Internal Combustion Engines Sticking Around to 2050: Report

Although new propulsion systems are growing in popularity and becoming more efficient, a study conducted by the panel advising the energy department has found that the internal combustion engine will remain the main source of vehicle power until at least 2050.

The technological hurdles and high cost of developing alternate power sources are cited as the two main issues that will keep tech such as batteries and hydrogen out of the mainstream. The U.S. government however is trying to promote these new-age power plants, and has provided funding for companies like Tesla Motors and Fisker, as well made a declaration that there should be 1 million hybrid or all-electric vehicles on the roads by 2015.

In 2009, energy secretary Steven Chu requested that the council devise the study, the results from which were presented to him this week. The primary was finding was that the internal combustion engine will stay the “dominant propulsion system for decades to come,” said Bill Reinert, a co-author of the report and a Toyota exec.

The study went on to say that vehicle efficiency is still capable of increasing up to 90 percent with the further development of hybrids, and weight-loss in our cars.

Hydrogen will begin to emerge as the main competitor to gasoline engine, but it will take a “disruptive innovation” to actually unseat ICB engines as the most cost-efficient, easy to manufacture power plants.

Check out AutoGuide’s top 10 upcoming electric vehicles list.