There are three things a gasoline engine needs: air, fuel and spark. The spark plug ignites the air/fuel mixture, producing the combustion that powers the engine. Despite the fact that spark plugs have featured in vehicles for more than a century, manufacturers are pushing back the technical boundaries. Still plugging away with just-auto's components research, Matthew Beecham talked with Tim Howes, technical services manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd.