- Don't demonise our passion, bring us along for the ride!

Big Brother bans the combustion engine and here is why it won't work

This is going to be another cock-up ...

9w ago

There will be some people who support the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's ban of new cars powered only by petrol and diesel in 2030 - it's probably good for the environment, creates a bunch of new jobs and gives the government plenty of new and exciting ways to collect tax from us - like the proposed road tax (whoopee).

And don't get me wrong - I support smart ideas to fix the nightmare of global warming. But this ban is not a smart idea in my humble opinion. Here is why:

I thought we had a free market?

If the goal is to change consumer behaviour then produce something better and cheaper and we will buy it.

Fund new innovation by all means, give tax breaks, market the benefits, keep cracking down on emissions - do all that - but please do not start creating laws that restrict our freedom of choice - give us a better choice instead and let our dollars and pounds do the talking.

Market forces are enough to generate change. The reason we are not all driving around in electric vehicles today is because they are just not as good a product for all people as a combustion powered vehicle.

Electric vehicles work today for city cars with good local charging infrastructure to do the shopping and pick up the kids. However, EVs are more expensive, they do not hold resale value and there is not enough charging infrastructure.

Battery power is not suitable for all transportation - there are no battery solutions for big heavy long distance vehicles like RVs and Campervans. Electric motorcycles are short on range and drop charge quickly in cold weather. Range anxiety will kick in quickly if you decide to go for a long trip through some beautiful mountain roads. Electric vehicles are good for some things, but not everything.

This can all be fixed, probably, but if you shove a substandard product onto the market before it is ready it will not be a success - and legislation will annoy rather than motivate consumers.

Bird Brain

Bird Brain

This is going to be a cock-up, guaranteed

How many broad, big, bold statements from politicians like "we will ban the combustion engine in 2030" actually work? None. Plans like this which are generated for political purposes are universally late, cost way more than planned and deliver a tiny amount of what the initial promise was. Where are the experts in this announcement?

Where is the support from all the major manufacturers and infrastructure providers?

Should we not be seeing peer reviewed academic research papers, insight into how consumers will react from consumer marketing experts, an understanding of the financial impact from the economists, a transparent plan before setting a date from the people who actually manufacture vehicles? Where are the people who can answer simple questions like - what happens to all the existing cars on the road and who pays for all of this?

We vote in politicians to make smart decisions - but you can only popularise a smart decision if smart people have advised you, you actually listen to them and you are transparent with the general public as to the pros and cons of a major decision like banning the combustion engine.

Driving is a passion

Driving is a passion

Don't demonise our passion, bring us along for the ride

Beneath the reasoning lies emotion. Some of the most beautiful, wonderful bits of engineering and design have gone into vehicles. Many of us love our cars and bikes - we all fondly reminisce over our ownership history and think about our future vehicles with excitement.

Cars are not kitchen white goods. I could not tell you one thing about any dishwasher I've ever owned - but I can talk with passion about my first car - a battered old 2CV and my dream that one day Mazda will offer me a proper engine for my MX5.

If you want to move the market, bring us along. Let Ford experiment with an electric Mustang, let Harley-Davidson launch an electric motorbike, do more TV shows like Apple's The Long Way Up.

The journey is more important than the destination. I suspect many of us will react badly to being "told what to do" but most of us support the environment and want a solution that we will love to drive - not a solution that we are forced to drive. There is an entire multi-billion dollar industry that knows how to sell us on the passion of vehicles - let them bring us along for the ride instead of some politician telling us what he wants us to do.

This needs to be a conversation, not a law

This is an important debate, the planet is screwed and combustion engines are a major problem. But, smart solutions are needed not knee-jerk political statements. Let's find a solution that works with real experts working with the public and not go down the path of more laws, more rules and more legislation.

And to support that conversation - here is an alternative opinion in the latest article from DriveTribe Editor Tim Rodie:


(Header Photo by Albin Berlin from Pexels, Rooster Photo by Leonardo Jarro from Pexels, Road photo by Lukas Kloeppel, Earth Photo by Pixabay)

Let everyone know what you think in the comments below.

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Comments (203)

  • There’s far bigger problems than the combustion engine. That’s only a very small part of the problem.

    Before they even look at banning ice they need to clean up other things. The felling and burning of forests, the destruction of our seas. India, China, Russia and America and the appalling levels of co2 they pump out.

    Engines come quite a way down the list in realistic terms

      2 months ago
    • Everyone has to play their part reducing CO2. China has now committed to net zero by 2060 and already has the world’s largest renewables market in the world so they’re now doing their part. This is the right time for the UK to step up as well.

        2 months ago
    • Exactly and the manufacturing of electric cars produce a lot of CO2 anyway so it isn't green to make and in most countries the main power source is coal, not Greenpeace fart power or solar energy.

        2 months ago
  • Coronavirus has put a ‘universe’ sized black hole in the public finances. The debt as will take 2+ decades of higher taxes on everything to repay assuming we don’t have any further shocks to the economy let alone any further pandemics.

    The motorist has been an easy target for years and contributes massively to public finances therefore banning ICE’s early and their associated contribution is short sighted and speaks of a political system that is not forward thinking. Ultimately this is a slippery road and by putting these things in place now for a time when Boris and co. won’t be in office is not looking at big picture! Big mistake!

      2 months ago
    • Ah, but here's the thing J P. The way to recover from the economic impact of COVID is massive stimulus to generate jobs and develop new industries and what better option is there than Renewables and EVs which already generate far greater...

      Read more
        2 months ago
    • It’s headline grabbing from a pm under pressure who won’t be about in 10 years time when ice cars are still being sold

        2 months ago
  • Absolutely agree with all you have said

    This is just another crack pot decision from our crackpot dictator

    He need to come to rural areas and see that some places don’t have internet connection let alone a charging system

    Is it ok to dig up large parts of beautiful rural countryside to put charging systems in that the national grid can’t sustain

    And finally with the exception of Tesla, what manufacturer even comes close to producing as big a choice in EV’s as they do ICE cars?

      2 months ago
    • EVs are now getting towards 5-600kms of range and in Rural areas Superchargers can be driven by solar and wind turbines with batteries and not actually need the grid. Sounds like a win win to me.

        2 months ago
    • Much less of the landscape needs to be “dug up” for renewable generation than the continual mining and extraction of fossil fuels.

        2 months ago
  • People talk about ice caps melting and permafrost melt. What about the first ice age? What caused that to melt? It wasn’t because Adam and Eve rocked up in a supercharged V8. Is it possible that our universe has its own cycle and we are just along for the ride? Green peace make me laugh as well. They go around the world in a massive boat! What’s running that? One thing I can guarantee is they are not bloody rowing it!

      2 months ago
    • I n the past we’ve had SuperVolcanoes, Solar minimums, Asteroid impacts, CO2 concentration, etc take the front position of primary driver.

      However for the last few thousand years these forces have been relatively quiescent and it is...

      Read more
        2 months ago
    • Exactly.

        2 months ago
  • I agree. The ban is a terrible idea.

      2 months ago
    • The ban is a great idea. It’s going to turbo-charge the EV industry and create huge numbers of new jobs and development.

        2 months ago
    • New Jobs get created and many jobs in the car industry disappear because of the internal combustion ban. I can't see a big win in the ban at all. I can't see any win

        2 months ago