With countries the world over looking to ban internal combustion engines in city centers and tech geeks getting all gung-ho about Tesla, you may think fossil fuels are on the way out, but you’d be wrong. Very wrong.
Speaking to automotive industry professionals at a conference this week, Mazda North America’s president of special operations, Robert Davis, was critical about fleetwide average emissions ratings. Automakers are currently producing zero-emission electric models to offset the emissions of thirstier cars and meet average fuel economy goals set by regulators. This doesn’t make sense, he argues, as it’s not truly reducing emissions levels, but simply offsetting them. Additionally, EVs that use lithium ion batteries aren’t truly “zero emissions” as fossil fuels are still used extensively in the production process.
“We’re all better than this. We can do better than this,” he said. “We need to consider that this is not zero emissions. This is remote emissions or displaced emissions. We need to work on the best solution for the customers and for the environment in a common target, not an instruction manual on how to get there.”
Mazda believes there are still great gains to be made in regards to making ICE vehicles more fuel efficient and kinder to the environment. The automaker would rather make highly fuel efficient ICE engines than invest heavily in EVs and hybrids, since EVs will, in the end, rely on fossil fuel vehicles in their production processes anyway. Going through the trouble of researching and developing EVs for the purpose of being kinder to the environment only to use massive amounts of fossil fuels to produce them makes very little sense at this time, he said.
“The internal combustion engine has a strong future role in transportation,” Davis said. “We certainly considered the adoption of new technologies, batteries, EVs, plug-in hybrids and everything else. But they all share the internal combustion engine. So before we go into the time and effort and expense of adding electrification, we were convinced that a solid, efficient internal combustion engine was critical.”
[Source: Automotive News]