Internal combustion engines may have 40 more years in the tank

Source: By John Lippert, Bloomberg News • Posted: Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Tesla Inc. chief executive officer Elon Musk has predicted that half of U.S. auto production will be electric in less than a decade. The head of the powertrain technology company being spun off by parts supplier Tenneco Inc. sees the transition taking a lot longer.

“We believe that EVs will have a place in the lineup of vehicles. We just believe strongly that it’s not going to completely change over to battery-electric vehicles in the near term,” Roger Wood, a former senior executive at Dana Inc. and BorgWarner Inc., said Friday on Tenneco’s earnings call. “We believe the internal combustion engine and the related components for that are going to be around for at least the next three or four decades.”

Wood, a former CEO at the axle maker Dana, is a Tenneco director and will become CEO of the powertrain components unit the company plans to spin off next year after it closes on the acquisition of Carl Icahn’s Federal-Mogul LLC.

On the call, Wood said most auto executives agree with him on the longevity of internal combustion engines, and that many are opting for gas-electric hybrids as a bridge to battery-powered cars of the future.

In the meantime, Tenneco is helping customers like General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG and Ford Motor Co. meet tightening emissions standards worldwide with components like catalytic converters and particulate filters.

Tenneco on Friday reported second-quarter revenue of $2.54 billion, in line with analysts’ estimates. Adjusted net income was $99 million, or $1.92 a share. Shares of the Lake Forest, Illinois-based company jumped as much as 7.6 percent, the biggest intraday gain since April 10.