Yesterday's news that the Scottish government is seriously considering introducing a ban on all diesel and petrol vehicles within city centres and town centres, certainly caught the eye of many EV enthusiasts. While the headlines were attention seeking, the fact is that the Scottish government has given itself up until 2050 to implement such a possible move. However, is light regulation the key to the future success of the EV industry or do governments really need to be more hands-on?
This is a subject we have covered on numerous occasions although it seems as though more and more governments around the world are seriously considering such moves. There are many factors to take into consideration which include:
Do not preach to motorists
At a time when governments around the world are receiving billions upon billions of dollars of income from the sale of petrol and diesel, is it not a little hypocritical to start preaching that electric vehicles are the way forward?
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "If you look at the popular press you will see that the vast majority of electric vehicle manufacturers in the US have a significant presence in California. The reason for this is that California legally obliges car manufacturers to ensure that 10% of their sales are electric vehicles. Sceptics will suggest this has created something of a false market in California, with the likes of Tesla selling "EV credits" to competitors, but whatever you think, any legislation which increases the number of EVs on the road must be positive?"
There is also the fact that governments dictating to people what they should and should not do has never gone down very well in the past. Indeed, some believe that dictating what individuals will drive in the future could actually force fewer and fewer people to actively consider electric vehicles. The fact remains that for the EV industry to be successful the idea and technology needs to be appreciated by the masses. Effectively taking away petrol/diesel vehicles would cause significant upset and possibly a massive backlash against the industry.
What will the oil companies have to say?
When you bear in mind that oil companies effectively have many governments around the world over a "barrel", they will certainly have something to say about this ongoing move towards electric vehicles. It goes without saying that oil companies have influenced government policies in the past and there are many who believe they will influence government policies in the future.
The old argument that oil resources around the world are reducing too quickly has been shown to be flawed time and time again. There is also the fact that until governments around the world can replace the potential loss of oil tax revenues it would be foolish at best and reckless at worst to move towards electric vehicles in certain areas of the country.
Is this just a PR stunt?
Whether or not you believe the Scottish government is really looking towards banning petrol/diesel vehicles from town and city centres is a matter for debate. The fact is the Scottish government has caught the attention of the worldwide media, captured the interest of motorists and perhaps more importantly, it has got people debating the issue of electric vehicles and whether or not they should be compulsory.
If you look at the detail you will see that the Scottish government is giving itself until 2050 to introduce a ban on diesel/petrol vehicles in town and city centres. If this is not hedging your bets then what is?