The subject of making electric vehicles compulsory in city centres in the UK, and indeed many other areas of the world, is one which keeps popping up time and time again. The Liberal Democrat party in the UK has been pushing for greater adoption of electric vehicles within city centres and, don't shout this, a ban on diesel and petrol vehicles. This is now something of a hot topic and one which will continue to appear in the political domain as we approach general and local elections.
How would you feel about making city centres a no-go area for petrol and diesel vehicles? Is electric vehicle technology of sufficient reliability to support such a dramatic and controversial move?
If we look back 40 or 50 years ago the argument was whether vehicles powered by diesel and electric were making any contribution to air pollution whatsoever. The situation today is very different and all parties agree that non-electric vehicles are pumping out a number of pollutants which are causing major problems within city centres with regards to air pollution. The quality of air in and around city centres is impacted more than any other areas simply because there is limited space, limited airflow, and the pollutants tend to hover over the city like a bad smell.
Air pollution within city centres has been linked to an array of health conditions such as asthma and other breathing issues. When you bear in mind the cost and the impact of such health conditions on the individual and health services, perhaps we should now be looking towards diesel and petrol free city centres?
Quote from ElectricForum.com: "The reputation of BMW is based upon luxury therefore many people are now asking the question, would you buy an electric powered BMW? Is BMW Daimlers joint-venture just a way to placate the green movement? Would an electric BMW be a mass-market seller?"
What came first, the chicken or the egg? There is no doubt that local government and federal government investment in charging networks across the UK and other countries has increased dramatically of late. However, there is a feeling among some experts that the actual investment required to create a suitable and reliable infrastructure has not yet been reached. The argument being, do local authorities invest now and push motorists towards electric vehicles within city centres or do they wait for a gradual transfer and then invest?
If you take a step back and look at the overall cost of air pollution not only in terms of cold hard cash but also health issues, perhaps these do far outweigh the potential investment required to create a reliable recharging network infrastructure?
How will motorists react?
When it boils down to the nitty-gritty politicians will only push through potentially controversial issues which will have the support of the masses. It is an interesting debate as to whether motorists are now moving towards electric vehicles en-masse and would support such a ban in city centres. Let's not forget, motorists have been a cash cow for many governments around the world in relation to road taxes and the heavy levies cast upon petrol and diesel.
Would any political party be brave enough to take the risk of losing votes by banning petrol/diesel vehicles in city centres in favour of electric vehicles? Politicians can shout and scream about the environment, pollution, etc but the bottom line is they will not push through any controversial changes until they are sure they will not impact their core voting public. When that will be remains to be seen.