The future of a petrolhead in the face of the EV revolution

I felt the need to discuss this after learning that the diesel variant of the Innova had been discontinued.

BHPian MVM recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Greetings to all the BHPians on this forum.

I have always been in love with cars my entire life and in the recent past I have grown fond of bikes too, especially those that belong to a bygone era. One of the very first words I uttered was “Boo car” which was what I called a blue coloured toy car I had as a toddler. I was never particular in my taste of cars, I loved any car irrespective of the power, handling, top speed etc. This love for cars has been imparted to me by my father and to him by my grandfather. As I moved into my teenage years this love for cars grew into a love for all things mechanical. Engines,Mechanical watches, typewriters etc. I tried to learn my way around a car’s engine bit by bit. Trying to do small jobs on my parents’ cars making sure not break something in the process. For a very long time the day I looked forward to the most was my 18th birthday after which I could finally learn to drive a car and enjoy the feeling of driving a car. I used to dream of rowing through the gears on an empty road while driving into the sunset. I recently turned 18 and have started learning how to drive a car and have been enjoying the process for the most part. The part that disappoints me is that I know that I won’t be driving manual, internal combustion cars for very long.

My dad has been driving for the better part of 37 years and I know that I won’t be driving a petrol or diesel powered car for anywhere near as long as that. I felt the need to discuss this after learning that the diesel variant of the Innova had been discontinued. I felt disappointed when Maruti pulled the plug for their iconic 1.3L diesel which had been used in their cars since the first Swift diesel was launched in India. For the past 15 years we have had the Maruti 1.3L diesel engine in 3 of our cars, 2 of which we still own. The diesels are slowly being pulled from production and within the next 10 to 15 years I feel the petrol engines will face a similar fate. Petrolheads are an endangered species and with fewer people from my generation showing interest in cars I feel the number of petrolheads from the generations to come will be negligible. Our beloved IC cars will probably die a slow and painful death in the years to come.

I request the members of this forum to share their thoughts on this matter.

Thank you for your time.

Here’s what GTO had to say on the matter:

Don’t worry, the future is bright for petrolheads . Here’s why:

Petrol engines are here to stay. It’s a long, long time (think couple of decades) before they are phased out (if at all) in favour of EVs. And even in a hypothetical full-on EV world of 2050, there will always be a few ICE vehicles on offer.

We’re past “peak diesel” for sure. They have gotten a bad rep (thanks VW Dieselgate), emission norms are very tough and even buyer preferences are changing. I find it hard to believe, but I am suddenly open to the idea of a turbo-petrol Jeep! But hey, even if in the used market, you’ll have plenty of fast turbo-diesels to choose from for the next 10 – 15 years.

Thanks to turbo-charging, cars are getting faster and faster. Even budget cars offer ~100 BHP today (Citroen C3 has 109), while there are so many 150 BHP options in the 15 – 20 lakh space.

EVs will democratize performance. No 10-15 lakh rupee petrol or diesel car can do 0 – 100 in 6 to 7 seconds. I can bet you that EVs will. EVs are fun handlers too, because of their lower center of gravity (not to mention, the instant torque delivery).

We have way more choice in today’s market than we did back in the day.

Lastly, to all the young petrolheads starting off, let me just say that you can have fun in any car. It’s not necessary to have 200 BHP under the hood with razor-sharp handling. Here’s our thread on the same. I’ve had some great memorable drives in cars like the Swift, i20, MG Hector, Scorpio-N etc.

That being said, what I do feel bad about is the mechanical feel of cars diminishing & good engines being discontinued (e.g. S-Cross 1.6L, Audi’s 3.0L…).

Here’s what BHPian extreme_torque had to say on the matter:

I think we are already at the inflection point of BEV adoption whether we like it or not. By 2030 my estimate is that in most mature big automobile markets, EV’s would account for over 80% of the sales and you can hold me to this number come 2030.

