Hybrid engines are the new ‘must-be-seen-to-be-doing-something’ accessory for the car industry (News, 19 September).
But I think if you look closely at the figures you’ll find that the money spent on R&D into hybrids is dwarfed by the cash still being invested in conventional technology, petrol and diesels. But a small programme can be blown up into a big noise, reassuring the public and the governments that the industry is coming up with alternative technologies.
Don’t expect hybrids to be anything more than a sideshow, especially if, as many in the industry believe, it will only be a stepping stone to a truly alternative engine system such as the hydrogen car. No-one is going to invest much money in a stop-gap, no matter how worthy it is.
The real answer to the global oil crisis is to secure sources of supply, increase refining capacity and make the oil-burning technologies we have more efficient.