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PostHeaderIcon Ultimate Powertrain Showdown, Part I — Conventional Powertrains

Meet “The Neverending Article.” Sure, it seems like a pretty straightforward proposition: Compare and contrast the major motivators out there today. No problem, right? And it probably wouldn’t have been 30 years ago, when powertrain options were limited to your choice of either gas or diesel. However, the 21st century isn’t like the 20th. Here in the future, the minute you think you’re done writing about one kind of powertrain, another one comes along, and you’re right back to re-drafting your fifth introductory paragraph.

Keeping up is a Sisyphean task indeed; every time you think you’ve got that boulder to the top of the hill, a hydraulically driven spring accumulator shoves it right back down to the bottom. For as many times as we’ve run over the different methods of motivating an automobile, I’m pretty sure they’re halved compared to the number of times I’ve been run over by that boulder. But, that’s exactly what makes today so exciting.

In this article, I’m going to go over the pros and cons of the major powertrains on offer today: internal combustion (gas and diesel), hybrid and electric. Of course, these days, those are far from the only options on the table. With internal combustion engines having hit a likely impassable developmental wall (see “Seven Unexpected Reasons Why Electric Cars Are The Future”), we’re right back to the Wild West days of blue-sky thinking and anything-goes engineering. For a few of those, check out Part II of this article, “The Ultimate Powertrain Showdown – Weird and Wonderful.” That was originally the second half of this one, but it seems certain editors aren’t too fond of 4,700-word articles.

Still…what are you gonna do? Like the future itself, this is the article that never really ends. Like Sisyphus pushing his boulder up the hill, or writers on their fifth page-one rewrites, it seems we’ve all got a load to push if we’re going to undo the mistakes of the past. But it’s a welcome burden. When you’re finished with this one, make sure to check out Part II…to watch that rock roll downhill again.

Continue Reading for the whole story

Ultimate Powertrain Showdown, Part I — Conventional Powertrains originally appeared on topspeed.com on Thursday, 2 April 2015 09:00 EST.

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