Will 2030 mark the end of the internal combustion engine?
Unless you’ve been hiding under a bush for the past few years, you’ll know that the UK Government has pledged to ban the sale of petrol and diesel internal combustion engines by 2030.
For now, the internal combustion engine ban in the UK excludes motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, but it’s only a matter of time before the prohibition extends to these categories.
This news leaves us torn.
On the one hand, we love our planet, and we want to be responsible custodians. We want our children and their children’s children to have the same quality of life as we’ve had, if not better. So we’re finding the current global race to become carbon neutral utterly fascinating.
On the other hand, considering electric-vehicle (EV) options for a motorcycle sends shivers down our spine. Sure, the levels of torque produced by an EV are outstanding. But there’s more to motorcycling and motorsport than torque. What about the sounds and smells?
- Hearing the tone of the engine change as you go up through the revs.
- The satisfying “bang” you experience as unspent fuel ignites in the exhaust.
- Perhaps you’re of an age where you remember the sweet smell of Castrol-R during the two-stroke era.
- For road motorcyclists, there are also safety aspects. We’re already invisible to many other road users. Will a silent motorcycle increase our risk on the road?
Can these sensory rewards be successfully replicated on an EV?
Will the global drive to reduce CO2 kill off the internal combustion engine (ICE)?
Just how will the UK internal combustion engine ban affect bikers?
Petrolheads Fear Not!
While the motor industry races to introduce EVs into their product range, predictions are that the internal combustion engine will still power 50% of vehicles on the road.
The development of green Hydrogen and carbon-neutral synthetic fuel (eFuel) is gaining momentum, and it is eFuel, specifically, that’s very much caught our attention.
- Zero Modifications: eFuel can be used in existing petrol and diesel internal combustion engines without any modifications.
- Efficiency: eFuels are more efficient because they are purer, having only eight to ten elements, whereas crude-derived fuels have 30 to 40.
- Cleaner: eFuels are also cleaner than fossil fuel equivalents, creating fewer particulates and nitrogen oxides.
- Accessibility: eFuel can be delivered using the existing fuel distribution network.
How is eFuel produced?
- Capturing carbon from CO2 in the atmosphere or from an industrial process such as steelmaking.
- Extract Hydrogen from water via electrolysis.
- Synthesise CO2 and Hydrogen to create a hydrocarbon.
Of course, eFuel is only carbon neutral if the Hydrogen used is from a carbon-neutral source, which is still relatively expensive. Nevertheless, the cost of hydrogen production will fall as renewable energy costs come down.
We like the idea that eFuel potentially offers us the opportunity to continue with our passion in an environmentally responsible way. Will the next eco-evolution focus on producing environmentally friendly tyres and engine oils?
What’s Happening At The Pumps Today?
To reduce CO2 emissions from existing fuel sources, the UK Government introduces E10 fuel at the pumps in Summer 2021. E10 petrol contains up to 10% renewable ethanol, which is added to reduce CO2 emissions and help tackle climate change. With the higher level of ethanol, E10 isn’t suitable for all. For example, some older fuel tanks constructed of fibre-glass are not suitable for storing E10. The higher levels of ethanol degrade the fuel tank’s integrity.
How Does E10 Affect Motorcycle Helmet Safety?
You may well be thinking, what the heck does my fuel choice have to do with helmet safety? Well, if you’re one of those bikers who places your helmet on top of your fuel tank, it might affect you more than you realise. We’ll be discussing the intrinsic link between fuel and helmet safety in our next post.
We’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a note in the comments below.