Declaring the internal combustion engine dead? You’re speaking too soon

Enlarge / DETROIT, USA - JANUARY 15: Model of a Saudi Aramco internal combustion engine is on display during the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan, on January 15, 2018. (Photo by David Graff/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images)

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD—A Wednesday morning panel at the ARPA-E summit provocatively asked if the auto industry is about to see ”The End of the Road for the Internal Combustion Engine?”

Though all the panel members agreed that gas- and diesel-based systems are on a path to losing market share, none would admit that the internal combustion engine (ICE) would be completely replaced by the electric vehicle (EV). At least before 2050. So what do industry leaders think will happen or should happen to the evolution of drivetrains in the future?

Perhaps the most interesting perspective came from Amitai Bin-Nun, a vice president in charge of autonomous vehicle innovation for the nonprofit Securing America’s Future Energy, or SAFE. Bin-Nun argued that, without a transition to autonomous vehicles, EVs would not see the mass-market adoption that boosters have been hoping for.

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