I drive a red 2018 Kia Soul. It features an inline-four flexible grade gasoline internal combustion engine. The design has recent improvements like variable valve timing and direct injection, but the design is decidedly static compared to more exotic engine designs like small forced induction (turbo charged) and hybrid designs. My living arrangements cannot support an electric vehicle, and neither can my financial constraints support vehicle purchases beyond primary economic need to reach my place of work, businesses, and to escape natural disasters.
A smartphone addiction is one thing. A car addiction is an entirely different beast.
My interest in turbos is not for the performance boost but rather because I’m inspired by self-optimizing systems. I enjoy the efficiency. I think it’s incredibly cool that exhaust is used to compress more air into the engine to enable performance beyond the limits of natural aspiration. It’s cool that the engine can be smaller. The turbo lag phenomenon reminds me of how JIT-compilers and dynamic program optimization improves the performance of the program as it executes. I don’t so much like that the additional components and higher temperatures can make the engine less reliable as it ages.
In the case of hybrids, it fascinates me how the system recoups energy through regenerative breaking. Stop and go driving has always bothered me because it is quite inefficient. Hybrids scratch that itch by bringing a sense of efficiency while waiting at a stoplight. Further, Consumer Reports mentions that these designs can also be quite reliable despite their somewhat higher complexity over modern cars what already contain so much complexity.
However, I still work for a living. I am not independently wealthy. I look forward to future engine design improvements when the reasonable and economic time for a vehicle purchase rolls around!