The green revolution is catching on and government, companies and individuals are all embracing green initiatives in an effort to reduce our collective carbon footprint. From renewable energy to using less plastic, we are all innately aware of what we need to do to ease the pressure on our planet. And with evidence of climatic change everywhere around us, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to step up these efforts; which is why our topic for today could turn out to be one of the best things we’ve heard to date, at least in relation to climate change.
Reducing Reliance on Fossil Fuels to Power Vehicles
One of the ways the motoring industry is moving towards greener, more sustainable technologies is by reducing reliance on fossil fuels to power vehicles. This has seen an increase in hybrid and electric cars on our roads as more and more people become conscious of how these vehicles reduce emissions. In fact, in recent times major manufacturers including BMW, Volkswagen and Hyundai have chosen to focus more on developing these greener cars, devoting a huge chunk of their Research and Development for this purpose.
And this focus is translating to more hybrid and electric vehicles on UK roads, accounting for more than 5.5% of all new cars on UK roads in 2018. This is a significant increase from 4.2% seen during the same period in 2017. This is a trend that the UK government is also promoting heavily with the Department of Transport announcing a plan to encourage people to drive low-emission vehicles.
Proposed Green Plates
In the very near future, clean cars, taxis and vans will be easily identified using green registration plates. This is according to a recent government consultation designed to see if the idea might catch on in the UK. The proposal is already under implementation in other countries including Norway and China, both of whom allow drivers to show that they are taking a sustainable approach to driving. These number plates are likely to give drivers access to low emissions lanes and dedicated low-emissions zones which can decongest the roads a little bit more.
But we must point out that this proposal is only in its initial consultation stage which started in September 2018. There is still no official word from the government when this new plan will be rolled out. But the plan is likely to be delayed by Brexit negotiations. But an initiative of this nature would not take too line to implement. Using the Netherlands as an example, personalised number plates in the Netherlands were on the road for a little under one year before the proposal was passed. With the same timelines, it is likely that green number plates could be on the road by November 2019.
Hurdles to Green Car Ownership
For the green number plates initiative to be successful, the number or people willing to purchase electric cars or hybrids has to increase. The truth is, more and more people are willing to purchase electric cars, but many people have raised some concerns about the viability of owning an EV. Some of these concerns include the following;
The average electric vehicle has a range of about 80 to 100 miles. This means that most electric cars as they are today would not be viable for those travelling long distances. An EV may be ideal for everyday short commutes, but you would need to ensure the batteries are full if you are going on a longer trip. The only exception is Tesla models and they are out of reach for the average motorist in terms of price.
Long Charging Time
Long charging times may also make it more difficult for most people to buy an EV. On average it takes much longer to charge an EV than to fill up a traditional car with fuel. Again, this is an issue of timing. If you only use your car for daily commutes, then you could charge the car at night. It is not so practical when you have to take a longer trip.
Despite most manufacturers now venturing into the electric car space, there is still a very limited numbers of EVs in the market. They are also a lot more expensive as compared to traditional vehicles and even EVs that are more affordable are unlikely to be impressive in terms of range and charging time.
As research and development continues, it is likely that this will change very soon and the future EVs will take all these factors in consideration. It is certainly encouraging that the government considers the industry important enough to introduce green number plates.