Remembering The Combustion Engine

If I were to write what I thought about the electric car 15, 20 years ago, I would have used a lot of words unsuitable for publication. Back in the day with my brand new license and my gas gobbling MGB GT, the electric car in my mind was nothing more than a fancy milk float. I knew the technology was evolving but understood it would be some time before our roads became combustion free.

Although the thought of petrol-free motoring didn’t exactly worry me, it did make me think how lucky I was to have been born in a era that would allow me to spend the majority of my life riding out that last puff of exhaust fume before a law would finally snuff it out for good.

Of course, 15 years ago we didn’t have the hybrids either, and although they too will eventually come to an end, the petrol-powered car will be nothing more than pictures in books and examples in museums, most likely all snapped up by Jay Leno.

Perhaps it will be a while before we get that far, but I think if I ever had kids and eventually grandchildren, I’d find myself in the position where one will ask, “Granddad, did you ever drive a petrol car?” Just like I once might’ve asked my Granddad what it was like to travel on a steam train everyday.

Now, if you were to ask me what I think about the electric car 15 years on from my beloved MGB GT, I’d give you an entirely different answer. I say that the technology has got to a point where some seriously impressive stats are achievable. I’m not a fan of the hybrids, so I’m not totally won over with the direction they are going right now (I don’t like the idea of switching motors just to improve mileage and emissions) but once the technology allows for a fast car that can maintain performance over longer distances, then I think the electric car could be a brilliant bit of kit.

The Fisker Karma (pictured below) is proof that we will one day be driving in fully electric cars. These look great and can perform quite well – not quite up to the combustion engine mark yet. However, once the technology is there, the electric car will capable of some serious acceleration as the electric motor produces some big torque figures.

One day (if I live long enough) I’ll look back at the combustion engine with fondness and nostalgia, but being a car guy I won’t be saying things like, “Back in my day, cars were cars…” or “Those were the days, when cars were proper cars” as I’ll embrace the technology and hopefully be writing about 0-60 times of 2 seconds and quarter mile times of 9 seconds… all from electricity.

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