The government is subsidising the purchase of 60,000 electric vehicles by private individuals in the UK between now and 2015 at a cost to the general taxpayer of £300m. It is also spending £20m installing charging sockets in a number of cities so that these new vehicles can be recharged.
The Secretary of State for Transport said that it was an ‘exciting green revolution’ and that ‘the british public has in the past shown it’s ready to embrace new technology and take practical steps to adopt a lifestyle kinder to the environment’.
The cynic in me things that this will just change the power source of the vehicle that is blocking the pavement. The production and disposal of the vehicles will continue to push huge pressure on resources and the environment. In addition the government and businesses will continue to have to build new roads and parking places for these vehicles which currently pay no vehicle excise duty or fuel duty. The whole car based transport system of which this is just the latest twist has humorously been described as a massive Ponzie scheme.
As far as I can see a much more profound change is the one from ‘ownership’ to ‘access’. This is what the information age is about and it is what car club operators are responding to. If you own a vehicle then there is a big temptation to use it for trips like the school run. If a potential driver has to pay the full cost for each trip then they will be much less likely to use it and walk to school! The car club model uses vehicles far more efficiently and results is far fewer being parked at any one time and this is what the car manufacturers are so scared of.
As such it is a battle between these: