There is no single ‘silver bullet’ technology solution to the global issue of emissions from road transport, different speakers said in the SMMT Summit debate ‘Technology: Moving Towards an Ultra-Low Carbon Future’.
Figures used by Constantinos Vafidis, from Fiat Powertrain Technologies, revealed road transport contributes less than 23% of global emissions, but are the cause that’s closest to the public’s everyday life.
He put forward a proposal that promoted different types of vehicles using different fuels based on their drive cycle.
Natural gas is ideal for buses and taxis where they can refuel centrally, and is suitable for private use if a local infrastructure exists.
He argued hybrid is not necessarily more efficient, but does reduce energy waste, and is good for small city cars if they can be made very light and efficient.
Vafidis admitted this wasn’t yet the case.
EVs are good for public utility vehicles such as delivery vans, but Vafidis concluded petrol and diesel will remain the prevailing technology in private cars for some years.
Peter Richings, chief hybrid engineer from Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), said worldwide emissions’ regulations were getting tougher year-on-year.
“It’s likely that by 2030 we will be looking at an average of 60-80g/km across a manufacturer’s fleet.
“That’s a challenge for manufacturers of premium products because we make larger cars,” he told delegates.
He said various measures were important and it wasn’t just about alternative technology.
These measures include reducing rolling resistance of tyres, improving aerodynamics, cutting weight by increased use of composites and improving efficiency of existing powertrains.
Dr Ben Lane, from Ecolane Transport Consultancy, said the electrification of the powertrain was inevitable.