By on February 4, 2020

1992 Jaguar XJ6 Vanden Plas Majestic in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The clock’s ticking, Britain. You have 15 years.

In a bid to firm up its environmental cred, the UK has announced its intention to move up its planned ban on internal combustion vehicle sales from 2040 to 2035. In a country with a rising population and a declining amount of power generation, the move should have a few people pulling out their hair.

Especially those who make their living building cars.

Not environmentalists, of course, who have long demanded the country do more to lower its carbon footprint. Ahead of a planned UN climate conference — COP26 — those voices grew louder.

As reported by Reuters, Prime Minister Boris Johnson used the launch of the November conference, to be held in Scotland, as a springboard for the proposed policy.

“We have to deal with our CO2 emissions, and that is why the UK is calling for us to get to net zero as soon as possible, to get every country to announce credible targets to get there – that’s what we want from Glasgow,” Johnson said.

The ban on the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles would also forbid the sale of hybrid vehicles, leaving pure EVs as the only acceptable vehicle to buy. Older ICE vehicles would likely face restrictions on movement — an effort that’s already underway in many European cities.

The proposed policy would spur British automakers into pushing even harder into the electric realm, if for nothing other than self-preservation. A societal shift will also need to occur, by force if necessary, to accomplish the transition. In 2019, just 7.3 percent of new vehicle registrations in the UK were “alternative fuel” vehicles.

At the same time, electricity production in the UK is on the wane as the country works to remove coal from its generation mix. That material has largely been replaced by natural gas and wind; the grid is far greener than it was a decade prior, but the total amount of energy generated is still trending downward. The grid’s ability to handle the simultaneous charging of millions of electric vehicles with capacity to spare remains to be seen.

[Image: Murilee Martin/TTAC]

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60 Comments on “UK Expedites the Internal Combustion Car’s Death Sentence...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    I can easily predict how the comments in this post will go, and who will say what.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I predicted you would make that comment.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      What am I going to say?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        That’s a paradox

        I predicted that I predicted what you replied and your response was to express your amazement at my skills, but if I give you the original prediction then I’ll get the response to that prediction that I predicted. If I were to give you the response to the Prediction of my original prediction then I would then need to predict your response to that as well.

    • 0 avatar
      CaddyDaddy

      Jim Z is a little bent out of shape because he woke up and realized it was a waste of time to brave the cold last night in Ottumwa and attend caucus, his vote for Bernie somehow got lost in a cell phone app.

      ….. I wish the UK luck and not force royal subjects to electrification but let British citizens decide if it is the better economic choice.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        If they did let Brits vote on this, the government would still take 4 years before actually acting on it, after churning through at least three different prime ministers.

        Here in the 21st century, democracy just doesn’t work if people don’t vote the way they’re supposed to. Just ask David Cameron or Hillary. There’s a serious risk that people might vote in favor of personal freedom and jobs, instead of choosing to turn the suburbs into a series of ghetto islands in the countryside.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        OK Boomer.

        • 0 avatar

          JimZ you are getting older too every day, don’t forget that. As far as boomers are concerned – they were supposed to be forever young, be drugged most of the time and in reality to be sent by Government to die in Vietnam. X, Y, Z do not even know what draft is.

    • 0 avatar

      “I can easily predict how the comments in this post will go”

      But that’s where all the fun starts on this site.

      The real news is that Tesla is destined to become largest company in the world. I think it’s evaluation is already higher than VW let alone small players like GM and Ford.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    This from a Conservative PM. But them Margaret Thatcher systematically dismantled the British coal industry and you could not get much more Conservative, or conservative than her.

    And The Clean Air Act, enacted due to the Killer Fog of 1952 was also an Act of a Conservative government (Eden).

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Well, when you can’t breath I guess it transcends what side of the political coin you’re on

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        In the UK, “conservative” doesn’t mean conservative – it just means less liberal.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @Duke: Conservative (definition): ‘holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.’

          I don’t know what definition you are trying to use. Certainly the alt-right has a skewed version of what a ‘conservative’or a ‘liberal’ is.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            what passes for “conservative” in the US these days is more like “regressive.” A burning desire to drag us back to the 1950s “utopia” they’ve invented in their own minds thanks to a steady diet of Leave it to Beaver re-runs.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            Jim

            What is your definition of a true progressive? What goal/endgame does the true progressive strive for?

