The most unbelievable thing in the Halo show so far isn’t super soldiers, human clones or even artificial intelligence. I can believe all of that; what I’m having most trouble believing is that internal combustion is still around even in the distant future, which is what the Halo show seems to suggest in recent episodes.
We already knew the series was stubborn about old cars, but the GMT800 seen in the outer colonies was OK, because that generation of the Chevy Tahoe is awesome. But old trucks aside, the Halo series from Paramount + appears to make an implicit argument that electric vehicles are not the dominant form of propulsion in 2552. It looks like the the future of cars is…ICE?
It’s clear from episode five, where we see an M12 Warthog carrying spare fuel canisters. This implies the use of some liquid fuel that’s routinely used when the Warthog moves troops, weapons or mysterious alien artifacts. Even heavy super soldiers, or Spartan IIs, who weigh around 454 kg each! That can’t be good for fuel economy.
This explains why there are so many spare gas cans, but there’s not really an explanation of why the UNSC is using internal combustion in the first place.
What happened between the development of intergalactic space travel and artificial general intelligence? Couldn’t Dr. Halsey take a break from her experiments to make EV batteries lighter or more energy dense?
And the shows insists old tech is around in other ways, too. The outer colonies — where we saw the Tahoe — use old vehicles with water-cooling, as a bike’s busted radiator shows.
Water-cooling isn’t itself the problem, but combined with an exhaust pipe and other bits, the bike looks a lot like an old four-stroke motorcycle. We could give the colonies the benefit of the doubt and say old tech is more reliable in remote regions, but why haven’t electric vehicles become reliable by 2552?
The only thing to explain the use of ICE is a future breakthrough in synthetic fuels. The problem, however, is that implies automotive tech stagnated with clean combustible fuels. Even then, the complexity of ICE engines is a liability for space travellers.
If you haven’t kept up with the series, I don’t blame you. The Halo show strays far from the games, though it’s influenced by the novels that expanded the game. I mostly dig the show since it’s not easy to graft a video game to the small screen. The Master Chief — as we know him — would be a boring protagonist.
An undaunted, unmovable super solider is hardly compelling, no matter how much it satisfies our power fantasies. It’s a little odd that even in a series set far into the distant future, electric cars are still impossibly difficult to figure out.