For example in China, the biggest automobile market, a quarter of all cars sold were electric amounting to about 3.3m cars and its almost doubling yoy. To put it in perspective, 2 more doublings and we are looking at 100% EV sales! Tesla sold more than 80k Model Y’s in September this year outstripping the sales of gas powered SUV’s from BMW, Mercedes and the likes.

Europe is going through a similar fate as well. In September of this year, Model Y was the best selling car in Germany, not the best selling EV, best selling car. The sales of electric vehicles against is more than a quarter of all sales in almost all European countries, Norway being much further ahead.

The only other major market, USA is still behind but EV’s have already passed 5% of new car sales which is the tipping point for mass adoption. Add in the recently announced EV incentives, it is only going to increase. And if the legacy car makers want to survive and give themselves a chance to compete with Tesla or EV companies from China and not go bankrupt they should have started yesterday. Also being a pick up truck market, I feel Cybertruck when it is launched is going to lead the way. All things are pointing to production beginning early next year and then the ramp up.

We should have had a clear singleminded policies around EV’s like China but as always we have already missed the bus. China literally red carpet welcomed Tesla to set up their manufacturing inspite of their high quality local EV start ups and now the whole industry is competitive. With most major markets moving to EV’s I dont think Indian market will have choice unless we keep buying the outdated and continue importing expensive oil.

Here’s what BHPian shankar.balan had to say on the matter:

This is a good view. I take heart that they won’t completely remove all ICE cars. And my present stable have several years left in them in terms of ‘Fitness’.

I agree that one can have a lot of fun in any car and it doesn’t necessarily need to be a super fast car or super handler. For example I think I love driving my Gypsy whenever possible just because of its own character and that lovely mechanical feel.

I am only hoping that in India also, just like in the UK and US and AU and EU, they come up with good rules for old cars with high quality monitoring and strong, honest enforcement. I will willingly subscribe, just to keep my lovely cars on the road and enjoy them from time to time.

And I’m sure most of us here will do just that!

Here’s what BHPian ajayc123 had to say on the matter:

Thank you for sharing your boo-tiful post. What a way to activate your tongue.

Stop worrying and start enjoying driving responsibly. ICEs will surely have a long tail and they should be around for decades.

When I reflect back at the transformation that we have seen, it just amuses me no end. A few decades ago, there were big news articles that the fossil fuel will get over before the middle of this century, now the tables have turned. Fossil fuels are still around and in plenty, but the buzz is around ICEs getting extinct now, for different reasons. God knows the reality, but entertainment continues.

Anyway, in the turn of the events, the founders of this portal have demonstrated the foresight in naming this portal with the timeless moniker bhp, which is quite agnostic of the technology. Let’s say if the site had a locator like petrolheads, then they would have been staring at an existential identity crisis at some point.

Here’s what BHPian SKC_auto had to say on the matter:

ICE cars will be probably used for motorsports, the rich can definitely enjoy some track days, for the ordinary people ICE is dead, cannot assign a date, completely depends on the future govts. By 2050 you will have tremendous range anxiety finding a petrol pump, paying a hefty price for 1L petrol.

Electricity is the most efficient and clean energy humans have invented, the reason all our appliances run on electricity. Cars are also moving in that direction, Hydrogen, synthetic fuels are just a distraction.

Here’s what BHPian anjan_c2007 had to say on the matter:

Petrol heads will surely remain alive, well and kicking at least till the lifetimes of all present day teambhpians.

  1. There’s nothing either worth its salt or worth even a mention that could scare or deter petrol heads from their passion!
  2. This is very true despite the fact that many doomsayers predict that petrol heads could be soon out of fashion!
  3. Once petrol heads resist, endure and survive the new headwinds which are expected at the rate of one every decade, the non petrol heads and doomsayers would learn their lesson!
  4. Every other headwind, be it either in form of the hybrid or EV or hydrogen or else, could soon face contraction leading to their population subtraction and could eventually go out of fashion!
  5. Petrol heads have no expiry date, nor do their cars/bikes though these have been and would be demanding gasoline only to fill empty stomachs (since 136 years) by the gallons!

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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