You’d think three simple questions would spark three easy answers. Usually, but not always.
I’ve spent my working life as an engineer in the automotive industry. 25 years of experience has created the belief in others I must have a few answers, especially industry outsiders.
So, picking up the “theme of three” from my last couple of posts, here are the three most common questions I’m usually asked.
Aren’t all cars going to EVs (electric vehicles) in the next 10 years?
The short answer is no.
I can see why it might be widely believed that EVs will be so widespread in such a short time. Keep in mind a decade is approximately the single lifecycle of a new-model vehicle for many brands. And also keep in mind there are more than 20 million registered vehicles currently in Australia, and their average age is more than 10 years. They aren’t all going to be replaced by EVs any time soon. Sales of new EVs continue to grow – this is a good thing – but internal combustion engine (ICE) cars will be on many countries’ roads for some years yet.
That’s why a range of powertrain and fuel solutions are likely to emerge in the coming couple of decades. These ICE vehicles will need to keep going until zero-emissions versions replace them. Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), whether as new vehicles or created by EV conversions, are likely to be dominant, driving alongside hydrogen, e-fuels and hybrids, and possibly others. But it’s unlikely EVs will replace the current “car park” in the next 10 years. It will take longer.
What sort of car should I buy?
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) says Australia is home to 60 new-vehicle brands and 380 new-vehicle models. This is arguably the most competitive new-vehicle market in the world.
With so much choice I can see why so many people ask auto industry people or their “car friends” this question.
I learned to answer it with questions:
What are your needs? is always the first and most important.
Most times people haven’t thought about them with any personal depth.
They’ll often reply with I need something reliable or I don’t want the servicing to cost too much.
It’s too simple to give people an opinion about the latest and greatest new models on the market. And with so many choices available it’s vital people slim the discussion down to what relates to their core needs.
Is it for work, family, or both? Do you go off-road? Do you need to tow? If so, what do you tow? Are your kids toddlers or teenagers?
And so on.
The key is to keep asking questions until the middle of the answer emerges. It doesn’t take long.
It’s simple to make the question what sort of car should I buy? about yourself and your tastes. It’s not about me or the “car friend” they’re asking. It’s always about the customer.
It’s why it feels good to be asked this question. It’s a reminder of why we’ve been doing this for so long.
What’s your favourite car?
If you’re a sports car enthusiast you’ll know Enzo Ferrari’s answer to this was always “The next one.”
I’d never put myself in the same sentence as il Commendatore but I understand his drive.
For me, the short answer is there isn’t one. There’s five.
Porsche 911: Because it can do everything and it has an enduring quality. It’s a car you simply don’t get tired of.
Tesla Model 3: It is not exciting, but it’s simply a wonderfully executed car that has no real vices. It’s an excellent car for driving day-to-day.
Ford Falcon XY GTHO Phase 3: This car ignited my passion for cars. An icon.
Ford Falcon Holy Grail: This vehicle realised a dream for me: I felt like we finally “finished the job” with this car. That job started when we delivered the 5.0-litre supercharged Miami V8 engine program back in 2010. The HG is the properly evolved version of that engine in a Premcar-tuned version of the final Falcon chassis.
No single car does everything I’d like it to do, hence my little collection.
Because I’m a lifelong passionate car enthusiast I’ve kept almost all of the car’s I’ve bought since getting my driver’s licence. They each hold a special place.
Hope you found those insightful.
Let me know if you relate to any of these.
Bernie Quinn – Engineering Director, Premcar Pty Ltd
About Premcar – Premcar Pty Ltd is a leading Australian vehicle engineering business that specialises in the automotive, defence and aerospace industries. For more than 25 years, global car-makers have made Premcar their go-to partner for the complete design, engineering and manufacture of niche-model new cars, full-scale new-vehicle development programs, and electric vehicle (EV) conversions and manufacturing. As the name behind more than 200,000 new cars and 55,000 new-vehicle engines, Premcar’s body of work is extensive and has delivered technical and sales success for major car brands from Europe, the USA, Japan, China and Australia. Visit premcar.com.
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