VHS or Betamax?

It’s clear and well documented that the auto industry has made a huge commitment to low carbon emission technology a conundrum in the last decade leading to a quest to change the way we propel our vehicles and a high profile crusade to reduce the impact of carbon emissions by cars on the environment, an element amongst the range of humanities’ emissions impact on ecosystems.

With this epiphany has come compromise specifically electric vehicles, (EV) not least the supply demands on the national grid, the deployment infrastructures and the practicalities of adapting such cars for long journeys. Equally what damage is likely due from the use of the super exotic raw materials used for the batteries and the sustainability of the ecological costs to extraction impacts when the volume of EV usage becomes the norm?

On the flip side, the EV vision shift has opened up a pandoras box of technological exploration and commercial opportunities within an industry awash with over capacity and questionable governance with super talented people accelerating the future mobility challenges from within micro start up businesses akin to the internet silicon valley start ups of the recent past.

The dynamic has been changing and the pendulum of acceptance and lobbying has swung in favour of the EV future and its momentum is now self governing and imprinted into a vibrant culture or movement that is capturing the mood of the day.

In reality, future mobility and EV go hand in hand for city and urban transport but there are other genres of vehicles that demand different solutions. Supercars, Hypercars & Racecars are different in the way that they are designed to assult all the senses…Could this pardigm shift have been different?

Have EV’s risen to the top due to the failure of alternatives?

Well, I guess we can never be sure, but for decades alternatives have been researched and continue to be so, all with compromise, but alternatives nonetheless, but one can’t help feeling that there was a point in time when were approached a VHS & Betamax moment when a choice needed to be made, not this time by consumer adoption, but politicisation.

The purists might see the rise of the EV as the antithesis to historically defined mobility using fossil fuel, the horror can be palpable with the momentum against seemingly unstoppable especially as it seems that we are forgetting all other alternatives with the now refining of what constitues the environmental benefit of demising fossil fuel usage.

Combustion engines will not totally become a thing of the past of course as they have a role to play with hybrid layouts, a seemingly sensible approach to the low carbon future, but for that purist car fan, high performance combustion engines are at odds with the environmental backdrop. Rasping noise and flames are words that could not be used to describe a Rimac, Tesla at full tilt… electric super cars, cool, fast, the future, but surely not the full answer – drama without the drama!

So how do we keep the sound and light show on? Heard of Biofuels?

Of course you have.

Bioethanol, has far fewer emissions than gasoline or coal. For that reason, the burning of bioethanol, especially in vehicles that can use fuels derived from them, is much better for the environment than some other alternative fuel sources. As with all alternative fuel uses, biofuels has its impact and potential damage of ecosystems, but who could not say that with these types of fuels taking pole position in the evolution race of low carbon that any investment and research could produce an equal potential as EV.

Bioethanol has for a while been employed as an alternative to fossil fuel and indeed back in 2004 an LMP1 race car running on bioethanol reached 200 mph along the Mulsanne straight and successfully finished the race and at the time signaling a possible direction for environmental empathy, sadly the car failed to adhere to strict, short sighted FIA rules which stiffled the excitement.

The car was entered and run in the 2004 Le Mans by Team Nasamax originally developed from a Reynard 01Q LMP and has been restored and given new life by the original project team that at KW Heritage who have modified the car to adapt a 5.5 litre Judd V10, an upgrade from the 5.0 Judd plant used back in the day. The additional sophistication about this restoration is use of additive manufacturing for component creation adapted from experience and work with the Formula One world.

This historic bioethanol Le Mans car will race again in the realigned Masters Historic series.

There is very clear synergy with what the experts at KW have achieved and the vision of Sarthe Cars with the use of 4th Industrial Revolution technology employed in the manufacture of thier model range. Specifically the creation of racing icons of the past in a modern interpretation created for road and track and likely powered by a bioethanol V10!

We look forward to seeing that!

The Ed