The renaissance of the internal combustion engine

Kai Gondlach

„People who are believed to be dead live longer,“ Albert Einstein or Mark Twain once said. The list of empirical examples cited for this may soon be extended by a candidate that no one really expects: the internal combustion engine.

Electromobility is the new religion

All the world and mass media are rushing in terms of drive technology and Fuels for cars and other vehicles straight towards E.E. is like a new religion. E divides the spirits, the political camps, the corporate worlds and for many reasons. Those who dominate the e-mobility market have overrun the established industry. Feeling overnight, Tesla launched an almost everyday electric car (Roadster), then a relatively expensive, really everyday (S), then one at an acceptable price (3)*, not to mention an SUV (X).

The arrogance of the established car industry is just becoming a disaster for it, the public fight against electric cars has been settled and now they too are building e-models, some more, some less. It is a „technology of the future“ (what nonsense, the very first cars were also electric), and in view of the ever-increasing CO2 requirements for car manufacturers, one must strive to emit less dirt on average. That is why the E-Smart will soon be available, so that the luxury sedans of the same group can continue to chase 600 hp with diesel or gasoline engines across the federal roads.

On the other hand, the persevering e-skeptics. Lithium-ion batteries, they argue, may generate less CO2 emissions with commissioning. But for the production, large quantities of so-called blood raw materials such as cobalt or, as the name suggests, lithium must be mined. These are mainly present where health and labour law standards are pure theory. And perhaps in Saxony. In addition, large amounts of energy are needed to produce a battery at all – which is mainly fueled by fossil sources. And then it is also the case that batteries with a reasonable capacity for several 100km drive of a car put a handsome weight on the scale. That’s why you only produce a good part of the battery to move yourself – somehow paradoxical. The bottom line, clever people have calculated that an electric car like the Tesla Model S only really drives after 80-100,000 kilometers driven.

It always sounds stupid, but: futurologists have long known that the future of the industry will not be dominated by electric motors. Of course, it is no longer possible to prevent a certain proportion of passenger vehicles from being electrically powered in 2030 (I estimate somewhere between 15 and 25 percent). But with all the foam around the battery-powered vehicles, a few exciting technological developments are taking off from their infancy to attack the e-revolution.

The Revolution of the Revolution of Mobility

How crazy does the idea of extracting CO2 from the atmosphere, chemically marrying it with hydrogen and producing a liquid fuel that generates thrust in conventional combustion engines seems to you? Or if we could use toxic by-products of the chemical industry such as LOHC with a similar goal? That’s what’s happening right now. In the above paragraph, I deliberately linked only two sources, various actors from a wide range of industries (including Audi) around the globe are working to save the existing cars with internal combustion engines from the exitus.

I am always amazed at the stubbornness of the public, or even politics, of ignoring such developments. One prefers to argue about the evil cobalt and hacks in a bad mood tweets into his smartphone (which, incidentally, was also lumped together from a lot of blood raw materials by often suicidal workers of the to-supply of the iridescent brands). Eyes on, dear people: the revolution of the revolution has long since begun.

Conclusion: The internal combustion engine is not dead, only the burning of fossil fuels. The lobbying process for funding for either electromobility or the rehabilitation of the incinerator is likely to be in full swing.

PS: For the sake of completeness: in this short article I deliberately focus only on „traditional“ electric motors vs. Incinerator, all other concepts (from hydrogen hybrid to ion drive to thorium) I exclude. Additions please go to the comment field ????

*Funny fact: The Model 3 was originally intended to be called Model E, but this was banned by the competition under trademark law. But also with S, 3 and X the guckjoke of Elon Musk’s hot electric car trio works. We can’t wait to see if he turns it into a foursome with a Model Y (speculation based on Elon Musk’s biography).

Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

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