The Liberal Democrats have hit the headlines today with suggestions that they are looking to ban all petrol and diesel cars from UK roads by 2040. The move is a means of encouraging faster take-up of eco-friendly transport such as electric vehicles, although the potential policy, to be discussed at the forthcoming conference, would appear to be ill-conceived. As with everything connected with politicians, the devil is in the detail and the fact that "Big Brother" appears to be telling motorists in the UK what to do will not go down very well!
Lib Dem plans for EV industry
The Liberal Democrat party has been very pro-green transport and environmentally friendly issues for some time now and there is nothing wrong with this. However plans to ban private petrol and diesel vehicles from UK roads by 2040, while allowing diesel/petrol freight transport will not go down well with motorists.
The party also announced plans for road pricing which in simple terms means "road tolls" for the more congested areas of the UK. So not only would UK motorists pay a road licence tax but they would also be expected to pay for journeys in the more congested areas of the UK. Even if we stopped production of petrol/diesel vehicles today, it would take in excess of 30 years for the current stock to work its way through the system never mind the fact that the Liberal Democrat party, a minority member of the current coalition, is looking to tell UK motorists what to do!
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "The average driver covers around 70 miles a day through the week which is less than the full charge available on a Nissan Leaf 2013 - about 129 miles on a full charge."
How could this eco-friendly move kill the EV industry?
Up until now the worldwide EV industry has been based upon the needs and the wants of motorists as opposed to telling individuals what to do and when to do it. There is one sure fire way of turning motorists against electric vehicle travel, and other eco-friendly modes of transport, and that is by simply telling them what to do and giving them no choice. Treating the UK motoring public as fools would likely undo all of the good work in the EV industry of the last decade and could potentially see the electric vehicle sector on the scrapheap yet again.
This potential move to ban petrol/diesel vehicles for private travel by 2040, yet allow gas guzzling lorries on UK roads, seems to be one of the more bizarre policies to come out of the Liberal Democrat think tank. There are ways and means of increasing motorist’s awareness of their eco-friendly responsibilities but telling them what to do, when to do it and then charge them for the luxury of travelling on UK roads (on top of their road tax) would be crazy.
Could politicians spoil the party?
We have the UK government handing out financial incentives for those looking to buy electric vehicles, we have multi-million pound recharging network programmes underway and in all honesty giving UK motorists the choice between EVs and traditional transport seems to be working at the moment. If motorists believe they are being told what to do and there is no standard policy across political parties, this confusion and frustration could do irreparable damage to the sector in the UK.
The UK government is doing fairly well at the moment by encouraging motorists to at least appreciate and consider electric vehicles but forcing petrol/diesel cars off the road by 2040 is certainly a step too far.