Are Petrol and Diesel Engines a Thing of the Past ?

Are Petrol and Diesel Engines a Thing of the Past?

Ford C-maxWhile it is widely considered that Electric transport, be it Hybrid, Battery or Hydrogen Electric is a serious step towards a more sustainable form of transport, Conventional Engines are still no.1 when it comes to car sales and are likely to be so for the foreseeable future. While the long term future of transport lies with a more sustainable fuel source than petrol and Diesel, advances in motor technology have resulted in manufacturers producing more energy effecient and lower emmision engines, while still retaining the same size body.

This downsizing consists of reducing the size of the engines within a car range and turbo charging them to compensate for the loss in power. Some manufacturers have developed other systems of reducing consumption, like Mzada’s “Skyactiv”. This label offers a petrol engine with a very high compression ratio (14:1) which has reduced consumption by up to 15%.

Direct fuel injection, variable geometry turbo chargers, variable valve technology, friction reduction (this involves the use of lower viscostity oils) and various other improvements have made Petrol and Diesel cars far more energy effecient than their predecessors. Stop start technology has also made a big improvement in terms of consumption for city driving in particular.Toyota Yaris

The same applies to alternator management systems, which only charges the battery during deceleration when the energy comes not from the engine but from the inertia of the vehicle.

Another essential element in reducing a cars fuel consumption in future designs has been a reduction in the vehicles weight. Cars kept on getting heavier in the past to satisfy the requirements of style, comfort and the instalation of safety equipment. However several manufacturers have recognised the importance in the need to reduce the vehicles weight and the gains that can be achieved from this and have successfuly broken this vicious circle.

Among the most recent example is VW’s latest range like the VW Golf mk VII, which has been trimmed down by about  100kgs compared with its predecessor. How? by only using material where it is really necessary and the adoption of hot formed ultra-high strenght steel in the body, which has a resistance of up to 15 times that of traditional material.Jetta Hybrid

So as long as C02 emissions and fuel consumption reductions are being achieved from modern Petrol and Diesel engines, motorists won’t feel the full affects of fuel price increases. Having said that, manufacturers agree that there is a limit to the effeciency you can achieve from a vehicles engine before you start to compromise on its size, safety and style. When this happens and when fuel prices increase to  levels that are unsustainable for the motorist, then we will find ourselves seriously considering Hybrid and Electric Vehicles as that alternative to economical motoring. To view a list of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles available in Ireland go to