Recently the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a revision of the policies designed to help the UK meet its legally binding target of cutting its carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. He delayed the ban on the sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035, and relaxed other targets.
Mr Sunak justified this decision after considering the UK had cut its emissions faster than any G7 country since 1990, and insisted that the policies he was changing were not necessary to meet emissions targets.
These words have generated discussions in the UK and abroad as the message touches a very sensitive topic. When some years ago we heard from different sources the intention of banning vehicles powered by conventional Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) in favour of 100% electric vehicles, car makers first and consumers later were sceptical that this could be viable in such a short time. Generally speaking, technological transitions need time and money to be achieved. This specific transition should be helped by changes in some other industries and electricity generation is one of them. Smart Grids is another one. The installation of charging stations infrastructures is a third one and consumers acceptance is a fourth one.
Those of you who regularly read my editorials know my reluctance about the introduction of EVs in such a short time. On top of it, this delay on postponing the banning of ICE vehicles from 2030 and 2035 adds more doubts in consumers’ mind and indirectly confirms the unfeasibility of this transition in a few years. The justification provided is even worse: if CO2 emissions have to be cut, they should be cut and if this happens faster than thought even better! This couldn’t be an alibi to postpone ICE vehicles ban, if they firmly believed the concept.
On the other side, in the EU, car makers complain that the introduction of new Euro7-based vehicles is going to raise their production costs and this increment will be transferred to consumers. The current forecast says the final vehicle price could be increased by an amount ranging from EUR 2,000 to EUR 6-7,000 and this could reduce sales with a consequent potential crisis that would lead to workers dismissal.
Taking all into account, we can understand the picture is far from being fully clear as the pros of introducing EVs and/or cleaner vehicles in the short term seem to be fewer than the cons.
EPN Consulting & EPN Consulting Research and Innovation Founder and CEO
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