Low Carbon ICE Vehicles

Decarbonization Avenue : Low Carbon ICE Vehicles

There are currently over one billion cars on the world’s roads running on internal combustion engines.

Electric transportation may be the future, but it could take quite a while for a majority of the cars on our roads to become electric. Even by 2050, one can expect a very large percentage of the vehicles on the road to be running on internal combustion engines. It is thus imperative to explore decarbonization and low carbon avenues available for ICE vehicles.

Possible avenues to make ICE vehicles low carbon would be to improve the efficiency/mileage these vehicles through better ICE engines, enable these vehicles to run on natural gas or hybrids of natural gas and gasoline or diesel, use of biofuels in place of fossil fuels, and fundamental innovations in vehicle design, aerodynamics and materials to drive fuel efficiencies.

With key mandates around vehicle mileage and pollution being implemented in many regions worldwide, one can expect significant CO2 emissions reductions from efficiency improvements for ICE vehicles during the 2020-2030 period. This timeline is also likely to witness significant increases in the use of biofuels, and natural gas as a fuel, especially for heavier vehicles such as trucks.  

While technology and operational efficiency improvements are promising for this critical decarbonization avenue, challenges remain in changing peoples’ behaviours - sharing trips, buying smaller cars, better vehicle maintenance and operations - that can make significant difference to the overall CO2 emissions from this sector. 

For the 2020-2030 period, innovation in this sector will be around improvements in engine & powertrain efficiency, combustion control technology, advanced materials for lightweighting of vehicles, and hybrid vehicles.

Industries impacted

  • Automobiles & auto components
  • Electrical
  • Logistics
  • Marine transport
  • Oil & gas
  • Power
  • Rail transport Retail
  • Road transport

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Themes & Topics

  • More efficient ICEs for

    • Scooters & motorbikes

    • Three wheelers

    • Cars, vans & SUVs

    • LCVs

    • Trucks and other HCVs

    • Buses

  • Vehicles running on:

    • Diesel engine

    • Gasoline engine

    • Natural gas engine

  • Trends in:

    • Developed countries

    • Developing & underdeveloped countries

  • Standards & metrics

  • Fuel efficiency norms

  • Education/training

  • Collaboration

  • Financing



  • Avenues

    • Efficient transmission & drivetrain

    • Efficient vehicle design and aerodynamics

    • Smaller cars

    • Lightweight materials

    • Use of IT & IoT to make vehicles more smart & efficient

    • Consumer awareness of best practices for driving & maintenance

  • Hybrids for energy efficiency

    • Natural gas hybrids for gasoline & diesel vehicles

    • Electric hybrids