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            your first mistake is trying to frame it as a black/white, all or nothing thing.

            typical for today’s “team ball” politics.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            So you can’t answer his question? Banning technology seems awfully regressive, or “progressive” as the old coots say.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            I am aware of the spectrums of left/right politics, adopting ideas from both “sides”, etc. The basis for grayish political views are easy to define: me, myself and I. I am not claiming that any particular shade of black/white is right or wrong. That is why i asked for a “true” definition. I would like your (or THE) definition of the “black/white” BASIS/FOUNDATION for progressive politics.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            for one, I never said I had a definition for a “true progressive,” so I can only assume you’re trying to pin me down into having an argument you wish to have.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Simply because the pillars of what is sold as “modern progressivism” are indefensible. It’s eschewing basic liberties for “feel good” legislation, and defending ideas from failed policies wrapped in new packaging.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            Jim,

            No Sir, not trying to pin you down. I have been searching for someone who has a root definition of “progressive”. Taking into account your political tone towards conservatives, I assumed you had a definition of progressive that provided a solid base for your dislike for conservatives.

            Simple put; I don’t have a definition of a true conservative in politics either. It seems that the current direction of “conservative” politics is constantly shifting in multiple directions. It is impossible to define.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            According to Wikipedia: Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty, consent of the governed and equality before the law.

            There’s about as much liberalism in most liberals as their is conservatism in conservatives.

            These words still mean what they used to, and there are still liberals and conservatives, but don’t confuse the terms for the people claiming they’re either/or.

      • 0 avatar
        Pig_Iron

        @Lie2me
        In China, Communist party breathes for you.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      the EPA was formed at the behest of Richard Nixon.

      • 0 avatar

        Nixon was no conservative. Not even maybe.

        However even libertarians like John Stossel recognize the necessity of an EPA.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          *WHISTLE*

          Personal foul, “No True Scotsman” argument. Player attempted to subjectively and arbitrarily define a group to exclude a subset he doesn’t like. 5 yard penalty, re-play 2nd down.

        • 0 avatar
          zerofoo

          Conservatives adhere to the restrictions built into our Constitution.

          Typically, Conservatives are not opposed to departments like the EPA. Conservatives are opposed to the Federal EPA because it is not detailed as one of the 18 enumerated powers of congress.

          According to the 10th amendment the power of protecting the environment rests with the states – not with the Federal Government.

          If states so decide that resolving inter-state environmental issues is beyond their abilities, they are free to amend the constitution to grant the power to regulate the environment to the Federal Government.

          Conservatives aren’t against education, the environment, or clean energy – they are simply opposed to the federal government imposing its will on states when there is no constitutional mandate to do so.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “Conservatives adhere to the restrictions built into our Constitution.”

            Thanks for the good laugh. Don’t try to tell me that conservatives are saintly observers of the Constitution.

            Conservatives are the ones who have decided, in a steady stream of conservative-authored Supreme Court opinions, that protecting police from hurt feelings is more important than the protection against unreasonable search and seizure that the founders intended the Fourth Amendment to contain.

            Conservatives are the ones who have decided that the establishment clause of the First Amendment is a dead letter, that it’s just fine for government agencies to take overtly Christian positions, and that the free exercise clause is the only part of the First Amendment that matters.

            Conservatives have shown enduring hostility to the Fifth Amendment right to due process in the criminal context, generally favoring kangaroo-court criminal justice systems where guilt is effectively presumed, defendants don’t have effective counsel, and exonerating evidence is ignored.

            Conservatives are the ones who have led the movement to have the executive branch arrogate the war-making power that Article I, Section 8 vests in Congress.

            Conservatives, in general, are completely unaware of that same section’s grant of power to Congress to use tax funds for the general welfare of the United States, which invalidates most of their Tenth Amendment arguments (and which is exactly suited to encompass an agency like the EPA that solves problems where one state’s actions can hurt the rest of the states).

            Conservatives are now defending reappropriation by the executive branch in direct violation of Article I, Section 9, in the form of Trump’s wall financing.

            Conservatives have decided that the clear prohibition in that same section on executive branch officials accepting emoluments from foreign states or royalty is a dead letter.

            Conservatives love to bray about how anyone and everyone who disagrees with their policy ideas is “treasonous,” betraying their total ignorance of the very narrow definition of treason in Article III, Section 3.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “ Conservatives have shown enduring hostility to the Fifth Amendment right to due process in the criminal context, generally favoring kangaroo-court criminal justice systems where guilt is effectively presumed, defendants don’t have effective counsel, and exonerating evidence is ignored.”

