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Ministers must accept that the market won’t deliver technological change on its own. They will need to get the state involved to meet environmental and social objectives

The end of the internal combustion engine, which for more than a century changed the way we lived in Britain, is nigh. No one but the motor industry thinks this dirty technology ought to survive. The refusal to accept reality is exacting a high price: Britain will miss its legally binding carbon emissions targets because transport, unlike all other parts of the economy, is not doing enough to curb the growth in emissions. There’s something shameful about an industry that was caught lying about how clean and efficient its cars were now seeming reluctant to purge itself of an outmoded technology that contributes not only to climate change but is behind the deadly concentrations of pollutants responsible for 40,000 early deaths in the UK each year.

There is a way out: rapid advances in battery technology mean that electric motors could replace fuel-and-piston ones. Britons could all whizz about in electric-powered cars, which emit no toxic filth. There are still emissions associated with the extraction, production and distribution of the fuel that generates the electricity, but the thinking is that this is easier to deal with than millions of polluting vehicles. To its credit, earlier this summer Theresa May’s government produced a “Road to Zero” strategy which outlined how the UK plans to reach its goal of ending the sales of conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040. Unfortunately, this cut-off date is not only five years later than that recommended by the government’s own advisers but it also stops short of a complete ban on petrol and diesel vehicles. Continue reading...

Tags: Electric, hybrid and low-emission cars, Travel and transport, Self-driving cars, Motoring, Technology, Ethical and green living, Greenhouse gas emissions, Environment, Transport policy, Transport, Politics, Theresa May

The Guardian view on electric cars: stopped by industry inaction | Editorial was originally published by Cars | The Guardian. Read the full story by clicking here.

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