The future looks bleak for high-performance petrol engines. Several governments around the world have announced a total ban on internal combustion engines (ICE) over the next decade or so, in a push to get more electric vehicles (EV) on the road.
The UK recently confirmed that its goal is to have all new vehicles sold by 2030 be either EVs or plug-in hybrids (PHEV). But Aston Martin boss, Lawrence Stroll, has vowed to fight for the life of the internal combustion engine, telling the recent Financial Times Future of Cars Summit that despite the ban the British brand will still offer petrol-engined sports cars beyond 2030.
“By 2030, five per cent of business will still always be ICE,” Stroll reportedly said. “I never see it going down to zero.”
Aston Martin’s current range is powered by a combination of an AMG-sourced 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 and its own 5.2-litre twin turbo V12. It’s also working on an all-new 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine, that was initially planned to replace the German-made V8 until Stroll’s takeover. Instead, the Canadian businessman has forged closer ties with Mercedes-Benz and has renewed the deal to use the AMG V8 and even get its own unique tune in the future.
The deal with Mercedes is also expected to include hybrid systems, and the Aston Martin V6 is reportedly hybrid capable too, so the brand will be ready to meet its home country’s requirements to offer EVs and PHEVs by 2030.
Another important change under Stroll’s leadership is dumping a planned revival of the Lagonda luxury brand as an all-electric rival to Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Instead, Aston Martin will begin offering its own EVs by the middle of the decade – although there are few details about what form that vehicle will take.
Aston Martin isn’t the only brand to fight for the future of petrol power either. Fellow sports car brand Ferrari has said it will resist the industry push towards complete electrification for as long as possible. Torquecafe.com recently reported that Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri said that despite plans to offer hybrid versions of many models in the coming years, EVs will remain in the minority.
“My own sense is that to sort of say 100 per cent electric, that’s pushing things,” Camilleri said. “I really don’t see Ferrari ever being at 100 per cent EV. And, certainly not in my lifetime it will reach even 50 per cent.”
Porsche is trying to find an alternative path to protect the long-term future of internal combustion engines, investing millions into synthetic fuel research and development. The German brand last week announced it was partnering with Siemens Energy to establish an eFuels factory in Chile that can produce carbon neutral liquid fuel that could save the petrol-powered engine as we know it.