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‘The internal combustion engine still has a fair bit of life in it yet’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler believes electrification won’t kill off petrol and diesel for some time

If you believe the headlines in some of the media over the past week the end of the road for petrol and diesel cars is nigh. We’re delighted to set the record straight – that’s utter tosh!

Many people mis-read Volvo’s announcement that all new models post-2019 will feature some form of electrification. That doesn’t mean every Volvo will be fully electric. Eventually, maybe, but not for a good while yet.

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We’re big fans of what electrification can bring to our cars; we love the environmental and cost benefits it can bring, as well as the actual driving experience. And fair play to Volvo – by making this announcement it has further cemented its position as a leader in advanced technology.

But the simple fact is that the good old internal combustion engine still has a fair bit of life in it yet. Battery technology won’t be at a stage for a while where it can power larger cars for longer distances – at least not at affordable prices.

It’ll happen and it may come sooner than some people think such is the amount of resource being piled into battery research right now, especially with pretty much every manufacturer focusing so much effort on EV programmes.

Demand for electrified cars (full EVs, plug-in hybrids and mild hybrids) is increasing rapidly and the talk of the industry is the tipping point when more buyers start to put these models on their shopping lists. I think that could happen soon, too. The biggest barriers to EV ownership – price and range – are being overcome with each new launch.

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But all this talk of cars with plugs brings another issue: charging. The new Audi A8 introduces a novel solution – inductive charging. However, the number of charging points needs to keep pace with the growing number of electric cars. That’s something the industry and government need to address fast, or they risk halting the electric car charge.

How much longer will the combustion engine be around for? Leave your predictions below!

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Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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