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The future looks green

Whilst Covid-19 has swept across the world and captured the majority of news headlines throughout 2020 a seismic, but relatively un-noticed, shift has been happening in the automotive world. 2020 saw the introduction of the EU “CAFÉ” regulations. These are strict targets aimed at tackling global warming with punitive fines for non compliance from manufacturers if they feel to meet an average CO2 emission level for all vehicles registered in the year. With potentially hefty fines into the £billions for car makers, the keen eyed motorist may have noticed the reduction in the market place for larger more powerful engines, and the general move towards MHEV and PHEV powered vehicles which help to lower CO2 emissions. Indeed those manufacturers that still offer more powerful cars do so with limited capacity and availability in order to be able to forecast and counter-balance the high CO2 output by selling more of the less polluting vehicles. It has become a very fine balancing act, whereby car makers may not necessarily want to sell or register vehicles even if there is high demand for fear of tipping their average CO2 output in the wrong direction!

With Borris Johnson and Rishi Sunak propelling forward, by an entire decade, the governments target for the cessation of all new ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle sales from 2040 to 2030 the race is very much on for manufacturers to develop alternative fuelled vehicles. Only a few years ago the motor industry was still in debate about which alternative fuelling technology would propel us forward and win in the long run; hydrogen powered vehicles or battery powered (all electric) vehicles. That debate seems to have been thoroughly put to bed with battery (BEV) power taking us forward into a new era of propulsion for transport. Over the last 18 months EV’s have improved leaps and bounds with extended range and rapid charging, removing some of the fear factor associated without the luxury of quickly filling up with fuel. We now have an all-electric Vauxhall Corsa with a 200+ mile range and the Hyundai Kona with an optional battery upgrade that will achieve 300 miles on a charge (both of these are currently on special offer and can be found in the "Electric Vehicles Top Offers" section of our website - wink wink nudge nudge! Better yet for motorists is that electric cars, on the whole, are starting to look the same as there petrol or diesel counterparts whereas electric cars of old had more of a statement look about them that was quite frankly unattractive unless you wanted to be driving around in something that looked like it was designed to be in a sci-fi movie (the Nissan Leaf, Vauxhall Ampera and BMW I3 come to mind).

Where is technology taking us? Good question and the answer is clearly towards full electrification! PHEV’s have a place but the government will see them phased out by 2035 and one suspects that now the line in the sand has been drawn manufacturers will embrace the challenge. It’s not unreasonable to think most could be there in 5 years with many having already planned to have an electric vehicle in every model line up by 2025 anyway. There are other factors that will dictate the pace of change and that’s if we as consumers choose to embrace electric vehicles or if we elect to keep buying ICE vehicles for as long as we possibly can deferring to use electric vehicles until we are forced to. One thing that is clear from SMMT data and manufacturer production is that we will probably see the death of diesel in the next 5 years. Smeared by newspaper campaigns and given an unfairly bad reputation diesel sales have been on the rapid decline and when there is not a demand for a product there will no longer be a product.

Having worked in the automotive industry since 2008 I couldn’t have even imagined 5 years ago electric technology would be where it is today. I suspect in 5 years time we may see vehicles that have a range of 400+ miles and at that point consumers will no longer be able to argue the justification for the economy/convenience of diesel or petrol vehicles. Personally I, and many others, will be a little sad….. there is something emotive about cars for the purist and the rev of an engine, the smell of petrol, the rumble of an exhaust, and the feedback of the road through the steering wheel and the ability to tinker and fettle with the performance or appearance. Electric vehicles don’t have any of that – they are the point cars become nothing more than a practical way of getting from A to B

All in all we are moving at pace towards a new look motoring world, but whilst the government have set the benchmark for “our” side of the industry they have much work to do on infrastructure, taxation and the practicalities of an all-electric motoring world and everybody involved in the industry on all sides has a long way to go in terms of educating consumers on whole life cost of ownership (but that’s a conversation for another blog post - although do give us a call today if you are considering an electric vehicle and want to know more about this).

One thing we can all rest assured on is that the current government grant which gives you up to £5k off your new car, and some manufacturers offers to install free or discounted home charging points will not be around forever. Much like the solar panel scheme as demand grows and the uptake increases the need to incentivise people to choose electric will reduce and therefor be removed, meaning that now may be as good a time as ever to dip your toes into the world of electric vehicles!

NORTHRIDGE CARS  IS AUTHORISED BY THE FINANCIAL CONDUCT AUTHORITY. We are a credit broker and not a lender, which means we can introduce you to a limited number of finance providers, who may pay us a commission. Registered No : 661126

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