogether is futile. We have proven that they can be carbon free and even if this process is expensive and inefficient, as more convenient carbon neutral fuel sources come into place (not necessarily EVs or Hydrogen or any current fuel) you will see them only attract an enthusiast market which is relatively small so that effect won't be particularly significant. But remember the enthusiast still market exists. It is something that will exist as long as the car itself exists, and probably many years after that and to keep us happy, let our cars live. I don't mean an EV or something that drives like an ICE car, I mean pure, unadulterated internal combustion because that's what we like.
Synthetic fuels have carbon neutral potential but lack in other areas
In fact, in the first paragraph of article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it is stated that: "Everyone has the right to freely take part in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to participate in scientific progress and the benefits that result from it." So if we aren't and won't be affecting the ultimate environmental goal any more than anyone else, then why should we be stopped in participating in our trivialities? That just seems like hypocrisy! I don't think that the ICE will be mainstream for long because it is too inefficient but by simply letting it live you would be quite literally keeping about 10 million people within a cultural community and participating in scientific development and the benefits of it for many years to come
In summary, the ICE shouldn't be the main fuel of the future because it is too flawed and complex for there to be a truly valid case for it. What will honestly take up that mantra is beyond me as we probably don't have it now but it is likely the more deserved choice when it does. I don't care what it is, but I hope it comes soon. However, whilst I am of that view, the ICE should be let free from its shackles. We have just as much right as any group of people to enjoy what we love doing and that involves the ICE above anything else. Especially if it doesn't greatly interefere with the main issue we face now. So I would ask to lift all the silly bans and regulations and just let us do as we please. Our cars should be allowed to be produced deep into the future of the automobile, albeit probably modified so they only run on renewable fuels. This way no one will be making a huge sacrifice and we will all be achieving what we wish.