Are traditional automakers still investing in the internal combustion engine?
Right now, Tesla is at the vanguard of an all-electric future. On Wall Street, the company's market value has outpaced its auto industry counterparts who specialize in internal combustion engine (ICE) technology. Are things changing though? To that end, are Tesla's competitors still investing in ICE development anymore?
Above: Companies like Audi are beginning to introduce all-electric cars to compete with the likes of Tesla (Source: EVANNEX; Photo by Casey Murphy)
Analyzing legacy automakers, Jim Motovalli at Autoweek reports, "It’s plain that traditional gas and diesel cars—by far the majority of the market now—will have limited to zero shelf life in the near future. A battery-powered Corvette? Why not? We already have a plug-in Mustang."
So how about Ford — are they giving up entirely on the internal combustion engine? “We’re investing at least $22 billion through 2025 to deliver all-new electrified vehicles,” says T.R. Reid, Ford's director of corporate and public policy communications. However, “We also see a role for... internal combustion engines in certain applications in North America as we work to meet our commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050. Beyond that, we don’t comment on speculation about future vehicles or powertrains.”
Okay, so what about GM? General Motors announced last January that it is aiming at 2035 to stop selling gasoline and diesel vehicles. However, Chris Bonelli, global engines spokesman for GM admits, “we have a product plan to support our core internal combustion [engine] programs through 2035, which includes important updates to our current engines and all-new engine designs yet to be announced. We believe we can strive toward the 2035 aspiration, and ultimately an all-electric future, while continuing to innovate and develop our ICE offerings.”
Some automakers, however, could be getting more aggressive about melting the ICE. Back when Fiat Chrysler and PSA merged to become Stellantis, it was reported (via WardsAuto) that the company "is committed to an electric future and will not make any major future investments in internal combustion engines, [CEO Carlos] Tavares says. It will work with existing smaller engines from PSA and larger engines from FCA.”
And Mercedes-Benz Cars Chief Operating Officer Markus Schäfer told Auto Motor und Sport that there are no plans for next-generation internal combustion engines. All Benz cars will be offered in electrified versions by 2022.
Audi CEO Markus Duesmann told the German publication Automobilwoche, “We will no longer develop a new internal combustion engine, but will adapt our existing engines to new emission guidelines.” And VW CEO Ralf Brandstätter has pretty much said the same thing.
According to Autoweek's Motovalli, only BMW appears to be staying the course and clinging to an ICE future. Will they be left out in the cold? BMW CEO Oliver Zipse was quoted as saying the company does not have plans to stop developing gas and diesel engines, and added that demand for internal combustion engine powered cars “will remain robust for many years to come.”