6 Reasons the 2030 Petrol and Diesel Car Ban CAN'T Work!
And an alternative solution...
Recently the media has been reporting that despite the UK government setting a target to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, the UK is basically 'not going to be ready'.
I have one word for this...
I mean, really? Do you think so? I've been saying EXACTLY this since literally the Stone Age.
It all sounds well and good. We're in the middle of an apocalyptic climate crisis, let's all get an electric car to save the planet! That's the mantra, but it shows serious short-sightedness. Electric cars ARE part of the solution. For many people an electric car makes a lot of sense, particularly as a 2nd car for the local commute and shopping run. However, even the best electric option is NOT suitable for a large number of drivers. I'm going to run through some of the issues with you. If you feel I'm mistaken please tell me in the comments. I'd like to start a discussion on this and if possible educate myself. So here are the issues that I see:-
#1 Electric Cars are obscenely expensive.
Doing a quick search on Autotrader for new cars only and sorting by cheapest first reveals the cheapest new car you can purchase in the UK today is a yellow Kia Picanto for £8995. Now personally I'd rather spend a day in the dentists chair getting drilled and filled than buy one of these utter dogs, but hey! That's pretty cheap. Change the fuel type to electric only and refine the search? Well that means you're now looking at a SEAT Mii for £19795. That's well over DOUBLE the cost of the petrol option. You might argue that people could be in the market for used cars? Let's change the filter to 5 years old ONLY. That offers us a Cat N Peugeot 108 for £2499. Again, it's an awful car. I'd rather lick Clarkson's armpit after he's done an hour on the treadmill than buy one, but there you go. Swap it to electric only? We're looking at a Renault Zoe for £5800. That is again MORE than double the fossil alternative. At whatever 'newness' point you're buying, electric cars are objectively far more expensive.
#2 Charging At Home
Technically I COULD install a home charging system at my house and get a plug in car. If I charged overnight it'd mean I could do my day's driving very cheaply. However, I live in a detached house on a quarter acre plot on the Staffordshire, Cheshire border. I don't live in a crumby flat above a kebab shop or a terraced street where every bugger has room for one car in front of their house but owns two cars. The idea that everyone can charge at home overnight is great! However, the Westminster politicians who dreamed this ban up have to appreciate most of the UK aren't claiming dodgy expenses claims to heat their duck house, they're struggling to get by, they rely on personal transport and a property that facilitates home charging may well never be within their reach.
#3 Public Charging
There is a network of charge points across the UK. However, according to many reports most of them are broken half the time, or you turn up and they're all in use. Charging technology means most cars take a while to charge. You can't just whip into a motorway services for a quick 'splash and dash'. At the very least you're going to be plugging in then going for a coffee and a read of the paper. Now that may sound very civilised, but let's face it, there are times when you simply don't have time for that. If you don't have the facility to charge at home, then charging is actually quite expensive. The cost saving on fuel only becomes worth the pain of owning an EV if you CAN charge at home, and not everyone CAN!
#4 Materials for Batteries and Battery Disposal
The world has a limited supply of things like Lithium and Cobalt. Lithium for example is a rare earth metal in the periodic table. Emphasis being on the 'rare'. At the moment a tenth of new cars are electric and even now there's talk of shortages. Then there's the environmental impact of shipping materials from remote locations halfway across the world to make batteries. Has anybody done a projection of the future consequences of pushing for massive EV ownership?
Okay, so if you work 30 miles from home your EV is going to be fine. But what about if you're a taxi driver, driving non-stop all day? What about if you live in London and are going to a business meeting in Edinburgh. In this time of pandemic train travel or air travel isn't advised so you drive. Make the drive in the right diesel car and you can get there in one jaunt, do the meeting, quick splash and dash and you're back in time for tea. Got an EV? Well you're going to be stopping off for a coffee.... Several times... Hoping every time there's a working charge port... It's going to suddenly become a couple of days journey.
# 6 Silence
Have you ever walked around Cambridge? It's a wonderful city. It's also one of the places in the world where I suspect you're most likely to be taken out by a speeding bicyclist. When you visit the town you have to adjust your senses for this. We used to tell our kids to stop, look and listen when crossing the road. Now 'listen' doesn't cut it anymore. I don't know if there are any statistics on this, but I know many people who've at least had near misses because someone was driving a silent, electric car.
So What's the Solution?
We've spent the last hundred years getting really, really good at making ICE engines. The problem isn't the ICE but what we burn in it. There are several manufacturers investing millions in synthetic eFuels. These fuels capture carbon during the production process, then release it when they are burned - making them carbon neutral. Currently they are expensive, but the price will come down. Maybe we need to look at hybrid vehicles that burn synthetic eFuels as a solution for people who need that longer range and the ability to do a 'splash and dash'?
If we invested more in synthetic eFuels that might buy time for the electric infrastructure to catch up and the price of electric cars to come down.
If you drill down into the manifesto of the Green Party of England and Wales they argue that personal transport should be a privilege rather than a right. They'd like car ownership to be more expensive, for drivers to require yearly competence tests and for all cars to be fitted with black boxes. Again, I see this as seriously short sighted. Living in a quiet village, I KNOW there aren't necessarily bus routes everywhere. In the middle of the pandemic we've just been living through we've been advised NOT to take public transport. Restricting car use is NOT the answer.
The climate crisis is looming closer and if we don't tackle it properly, it will destroy us. However, it's too big to be solved with big, political gestures. It's a problem that needs chipping away at with as many tools as we can muster. More electric cars might be part of the solution, but I don't think they can solve the problem alone.
showing a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken serious
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