Powertrains and automobiles

Powertrains and automobiles

It will come as no shock (no pun intended) to discover that the world of automotive propulsion is changing. The internal combustion engine – whether diesel or petrol – currently remains, by far, the most popular form of powertrain but increasingly attentions are turning to alternative forms of propulsion – in particular, electric.

BYD, Byton, Tesla and, now, even Dyson are just a few of the names synonymous with the electric car surge. But they are by no means the only ones. The more familiar (to certain generations) brand names, most of which today are more typically associated with internal combustion engine propulsion, are also keen contenders in the ‘race’.

Take one of Nobull’s clients for example, Volvo Cars which has one of the automotive industry’s most comprehensive electrification strategies in which all new models released from 2019 will be available as either a mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicle with the aim for fully electric cars to make up 50% of its sales by 2025.

Whether you class electric automotive propulsion as ‘disruption’ or simply ‘evolution’ is open to debate but what is key is that, without doubt, the pace of change across industries and societies is moving at an exponential rate. Take the technology sphere for example, there has been an explosive increase in speed of uptake across a variety of platforms. For example, it took 75 years for the telephone to reach 100 million users, seven years for the internet, four years for Facebook and two years for Instagram to achieve the same feat. Still impressive, but not as rapid, it took 13 years for the Amazon Prime service to reach 100 million users.

Now, all this is not to say electric vehicle uptake will develop at the same pace but the current indicators point towards rapid progress: it took five years to sell the first million electric cars globally, it has taken just six months to sell the next million; in the UK alone, sales of electric vehicles (hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric) reached a record high in August, accounting for one in every 12 new cars purchased; and with the likes of Dyson, which has invested £85m already in the development of electric vehicles with an anticipated £500m plus to follow, clearly the ‘race’ really is on.

Despite all this, with some 950 million passenger cars in use today throughout the world and another 98.9 million cars produced globally in 2017 alone, there is a very long way to go. And it’s not only the actual product that needs to develop – government policies will need to evolve; regional economies will need to transition; charging infrastructures will require major investment; and social acceptance will be vital.

However, crucially at the moment it looks like electric is starting to lead the charge… in fact, so much so, that even Lego is getting in on the act with its life-size, fully functional and self-propelled Bugatti Chiron replica… is this simply a sign of things to come?

Photo credit: Lego