The Future of Motoring in Britain

Autonomy is a noun that when mentioned to car enthusiasts, receives a mixed reaction; some believe it is necessary in order to reduce congestion, while others think it will kill off the last remnants of pleasure to be found in driving.

There are multiple changes occurring in the here and now, such as the Conservative pledge to ban all internal combustion engine cars after 2040. This piece of legislation was announced towards the end of July 2017, which will undoubtedly change the motoring landscape in Britain for generations to come.

While to many motoring purists, or to those who simply love the sheer emotive nature of the automobile – the idea of utilising electricity to power cars means (in effect) placing vehicles into the same category as household appliances. It’s crazy to think that both kettle and car are able to be ran off the same national grid setup; seemingly unthinkable to me speaking from a petrol puritans point of view.

What position is the automotive industry in now to cope with all of these up coming changes? Well, Jim Holder, Editor of Autocar magazine states that it is a ‘mistake to legislate’, especially when the industry is moving in that direction anyway. Conversely, Grace who manages many of the exhibits at Coventry Transport Museum, believes that it is ‘an exciting time for the industry’.

While she believes the prospect of autonomous and electric cars may seem ‘daunting at first’, especially after Googles driverless car experienced some ‘hacking issues’, but hopefully it will be able to reduce human error on the roads.

Conversely, it is not the car manufactures themselves we should be worrying about when questioning their ability to conform to the 2040 cut off time. Journalists writing for automotive publications claim that it will be the UK’s government who will experience complications with regards to where the electricity will come from. Jim Holder also said that, banning is not the right way to go about things, stating that ‘we will all be driving electric cars by 2025 anyway’.

Attaining a fully functioning infrastructure capable of powering millions of electric cars will certainly be a challenge let’s face it. For it has to be as efficient as the one that went before it, for example in 2013, there were 8,490 petrol stations recorded around Britain. You cannot argue that petrol and diesel is the less popular choice when considering what car to buy.

On the other hand, one cannot argue that electric cars are simply being ignored in favour of their fossil fuelled counter parts. In 2011, the UK government released a grant meaning that those who purchase an electric car or hybrid, will receive up to thirty five thousand pounds of the government.

In 2016 sales jumped up by 60%, so it is safe to say that we are witnessing a new era of motoring here in Britain, with the rest of the World following suit. With all these changes happening within the span of five to ten years, the next decade will surely hold even more changes.


Callum Poole

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