Which automakers still build V12 engines?
Electric or at least partially electric, that's how we should drive into the future. For the time being with lithium-ion cells and electric motors that hardly produce more than 100 kW. But that is only an intermediate stage on the way to high-performance machines and the solid-state battery, which should bring the breakthrough with a dramatically higher energy density. While a Stromer is already doing quite well with 90 kilowatt hours in 2018, BMW has already extrapolated the fifth generation of batteries up to 135 kilowatt hours. For the year 2025, the Bavarians are even targeting the 155 kilowatt hour mark - in cooperation with the battery supplier CATL and the US specialist Solid Power, whose solid-state system promises greater ranges, increased safety and more performance.
At the same time, the electric motors, of which up to three can be installed per vehicle, are becoming increasingly powerful. The German premium brands calculate with up to 250 kW in the next step. You already suspect it: at least now the question arises as to whether thirsty large engines with eight, ten or twelve cylinders are justified in their existence.
The V12 is already today primarily a quiet and smooth-running prestige object, to which any highly charged V8 is superior in terms of performance and efficiency. In principle, the BMW Group only keeps the twelve-cylinder engine alive for its Rolls Royce brand, Mercedes maintains the ancient engine for the Maybach vehicles and a few AMG derivatives, and VW has long since outsourced the W12 to Bentley. Exotics like Lamborghini want to fill the dozen under the bonnet in the future too, but rely on the support of one or two electric motors. But the future of the displacement giants stands and falls with the level of electrification and the legislature's emissions ambitions. BMW has only fixed the V12 until 2024, Mercedes-AMG could get out in 2023, even Aston Martin wants to replace its displacement monsters with hybrids with six and eight cylinders when the next model change takes place.
Very few brands are big enough and sufficiently financially strong to be able to afford tailor-made electrical architectures that do not have to take into account any combustion engine. Although the coexistence and coexistence of the drive concepts seems to be inevitable for the time being, the CO₂ mace should ensure that diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles begin a more or less orderly retreat in the long term.
If there is a technical upgrade, then on the electrical side. The associated space requirements for batteries and ancillary units can only be partially reconciled with architectures that were originally developed exclusively for the use of longitudinally installed combustion engines. The much-cited convergence matrix offers itself as a compromise solution. Convergence stands for a scalable all-purpose platform that is primarily geared towards the needs of the electric drive.
At the end of this development, almost all large engines from the W16 to the in-line six-cylinder will in all probability come to an end. Why? Because the combustion engine will have to be installed transversely in the future, as this is the only way to create enough space for batteries and other electronic components.
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