UK government pledges bold ambition for electric cars

DfT logoGovernment reaffirms UK’s commitment for almost all cars and vans to be zero emission by 2050 at Paris COP21 conference.

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

On December 3, 2015, the UK government has continued to lead global efforts to cut vehicle emissions at the international climate conference in Paris.

The UK was one of 13 international members of the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Alliance to sign a commitment to promote cleaner motoring and slash transport emissions, alongside Germany, Holland, Norway and California. It includes an agreement to make all passenger vehicle sales zero emission vehicles by 2050.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “The UK already has the largest market for ultra-low emission vehicles in the EU, and the fourth largest in the world and today’s pledge reaffirms our commitment to ensuring almost every car and van is a zero emission vehicle by 2050.

“Electric cars are greener and cheaper to run and we are making them more affordable, spending more than £600 million between 2015 and 2020 to support the uptake and manufacturing of ultra-low emission vehicles here in the UK.

“By leading international efforts on this issue, we are playing our part in helping achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions of more than 1 billion tonnes per year across the world by 2050.”

The ZEV Alliance formed in September this year with the ambition to increase the global uptake of greener vehicles through international co-operation.

As well as the UK, members include Germany, the Netherlands and Norway in Europe; California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont in the United States; and Quebec in Canada.

All very nice words and ambitions but no one seems to even look at the problems actually facing electric vehicles. One of them is the rarity of the materials from which the batteries are made and two the fact that fossil fuels will still be needed for the manufacture of the vehicles, as well and especially for the extraction of the rare earths and other raw materials. Thus to actually call them zero-emission vehicles is also rather misleading in the extreme.

None of the governments, NGOs, and what-have-you are, unfortunately, willing to state that motoring, especially the personal motoring with the private motorcar, whether infernal combustion engine or electric motor, is not going to be able to continue and also that electric vehicle technology will not make tractors, combine harvesters, and road haulage trucks feasible. While it does work for small delivery trucks running around our towns and cities the large road haulage of 35 or even 50 tonnes as now envisaged for trucks just is not possible with electric battery-powered motors.

The future of transportation, private, agricultural, and haulage will actually be a re-visitation of the past and I am sure the reader will well know what I mean. However, maybe I must spell it out for the government agencies and NGOs... it is the horse and the bicycle.

If it would not be that sad the way governments and NGOs are being affected by the ostrich syndrome and trying to keep the masses in the dark it would actually be funny and laughable but, alas, it is not.

© 2015