The UK Sale Of Petrol And Diesel Cars To Be Banned In 2030.  Really? 7075

The UK Sale Of Petrol And Diesel Cars To Be Banned In 2030. Really?


This week the UK Government has set a new target as it continues to drive it's Green Strategy.  In so doing it has stated that the sale of all new Petrol and Diesel Cars will cease in 2030.  This is said to pave the way for an electric vehicle revolution as part of a 10 point, £12 Billion plan to improve our environment.  Is this plan realistic? I am not so sure and offer some food for thought.

Firstly, electric cars are generally more expensive than similar conventional petrol/diesel cars which is mainly due to the cost of the battery.  This increased cost will disproportionally affect the poorer members of society forcing them to retain older polluting vehicles for longer thus potentially negating the desire to reduce atmospheric pollution.  In addition, leading economists have indicated that over £40 Billion of revenue from road taxes will be put at risk as electric vehicles are currently exempt from road excise duty.  This dilemma presents significant challenges as there will need to be some method of road pricing model if the road network is to be sustained.  I suggest that to introduce direct taxation on electric vehicles will prove difficult and meet significant resistance when sections of the population, the early adopters, have got used to tax free driving.  A possible solution might be pay per use by way of electronic tolls.  These already exist by way of bridge and tunnel crossings and motorway tolls but to expand such solutions over the network will require the resolution of many technical, economic, and cultural challenges.  So project challenge number one is economic by way of network usage and support.  What is the strategy, road map, and plan to change societal thinking.

The motoring organisations (RAC and AA) have also indicated that many motorists are reluctant to switch to electric vehicles given their limited range and the existing lack of charging infrastructure.  The technology continues to evolve which serves to increase the range of such vehicles.  Typically this includes the addition of regenerative systems to maximise energy efficiency, materials science in search of weight reduction initiatives, friction reduction, and charge demand and load smoothing.  The Government has also stated that £1.3 Billion will be available for the installation of charging points in homes and alongside streets and trunk roads.  Whilst welcome, it is hard to see how this will work.  Firstly, a significant percentage of the population do not enjoy private off road parking (i.e. drives and garages) with local councils actively driving inner city high density living being very common.  Then what about those that live in high rise flats.  There is also the natural conflict that will occur between the need to park a vehicle roadside within cities whilst on charge and the current parking restrictions.  So many issues with very few actual solutions.  All these dimensions involve the definition of objectives, budgets, risk assessments, work breakdown structures, resource planning, and the application of the whole suite of the Project Management Body of Knowledge to deliver the vision.  In addition, what are the cost models to be used to deliver each initiative on time and within budget.

But to concentrate just on electric vehicles invites failure.  As we switch to electric that in of itself brings additional issues of gargantuan perspective.

In addition to the challenges involved in transforming the transport system further Initiatives within the UK Government's plan include the increased investment in nuclear generation, wind energy, domestic heating transformation, and carbon capture and storage. 

The issue of power generation and storage must run hand in hand with the electrification of our personal and public transport system.  All of our existing nuclear power stations are due to be switched off before 2030 and the Government is looking for a quick solution.  Sizewell C and Hinkley are part of the solution but now we have a rush to productionise Small Modular Reactors which has yet to be approved by the Regulators.

All this in 10 years.  I doubt it.

Would be good to hear the thoughts of others. Log in and/or join the IET / ACostE Project Controls Network to leave a comment



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