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Old 02-18-2019, 10:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Slow Death of the Internal Combustion Engine

What I often see touted and inferred online by many journalists, politicians, and governments, is that the future is going to be fossil fuel free. Electric powered transportation would be used to move the masses. It will be a new green revolution, one that will succeed the oil and coal dominated revolution that started over a century ago. I see this in governments promising to ban gasoline and diesel by a certain year, by politicians who conjure lofty environmental goals and dub them as "The Green Deal", and by others who genuinely see the environment is worth protecting and believe that gas and oil are the evils we are waging a war against in this era.

Here's why I think that will never happen.

1. There must be diversity in our fuel sources.

While the percentage of gasoline cars will certainly decline with the rising popularity of EVs, it will never go away. I don't think it is possible for a population to produce enough electricity to support 100% of its vehicles to be electric powered. If each car traveled 1000 miles a month, that would amount to about 30-40% of what the average house consumes. Then add to that additional electricity that would be consumed by electric tractor trailers, farm equipment, and other commercial vehicles. That amounts to a substantial burden on our already strained electrical grid. It would take a complete overhaul of it to support such a system. Keeping gasoline around would not only ease the burden on the grid, but also limit our dependence on a single system.

2. Electricity cannot be stored efficiently.

It would require massive battery capacity to store electricity. What would happen in our all electric utopia if there was some sort of natural disaster? What if an area was cut off from power for an extended period of time? In today's world, fuel and supplies could be trucked in. Electricity cannot be trucked in. That would effectively limit the cleanup, rescue, and repairs that could be done. But wait... what if something could power a machine to generate electricity?

3. EVs are not powered by an ICE

I love working on cars. So do millions of other people in the US. The internal combustion engine is complex, and that makes it fun to work on. I think there will be a lot of resistance in the car community if gasoline was to be banned. The simplicity of electric motors would limit the amount of tinkering that others could do to it. Don't get me wrong; I'm sure I would love the instant torque an EV would provide. However, it is not an internal combustion engine.

4. The ICE is versatile

It has changed much in the 100+ years it has been around. Now we enjoy things such as forced induction and variable valve timing. This versatility has contributed to its survival, and will likely continue to do so.

5. Biofuel

I read that the US throws out enough plant waste to power about half of its vehicles if it were to be converted to biofuel. That is huge. It would be far more sustainable to use this waste to power vehicles than to whisk up electricity from solar or wind.

6. Lithium-ion batteries

I am very much a doubter when it comes to these batteries. They are bad for the environment, their cost is high, and they can catch on fire. Not to mention they can also explode. Gasoline also burns, however that is located towards the rear of the car, not underneath my feet.

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