Electric and Hybrid Cars: The Saga Continues

Last time I was here I talked briefly about the history of electric and hybrid cars and their slow, but sure, emergence into the market over the past 20 years. With the global climate change debate reaching new heights and the push to be less dependent on oil, we have seen standards been implemented here in the U.S. and abroad for gas and diesel engine emissions. By 2025 we should be seeing a gradual increase in real-world fuel economy to about 45mpg for the average car and 32 mpg for the average truck. This is huge, considering I currently drive a 2011 V8 truck that does 18mpg on the highway. On a good day! But who doesn’t love V8 power?? Even with progress in engine and transmission technologies helping improve efficiencies across manufacturing fleets, we are here to talk about hybrid and electric cars, and how their steady progress will soon enough grab hold of the automotive world.

I mentioned on my last blog entry that we’re starting to see that racing categories (Formula 1 and the World Endurance Championship) have jumped on the hype-train regarding hybrid technologies and one racing category, Formula-E, has taken it a step further and is on its 3rd full season of an all-electric racing series. And the hype is definitely real! Mercedes Benz just recently announced that they are planning on pulling out of DMT (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), the NASCAR “equivalent” of stock car racing in Germany, to enter and focus its money in Formula-E for the 2019 season onwards. They are planning on battling it out with current manufacturers such as Audi, Jaguar, and Renault, who have already seen the racing series to be a proper investment. This will only lead to Electric Vehicle technology to take leaps in the next few years of competition alone.

This of course is driven by the push to get rid of as many emissions as possible. There have been talks of large city centers to ban diesel vehicles altogether by 2025; including Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens. I previously mentioned that Ferrari is planning on having its full car lineup be hybrid cars by 2019 and Volvo has been the first manufacturer to formally announce that by 2019 it will only sell Evs and hybrid vehicles. Be prepared to see this technology further blow up in the next two decades, especially since two governments, Britain and France, have also formally announced to ban all gas and diesel car sales from 2040 and beyond.

It is definitely time to accept, even for us petrol-heads, that this technology is here to stay. There are new electric and hybrid vehicles popping up more and more, including pickup trucks and semis. Even retrofit powertrains are beginning to be installed in fleet vehicles such as FedEx delivery trucks and even garbage trucks, to put focus on large trucks that burn more fuel than standard passenger vehicles throughout the year. While it’s sad for purists to imagine a day when there might not be new, gas-burning cars to enjoy in the future, it’s good to see that we’re working on improving the world for generations to come.

- Victor Ceballos