While many sceptics and supporters of the electric vehicle industry have been discussing aspects of a petrol and diesel car ban from city centres, few had expected this to emerge in the news in the short to medium term. However, the Scottish government has today announced plans to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from town and city centres across the country although the target date for this could be as far out as 2050.
Even though the Scottish government has been one of the greatest supporters of green travel and renewable energy even this is a major step forward for the Scottish National Party.
Will a ban ever come into place?
At this moment in time many political parties and governments around the world are currying favour with voters who are concerned about the environment and in particular "green travel". The fact is that such an aspiration, i.e. to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from town and city centres, makes for great headlines in the press, but will it ever come into play?
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It is feasible that at some point in the future, when the cost of purchasing and running electric vehicles falls, we will see more emphasis upon green forms of travel. However it is highly unlikely, especially at this moment in time, that we will see a complete ban in town and city centres across Scotland, the UK and other countries around the world.
Replacing Scottish government vehicles
The Scottish government has also announced plans to replace the current fleet of petrol and diesel vehicles used in government operations with an array of electric alternatives. A substantial £14 million has been put aside for this particular project and while a two-year target has been mentioned this is only a loose target.
It is interesting to see that the Scottish government has also announced plans to put forward grants of £5,000 towards the purchase of electric vehicles and £8,000 towards the purchase of electric vans. Even though the UK government is already offering financial incentives to those looking to "greener forms of transport", it is interesting that the Scottish government appears to be making plans for after the Independence vote.
Is this just political shenanigans?
While there is no doubt that the Scottish government is looking to grab the attention of would-be green technology investors, renewable energy companies, and environmentalists in the consumer market, the independence of Scotland is up for debate next year. It will be interesting to see whether the Scottish government is actually able to find this money at a time when the budget is under pressure, the UK government has seen tax income fall and, while the economy is improving, it is at a relatively slow pace.
We are loathe to suggest that the electric vehicle arena is becoming something of a political and public relations football in Scotland but this seems to be some kind of internal battle between the UK authorities and their Scottish counterparts. It will be interesting to see how this pans out, in the event of a yes vote or a no vote for independence, because these aspirations are certainly ambitious.