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The End of Gas

Swedish automaker Volvo made news last month when it announced it would stop building cars powered solely by internal combustion engine within a little more than a year. Cars manufactured for 2019 and beyond with either be fully electric, or powered by hybrid engines.

This follows a spate of articles either heralding or lamenting the end of the internal combustion engine. From ever-increasing fuel economy standards to the competition from innovators around the world to the complexities of the engine itself, the gasoline engine is struggling to meet the needs of today's cars. But how close are we really to the end of gas?

The range of electric car batteries has always been a major obstacle, but it's improving dramatically. This summer a Tesla owners group in Italy drove a Model S more than 1000 km (nearly 670 miles) on a single charge. They achieved this feat by averaging 23 mph, much too slow for highway travel. But this is a strong indicator that battery life may not be a barrier for long.

Cost may not be an obstacle for long, either. Investment bank UBS expects electric vehicles to reach price parity in Europe within a year,  and foresees electric vehicles taking 14% of the global market by 2025.

Factor in the rise of ridesharing services and innovations in driverless car technology, and the end of the internal combustion engine could be closer than we think.

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