The gas engine still has a long life to live, Aston Martin CEO says

Key Points
  • Aston Martin's CEO says politicians should let auto engineers fix the pollution problem.
  • The luxury sports car firm is releasing at least two different electric or hybrid models over the next 3 years.
  • Despite that, CEO Andy Palmer says the traditional petrol engine will be around for a long time.
Politicians go wrong with dictating tech solutions, says Aston Martin CEO

The reported death of the internal combustion engine (ICE) has been greatly exaggerated, Aston Martin's CEO told CNBC Wednesday.

The British manufacturer of sports cars has made concessions to the trend towards all-electric vehicles with its RapidE, due for sale in 2019. The firm's ultra-luxury brand, Lagonda, will also have an electric drive train and is due in 2021.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that around 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air that leads to various heart and lung diseases. Lawmakers around the world, and especially in Europe, are now prescribing rules to help reduce the level of emissions from autos.

CEO Andy Palmer told CNBC in an exclusive interview on Wednesday that car makers still had an awful lot of time to develop and sell traditional ICE engines.

"I don't think the ICE will die any time soon," before adding, "Electric vehicles are good in some circumstances, but the internal combustion engine and, in particular, the gasoline engine still has a lot of life left in it."

Palmer said politicians were trying to dictate solutions to automakers when instead they should be highlighting problems that need fixing.

"As far as I know politicians are not that great at science," he added.

After years of losses, and several bankruptcies, the British manufacturer of luxury sports cars made a 2017 full-year pre-tax profit of £87 million ($114 million). In October this year, the company went public, initially pricing its shares at £19 each, giving it a market capitalization at the time of £4.33 billion pounds.

Palmer said on Wednesday that the Americas now made up around 20 percent of Aston Martin's revenue and the U.S. was now surpassing the U.K. to become its biggest country market.

The CEO added he would "hate to see" increasing U.S. auto tariffs on cars from Europe or the U.K. but President Trump had been giving mixed messages on where his protectionist policies could end up.