            I know full well you didn’t post that with a straight face. The rest of your “examples” are poorly cobbled together to fit your bias, but this one takes the cake.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            It ain’t blue states (except for New York) that are continuously getting sued for Fifth and Sixth Amendment violations because their public defender programs don’t provide even the most basic representation for indigent defendants. The worst of the lot have been Missouri and Louisiana, with honorable mentions to, well, almost every state in the South.

            The long list of well over 100 death-row prisoners that have had clear exonerating evidence ignored by the courts (usually a Fifth Amendment violation) is almost entirely made up of red-state defendants, the exceptions being from Illinois, which I think people on both sides would happily throw into Lake Michigan.

            It has been a decades-long battle to get Southern states to line up with the rest of the country and require unanimous jury verdicts in felony cases, which is demonstrated to cut way down on wrongful convictions. The newly conservative Florida Supreme Court just voted to allow non-unanimous death sentences, which anyone familiar with the literature can tell you is going to result in a lot less consistency in application of the death penalty.

            Conservative-run jurisdictions have a long history of running over the due process rights of defendants in an attempt to be “tough on crime.”

    • 0 avatar
      Johnstone McTavish

      Margaret Thatcher was far from a conservative Conservative. She was about the most radical they’d ever had.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Cue Rush’s Red Barchetta, with due respect to dear departed Neil Peart.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, it’s not like the Brits don’t have history of crashing their way into policies that may not be realistic…

    cough…Brexit…cough…

    Who knows = maybe they have something up their sleeves when it comes to electric generation.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think it is a mistake to ban conventional hybrids, PHEVs, and other highly fuel-efficient vehicles. I also think it is easy to declare things that will happen 15 years from now when implementation won’t be your problem.

    The viability of EVs won’t come through ICE bans. It is going to depend on battery prices, manufacturing capacity, and infrastructure.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The technology used to generate electricity will also become a critical factor. At the moment, battery size is critical because the number of places you can charge up are very limited (particularly if you don’t have a place to plug in at home). But what if electricity becomes far cheaper and more plentiful? Then you can have plugs literally everywhere. There’s tech on the very near horizon that does just that.

      I see today’s EVs as the automotive equivalent of a circa-1981 IBM PC or O.G. Mac – useful for a fairly narrow slice of users, but limited for everyone else. It took the development of the Internet to really bring personal computing into everyone’s lives. But those original PCs and Macs were important because they allowed manufacturers to mature and improve the technology to the point that when the Internet wave did hit, the hardware was ready to ride it. I think something similar will happen with EVs.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @FreedMike. However I am more likely to compare current ‘electric’ vehicle manufacturers to Compaq, Commodore, Amstrad or Data General.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          If the EV market is the early computer market, we are in the 8 bit era. There are some legendary products that will be fondly remembered. People look at their Commodore 64’s with rose colored glasses though…you know back in the day you’d have dumped it at first opportunity for an Atari ST or an Amiga. I’m probably going to hold out for the EV 16 bit era too.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    It’s a small country, with trains, so range anxiety shouldn’t be a big issue there.

  • avatar
    redapple

    BS, BS and more BS.

    We cannot decide if this is good or bad unless we see DATA !

    Key question. What are the amounts of damaging pollution due to pollution in propelling and manufacturing the car.

    Total life cycle. WELLS TO WHEELS STUDY.

    With out facts; it s all BS.

    Electricity generation has problems too.
    Solar is joke. One could cover the whole USA with solar cells and there would still be a deficit.
    Nuke ? Come on.
    Wind mill bird choppers?
    Rare earth elements for battery production pollution.

    I suspect when it is all analysed, there will be negligible difference in total pollution between E car and dino juice cars.
    But the all knowing great politicians know better.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “One could cover the whole USA with solar cells and there would still be a deficit.”

      Let’s do a little math, shall we?

      AZ is 295,254 km^2 at 1000/watts per square meter AZ covered in solar panels would generate 295,254 GW. US installed generating capacity is 1,072.46 GW.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Based on the *current* mix of electric generating technologies, I think redapple’s statement makes some sense. But that mix is changing. And when (not if) fusion power becomes a reality, it’ll turn energy production upside down. This tech has always been “around the corner,” but the difference today is that some high-powered corporations are putting skin in the game because they see the commercial potential as being real, and not very far off at all. This is a good article on the potential and challenges involved with this tech:

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen/2019/01/14/is-fusion-power-within-our-grasp/#59c373159bb4

      If I were president, I’d throw TONS of government money behind this effort – I want America, not China, to be the one that develops it.

