Luc Donckerwolke, boss of Seat design and before that the man behind Lamborghini, recently told me: “If we [designers] do our tasks, we can create a clean conscience for car buyers and change the way people live with cars.” 

This was in reply to a question about how he thinks car designers will have to react to environmental pressures.

Donckerwolke’s response was an unexpected one, as I have always assumed that engineering was the main answer to the environmental questions. Yet, when you think about what makes a car sell, the only conclusion is that Seat’s design guru is right. As he says, “Designers are the ambassadors of a new era – a way of living.”

Engineering clearly paves a way for the essential new fuel solutions, but cars sell mainly because they are a practical means of transport that has become essential to modern lifestyles.

Creating a totally eco-friendly, efficient method of propulsion will do little for the world’s motoring industry if it’s only available in something that looks like a G-Wiz.

It’s the belief of many, myself included, that the motoring masses won’t give up the comforts of a modern car for the sake of the environment – even if a minority will. So the real challenge is to create a solution that doesn’t compromise this.