Why have vehicle pollution levels gone through the roof in cities like London recently?
The newspapers, bloggers and politicians are all majoring on the “Diesel engine” problem, as most business and privately owned cars are diesel-engined – a situation brought about many years ago by the afore mentioned politicians who encouraged us all to drive cleaner, more fuel efficient vehicles – namely diesel vehicles!
Car manufacturers around the world have been forced over the past 15 years or so to develop diesel engine technology because the market demanded it. We have all enjoyed benefits from the economic expansion and sometimes also in performance over the petrol engine equivalent. Such has contributed to the rising demand for Diesel engines that even manufacturers such as Mercedes- Benz, BMW, Porsche and Maserati have had to get on the band wagon.
Unsurprisingly, less than 20 years ago Porsche stated publicly that they would ‘never build a diesel engined car’ as it would not sit comfortably with its brand image. Nowadays, their diesel engined SUV models, the Cayenne and Macans, are their best sellers.
Bizarrely enough, the world’s largest car market, the USA, has never really taken to Diesel engines. Instead they have moved slowly from (very) large petrol engined gas guzzlers to (slightly) smaller petrol engined cars. (VW, with hindsight, must be relieved at this fact following their “diesel gate” debacle and the subsequent legal supercosts worldwide).
On a recent visit to Fastlane’s fantastic ‘state of the art’ body repair business in Ascot, it is found that there were about 100 cars on site in various stages of the repair process. I calculated that well over 70% of these were diesel, the balance being exotic sports cars, Rolls Royce’s and Tesla’s. So, I guess this may be representatives in % terms of what we can see more generally in our towns and cities.
On pollution levels, we also need to take into account the highly influential companies like Amazon have had in our towns and cities. The hundreds or perhaps thousands of ‘white vans’ that deliver their parcels every day; then there are the Tesco/Sainsburys vans delivering our food and vegetables to our homes and offices; plus let’s not forget the mad Deliveroo bikers delivering our carry out meals.
10 years ago, these journeys weren’t necessary. Then, we simply purchased and collected these items going to and from work, or whilst enroute somewhere else.
Nowadays we make the excuse that we don’t have the time.
The younger generation, who predominantly use these services are endangering their own future with a selfish, myopic lifestyle.
Wake up people under the age of 45 and smell the diesel!
So, where do we go from here?
Electric technology seems to be the way ahead for most major vehicle manufacturers.
Tesla, the innovative American manufacturer appeared to be leading the way, but all the other major worldwide vehicle manufacturers also have electric vehicles either in production or in the pipeline, so the competition will be intense to ‘ crack the code’ and make electric cars work for the public.
Currently, electric cars only account for about 3% of the global vehicle market. However, ‘industry experts ‘ (whoever they are) suggest that this will increase to approximately 20/25% over the next 10 years.
In my opinion, this could well be a conservative figure if battery technology continues to improve at the current fantastic pace, improving the ‘life expectancy ‘ of our journey distances. Currently, 250 -350 miles seems to be the maximum, and this is off-putting for most common mortals like me.
Add to this the poor infrastructure of charging points for electric vehicles and we see where the focus is required.
We need quickly to get to the point where charging points/or charging areas are available cheaply In every home, business, High Street, supermarket, motorway etc., and where the charging process is ultra-fast and ultra-simple – and preferably remote – thus enabling old guys like me to carry out the process easily.
Dr. Porsche, an engineering genius of his time, designed and built the first ‘ people’s car’. The Volkswagen Beetle.
A car so simple, so strong and so clever that it stayed in production for over 60 years.
Please step forward the next Dr. Ferdinand Porsche.