      • 0 avatar
        Kendahl

        Fusion power has been “within our grasp” for at least 50 years. Today, it’s not as far along as fission was in 1942 when Enrico Fermi built the first reactor underneath the stands at the University of Chicago’s football stadium.

    • 0 avatar
      mzr

      Wind generation kills fewer birds than oil and gas well site waste ponds.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Solar is joke???:

      https://fortune.com/2019/10/21/renewables-solar-nuclear-wind-energy-climate/

      There are other new sources you don’t mention. The power for my drive home from work now comes from a Bloom Energy Solid Oxide Fuel cell that runs on natural gas. Check out Bloom’s web site: https://www.bloomenergy.com/

  • avatar
    fazalmajid

    Sadly the British government has shown spectacular levels of incompetence over the last 3 years. Doing away with ICE cars would require significant infrastructure build-out like electric charge points for street parking, along with measures like requiring new-build houses and existing apartment buildings to install chargers in their parking areas. There is no sign of anything like that, and in any case the UK also has a severe electric power generation shortfall.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Britain spending billions going carbon neutral should drop the planet’s temperature by about 0.00001°C by 2100. I feel much better.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    JimZ graduated first in his class at the Adam Schiff Mind Reading school…

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Serious questions: How many in British parliament are mechanical or electrical engineers? Are they all baby kissing lawyers? Any physicians?

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    If the UK completely stopped emitting any CO2, how many months would it take China to increase its emissions to equal to the UK’s reduction? The Paris Accord has some vague statements from and about China and India. They are #1 and #3 on the CO2 emitters list, but there is nothing binding of significance.

    re: redapple’s assessment of solar as a joke – about 30 miles from where I live, Florida Power and Light has installed 75MW of solar plus 10MWh of battery and is installing another 75MW of solar. If you can’t get it to work in SW Florida, then I’ll agree with redapple. However, the markets are backing FPL’s parent NextEra Energy – up 58% from this time last year. NEE is also big in windmills. Both these plays are dependent on substantial upfront tax credits. We’ll know how this plays out about the time the UK ostensibly will be relying on trains, bicycles and shank’s mare.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    The British could get away with 100% electrification. Range isn’t a big issue because the farthest you can go, from Land’s End to the northern tip of Scotland, is about the same as crossing Texas. Short distances and a high population density make public transportation practical for much of the country.

    To make it work, they will have to expand their generating capacity and upgrade their distribution system. If that doesn’t happen, it will be interesting to see whether the British people exact a political price for the failure.

  • avatar
    AnalogMan

    Reducing carbon emissions is a Really Good Idea. The scientific data showing the relationship between rising CO2 levels and global warming is overwhelming. We need to combat climate change if we want to save ourselves – this is the only planet we have.

    But the inconvenient truth is that BEVs just don’t make sense if the majority of electricity is generated from fossil fuels. In the UK, 54% of electricity is generated from fossil fuels, and 21% from nuclear. Only 25% is generated from renewable sources. A BEV is only as “green” as the power source used to generate the electricity:

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/electric-cars-are-not-necessarily-clean/

    Electricity is not ‘free’. It doesn’t just come out of a wall socket on its own. Some other primary energy source must be used to generate the electricity. Most non-technically trained bureaucrats promoting BEVs ignore this.

    Of course the situation would be different IF electricity were predominantly generated from renewable sources (solar, wind, tidal, geothermal). But that’s not the case in the UK. Given the dire condition of the economy, it seems unlikely they will find the massive capital needed to build large numbers of renewable energy electric power plants by the self-imposed 2035 deadline.

    So unfortunately, the bottom line is that with the CURRENT UK (and US) electric energy grid, one would probably be better off simply burning fossil fuel directly rather than converting it into electricity to then power a BEV. It still comes back to having to change the electric grid and how electricity is generated. Until then, people are just kidding ourselves with artificial and inaccurate ‘MPGe’ numbers that might make some people feel good, but don’t reflect reality.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    Ought to be easy, just buy the excess nuclear power that France generates. Of course, if the French go for electric cars they might need all that power.

    Solar might just work in Arizona, but it wouldn’t work well in the UK in the winter. It’s so much further north and at the end of the year it is noticeably starting to get dark at 3:15 in the afternoon. Not to mention the cloud and rain they get.

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