Recent moves to discourage car owners from purchasing diesel vehicles via urban pollution charges et al were highlighted here , but now the move away from the nitrous emissions is gaining further pace. How far away are we from moving fully into the electric/hybrid era? It could be sooner than you think.
UK Government Plans
As it stands the Government is planning to end the production of all petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040. Along with our Gallic chums over the channel they see it as the best way to combat the alarming rise in air pollution that blights so many of metropolitan areas. As we reported previously, charges are being implemented to dissuade the public from using diesel cars but this is now a far more drastic turn of events. The commitment seems clear and for generations that have grown up only ever knowing petrol driven cars it may seem strange. However moves across the industry are afoot to make this plan a reality.
Volvo Takes Action
In July news hit the UK media that Volvo are setting out to only make cars with an electric motor from 2019. This will be a huge step and mean that they will become the first major player to build vehicles that are not solely reliant on the internal combustion engine. Volvo’s Chinese owners Geely have been the chief drivers for electric vehicle production in recent times. They are spearheading the move to electric in their homeland and sold over a quarter of a million electric vehicles there in 2016. That is compared to just over 100k throughout the whole of Europe. They mean business.
For their part, Volvo aim to sell a million electric vehicles by 2025. Whether any other manufacturers follow suit with such a business plan remains to be seen but it is certain that the progress of the strategy will be followed very closely by the competition.
Private owners will be monitoring the purchase and running costs alongside whatever environmental concerns they might have. However the real training ground for the move to electric will be seen across the UK car fleet sector and the early signs are that they are ready and willing to embrace it. The ability to spread the higher purchase costs over several years is attractive when combined with the electric cars’ reduced running costs. Another key point is that most recharging facilities are situated on major routes which are the main highways used by fleet companies. They make fewer journeys though the back roads than the average private user, where recharging points are few and far between.
It’s dangerous to make too many conclusions in the early stages of a major shift in an industrial strategy; however several pieces of the jigsaw are now in place and with Government policies, manufacturers’ desire to lead the way in the move away from petrol/diesel and the willingness of the fleet sector to embrace the change, it does appear that the days fossil fuelled vehicles could be coming to an end. In a fast changing world nothing is certain but at this stage it would be wise for company fleet buyers and individual motorists to familiarise themselves with what a major shift to electric vehicles would mean for you out on the road.