For years there have been reports of the internal combustion engines’ approaching death and they might all be entirely premature, but events unfolding around the world are now establishing a favorable climate for the successor technologies.
Toyota, counting down since 2010, has announced recently it would move to lower the average emissions of its new vehicles by 90 percent by 2050 – and that essentially means the traditional, gasoline-only operated autos would make up a small minority of its production lineup – with hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fuel cells becoming the main powertrain options. “You may think 35 years is a long time,” commented Senior Managing Officer Kiyotaka Ise about the announcement. “But for an automaker to envision all combustion engines as gone is pretty extraordinary.” Meanwhile in China, the world’s largest auto market, the government has reiterated its pledge to become a forefront nation for new energy vehicles – their term for plug in hybrids, fuel cells and battery electrics – pledging further support and incentives, as well as harsh actions against those trying to impair the development of green auto technology.
Additionally and separately, the same day Toyota announced its new green commitment, a nonpartisan group looking to shed the US dependence on oil established an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force set to promote battery-based, self-driving vehicles and work with regulators to establish the legal limits for their real-world introduction. These moves come in the wake of the monstrous VW diesel emissions cheating scandal and just ahead of next month’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.