The government have announced that from 2040, you will no longer be able to buy a new petrol or diesel car in the U.K., leaving you with no choice but to go electric. My first thoughts: “WHAT! No more V8s! What about classic cars? And beautiful supercars?” My retirement dreams, crushed. Now, I’m aware of the measures that have already been taken to try and reduce pollution in the cities, however, the death sentence has now been served. And honestly, I’d rather not know when they’re going to die.
Only 5 years ago, we were encouraged to buy diesel for improved efficiency and low CO2 emissions. Now they’ve gone through a complete u-turn, and buying a diesel is now as encouraged as taking up smoking. The NOx produced is a significant contributor to respiratory issues and adverse health effects. So I understand why, but it doesn’t make it any easier to come to terms with. At the moment the ban will apply to any car using a combustion engine, including hybrids, so there’s no half way. It’s electric or nothing.
But are electric cars the answer?
What we need is fewer cars, not just cleaner cars. Electric cars do not produce emissions themselves, but the generation of electricity used to charge the battery does. In addition, electric cars will not reduce the particulate matter, which is caused by brake and tyre wear as well as road abrasion. This type of pollution has links to cardiopulmonary health problems and has been attributed to 29,000 deaths per year, 5,500 more than those attributed to NOx (theguardian). And here’s me thinking electric cars produce zero pollution!
Even if they started tomorrow, I do not think there is enough time to implement the new infrastructure required for an all electric car nation.
Currently, only 1.8% of all cars registered in the U.K. are electric, which is equivalent to around 100,000 cars (nextgreencar.com).
This just highlights the scale of the changes requirement and to me it seems unrealistic.
We need to give people other viable and cheap options of taking short journeys, especially inside cities. How about improving the affordability of train travel? Or introducing a cycling infrastructure to stop people grabbing the car keys every time they head out the door. I have seen this done in the Netherlands, where cycling is lifestyle, but with almost 19,000 reported accidents in 2015 on British roads involving cyclists (ROSPA), people are not willing to take that risk, and quite right too.
I know there will be significant advancements in electric cars before 2040. The current market choice is quite poor, unless you’ve got a spare £90k to spend on a Tesla. But if you look at how far we’ve come, I’d like to think the Tesla S is the equivalent of the Nokia 3210, and by 2040 we’ll have the equivalent of an iPhone 8. I’ve watched Formula E, and you might as well watch it on mute as there’s no satisfaction in listening to silence in the straights and tyre squealing in the corners. But this is allowing progress to be made in the electric car field, and by 2040 I imagine there will be cleaner electricity, quick charging stations and improved battery range.
Either way, I just feel sorry for all those people who are never going to get to drive a petrol car. The clock is ticking and it’s time for me to write my bucket list of everything I just have to drive before they’re gone.
Have you got a dream car you’d like to own before the ban? Leave a comment below!
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