The Betamax of the Car Industry


Do we allow people who know so little about engines and power make policy to regulate them?

Please don’t take this blog as a peon to the internal combustion engine. I am as aware as anyone who either has a window or a TV of climate change. It’s just the hysteria don’t always match the facts!

I seem to remember the Blair Government in the UK going all lovey- dovey about diesel a few years ago. The fact that taxes were jacked up to make the fuel the same price as petrol and create a windfall of revenue to the Chancellor surely had nothing to do with it!

And now diesel is the ‘sperm of Satan’ after the fall out following the dodgy VW claims. It is banned forever from anyone’s list of power… despite the fact new diesel engines are remarkably clean. “No. Diesel was a bad mistake. It must be banished,” Politicians cry sincerely. Knee jerk reaction by populist short term thinkers.

...and another thing

And petrol? Well the internal combustion engine is a pretty complex device. However, nearly every nation on earth has a battalion of spanner wranglers who understand it and can fix it. Do you honestly believe the garages under a corrugated roof in the third world are suddenly going to become electricians?

...and another thing

Most of the electricity generated to power and recharge these electric machines come from dirty power stations. The more we charge them, the more C02 is emitted. In addition, if everyone were to run about in them the power grid would collapse.

No one wants to address the elephant in the room. Battery life.

We all curse and bellow when our mobile batteries wear out. Well, your electric car is the same. The second hand value of these cars will drop faster than a hooker’s knickers when an aircraft carrier comes into harbour, when people have to start swapping out batteries. Say up to $20,000 a time? Let alone the tricky question of where do these poisonous dead batteries go?

Then there is weight. These giant scalextric cars we are all being encouraged to buy are heavier than a boat full of Sumo wrestlers. More brake dust in the air, more rubber left on the tarmac. More wear and tear to suspension, shock absorbers, bridges, road surfaces and motorways. These all have knock on effects for pollution and air quality.

Finally anyone want a guess at the C02 released having to re-engineer car plants to make electric vehicles let alone build new factories and battery plants? Or the disgraceful conditions in mining lithium?

...and another thing

What about the seething glob of stupidity that is Stop Oil and it’s protests at comfortable middle England events such as cricket, flower shows and Wimbledon. Try disrupting a Taylor Swift or Storm-Z concert or a even world championship MMA Cage Fight! I doubt any of the protestors would escape with a full set of teeth and their placards would become suppositories.

Protesting without bothering to find credible solutions is as pointless as a chocolate teapot. Stop protesting. Start working.

...and another thing

So what is the answer? If I knew for sure, I wouldn’t be wasting my time tapping keys to give you lot a free grin!

However, the pollution caused by a car during its manufacture is about 6 tonnes of C02 per vehicle, or about three to four years of driving. So let’s not bin every car in existence. Use them sensibly as those in existence have already created their C02 footprint from being manufactured.

Next fuel. Governments are not mad about bio fuels as they are still expensive to manufacture, unlike petrol that costs a few pence per litre until they add on a mountain of tax. Without the swingeing 50-70% of tax that makes up a litre or gallon of fuel, Bio fuels will soon be able to compete with current pump prices.

Bio fuels to me are near miraculous. A fuel that is created from emitted carbon that turns back into fuel and goes into our existing vehicles as well as maintains current car and fuel dispensing infrastructure! It is genius.

That’s where I would focus resources.

...and another thing

There are two certainties in this debate.

  1. The 2030 switch off of production of all internal combustion engines will have to be delayed. Already I understand China, one of the greatest polluters, now has an extension for internal combustion engines till 2050. They know the deadline is daft.
  2. Hydrogen fuel cells that only emit water will be the transport engine of the future. This blog is not the place to delve into the technological problems still need addressing. Ask people who really know about engines, power and pollution.

Meanwhile let’s not forget it’s not the car that’s the big polluter. It’s power stations. Power generating plants produce 50% more C02 than entire global car emissions. But sadly Governments can’t tax them to oblivion. You and I however, are fair game.

So until it all ends I am driving my classic cars and if you have one, do the same while you still can. Just don’t expect values to do anything but come down over the next decade on every classic car except the rarest examples.

Next blog return to lighter subject matter! Stay safe.

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