Bumpy road ahead for green cars
I’ve just changed my car. I’m no petrol head but having worked in the industry for a few decades, I more or less know where the deals are to be had.
Having opted a while back to shrink my carbon footprint by working more from home - broadband permitting - I decided to look at the choices of AFVs (alternative fuel vehicles).
I discovered some really informative price comparison sites. They’re put together by people who know their stuff and have no brand loyalties. Their only motivation is to get you away from carbon fuels.
You get some angst about charging points and whatnot but to my mind the single most prohibitive factor is price. The difference is several thousand pounds and whilst there’s a financial breakeven point, it takes a while to reach.
It’s a different story if you operate a commercial fleet or have taken up business leasing as there are definite advantages.
I was expecting something better from an average consumer perspective. Indeed, it seemed this time last year that every big name manufacturer on the planet had an electric car in the pipeline. The reality is less straightforward.
Volvo plan to introduce five 100% electric models between 2019 and 2021 finally resulting in what the company describes as a “historic end” to the internal combustion engine.
Others however have gone a bit quiet on timing commitments. One clue may be how the price of cobalt, the metal needed to power typical car batteries, has jumped from just under $600 to $1,700 per unit and it still climbing.
Car dealerships and manufacturers can get grants to reduce the price of brand new electric and hybrid vehicles. Unfortunately, this only includes government approved models and the list of those capable of producing the restricted CO2 emissions level is a limited one.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) there were 9,365 Alternative Fuel Vehicles leaving dealer forecourts in April. That equates to just under 6 percent of cars registered that month.
Without more proactive government effort going into clean energy on our roads, it could remain a bumpy road for the green car business.
Should we wave goodbye to tidal power?
Sticking with environmental issues, the news that the UK government has scuppered plans for the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon comes as no great surprise.
According to the company, the scheme seems competitive enough in terms of unit price when compared to Hinkley Point – plus it has a good deal of public and political support.
However, the negative manner in which the key players behind the project were recently put through the mill by a well-briefed committee of MPs suggests that other factors might be at work.
All may not be lost as I get the impression that the Welsh government and Swansea council are willing to look at options provided by recent legislative changes that enable commercial involvement.
But that doesn’t let Downing street off the hook and why they’ve been content to string along the people of south west Wales. Some answers, and good ones, will be demanded.
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