If you regularly read our news reports about environmentally friendly cars on these pages, you might be forgiven for thinking that the internal combustion engine is dead.
Not so, said the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact, it has a very bright future indeed.
The agencys Byron Bunker recently spoke at a conference presented by the US Department of Energy and said that the future of the internal combustion engine was ¬bright and clear®. He predicted a future where 95% or more of vehicles will still make us of internal combustion engines. These engines, he said, should become more robust to fuel variation. They will also need ever more sophisticated sensor technologies and adaptive control schemes. Mass production is a prerequisite to control costs.
A number of other speakers at the same conference echoed Bunkers opinions about the continued importance of internal combustion engines. The MD of MAHLE Powertrain, Hugh Blaxill, commented that a move to more variable valve-train technologies and an increase in the use of four-cylinder engines and direction injection systems will be the beginning of a new era of hybrid powertrains and downsized applications.
Doctor David Greene, attached to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, also addressed conference goers. He stressed the importance of efficiency improvement in the transportation sector as part of the overall transformation process from petrol-based to non-petrol-based forms of energy.
What does this mean to the ordinary car buyer? Simply that there will be a wider array of choices in future and that cars will continue to become more economical and environmentally friendly.
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