Episode 97 - Electric or Eclectic? Alternate Routes on the Road to Zero Emissions

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Electrify everything? Not so fast. Achieving sustainable mobility will require multiple solutions. There is no silver bullet.    

In this episode of SAE Tomorrow Today, we speak with the co-authors of Racing Toward Zero: The Untold Story of Driving Green, who advocate a multi-faceted approach to a green future. Kelly Senecal, co-founder of Convergent Science, and Felix Leach, Associate Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, argue that the government regulations and media hype pushing battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to the forefront are misguided.

For the biggest, fastest impact on carbon emissions, Senecal and Leach believe in advancing a variety of propulsion systems – not go all in on a single approach like electrification. Most vehicles on the planet use the internal combustion engine, so improving its technology and fuels can have a huge, immediate impact on reducing emissions globally. There are great electric vehicles available today, but they are a small part of the market and don’t meet every consumer need. Hybrids, meanwhile, can be greener than electrics in regions reliant on coal and natural gas to produce electricity. Longer term, hydrogen and fuel cells may have a role to play.

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Meet Our Guests

Associate Professor of Engineering Science, University of Oxford

Felix Leach is an Associate Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, a post held jointly with that of Fellow and Tutor in Engineering Science at Keble College. His research interests are in emissions and efficiency of thermal propulsion systems and air quality. Felix spent over a decade working in close collaboration with industry on these and other topics. Felix founded the annual Oxford Air Quality Meeting which draws together experts in vehicle emissions, air quality measurement, public health, and policy.

Co-founder, Convergent Science

Kelly Senecal is a co-founder and owner of Convergent Science. He is a visiting professor at the University of Oxford, an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a co-founder and director of the Computational Chemistry Consortium (C3). Kelly has long been an advocate of creating cleaner propulsion systems, with particular focus on CFD and HPC to enable faster design.

Our Host


Innovation Strategist & Co-Founder, Brulte & Company

Grayson Brulte is an autonomous mobility advisor and consultant who provides strategic counsel and political insights to help clients navigate what’s next.

As an SAE strategic partner since 2017, Grayson brings his in-depth industry knowledge to host SAE Tomorrow Today. His unique perspective factors in economics, politics and technology into one-of-kind weekly conversations with innovators changing mobility and its impact on society.

Grayson is a thought-leader who regularly provides insights to publications including Bloomberg, Reuters, The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter and Forbes. His written opinions and insights have been featured by organizations including the Consumer Technology Association in presentations to the Federal Trade Commission.

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