With the AGM behind us, From the Chair comes from a new Chairman this month. Many thanks to Robin Roberts for his many years of hard work for the Group as chairman and deputy chairman.
The Government’s stated intention to ban the internal combustion engine from cars after 2030 is undoubtedly a story I will return to from time to time. It seems that we are pinning all hopes on the 2030 ban to bring about a steep reduction in CO2 emissions.
That drastic reduction is a laudable and supportable objective, but making it technology specific does not look wise to me. The keenness to demonise diesel came at a time when diesel powered cars with Euro-6 compliant engines are the cleanest they have ever been and in a number of cases, lower emitters than their petrol counterparts. Giving diesel such a bad press has seen sales plummet and CO2 emissions rise, not a politically astute move.
Other moves could easily be made to make emissions reductions now. Larger vans and cars have different speed limits, but these are rarely enforced. Vans driven at slower speeds would reduce emissions. 20 and 30mph limits could be enforced with average speed cameras, improving air quality for nearby residents. The technology is there, but no doubt politicians would see it as a vote loser.
The government recently announced that it would require electric vehicle charging points for all new houses. That seems sensible, but it might be better to ensure that all new houses are equipped with solar PV panels to generate electricity first.
Many houses do not have access to off-street parking where a charging point could be installed, limiting the likelihood that they will consider an electric car in the first place. An expansion of charging points in public car parks, retail site car parks and hotels could help to deal with that. I don’t mean rapid charge points but standard 7kW charge points that would maximise the number of cars that could be charged overnight from the available supply. That would be a much better use of our grid resources than simply rolling out more rapid charge points.
Chair, the Western Group of Motoring Writers