Author Topic: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC  (Read 4677 times)


BrianI

  • Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Lepidopterist Man!
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2019, 06:36:26 am »
Found this today.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48875361

And what are your thoughts?
Personally I think more investment should be made to public transport and cycling infrastructure (not just a line of paint along the gutter) to get people out of cars.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2019, 06:57:47 am »
My MSc dissertation is about preventing automobile dependency in economic development.

The problem is that 'governance solutions' don't make much odds to the fundamental patterns of life we have made for ourselves. We have set ourselves workplaces, shops, schools and holiday destinations that are ages away because for the past 60-70 years you are expected to have aspired to own and operate a car. It isn't enough to just reform infrastructure if your end destination is always going to be in a place you were always expected to drive to (or be driven to).

My MSc is more about preventing this from happening in the first place than retroactively applying a cure. But I think basically the best hope is a cultural rejection of the car trap, and the disassociation of cars with 'freedom' and 'luxury', moreso recognition of what they really are: expensive, dangerous death cages that ruin the well-being of drivers, passengers and bystanders/other road users alike. The Dutch didn't get what they have now by the government imposing a top dow governance change, they have it because of an energetic social movement (stop de kindermoord) which indeed actually radicalised and broke the law a la the suffragettes to get their way https://youtu.be/XuBdf9jYj7o.

And on the carrot side, big sums and energy on making cycling, handcycling, and transit affordable and attractive. I think this could also include putting health warnings on cars and car products to de- glamourise driving. I would really love 'plain packaging' for cars, that'd be rad.
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2019, 09:16:33 am »
When the problem is car dependency, the answer is never 'different cars'.



(I'll read the article when I have more time this afternoon and possibly even give more thought out answers.)
A cup of tea is the perfect bridge between real life and cake.

Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2019, 09:25:59 am »
Have to agree with the sentiment that electric cars alone won’t solve the issue.

I have a Nissan Leaf EV car.

The problem still remains with congestion, whatever car you drive, plus it still takes a lot of the earths resources to make and run a EV car.

Far better than an ICE vehicle though.

It seems we are a long way of solving , or even addressing this problem.

How do we get people out of their cars?
Regards

Denis

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2019, 09:35:18 am »
We make private transport very expensive properly expensive.

However there’s quite a time lag, since most people have made life choices based on cheap private transport.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2019, 09:57:11 am »

And on the carrot side, big sums and energy on making cycling, handcycling, and transit affordable and attractive. I think this could also include putting health warnings on cars and car products to de- glamourise driving. I would really love 'plain packaging' for cars, that'd be rad.

All the while the car manufacturers - the only real mass production left in Europe employing in the thousands and in the pocket of governments across the continent - sell a 'lifestyle' not a car. You have to buy the latest shiniest SUV with roof bars on the top carry two bikes and a canoe because heaven forbid you can't go on your activity staycation with the kids without getting there by car....

The rest of the time of course it's causing death and misery but we'll gloss over that in nice TV adverts.
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ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2019, 09:57:58 am »
Electric cars just perpetuate all the issues while putting a green veneer on top. All the problems of a car-dependent society remain unaddressed. We're still bound to drive everywhere, to school, to work, to the shops. We still have to pay for them. We still have to pay the costs of sprawling infrastructure. We still have to find places to park them. We still have to deal with the incidental pollution. We still have to deal with the energy and resource cost of making them. We still have to deal with a lot of electricity not coming from renewable sources. We still have to deal with the toll of death and injuries on the road. We still have to deal with the obesity crisis. We'll still see vast amounts of corporate welfare spent on propping up car makers not to mention the even vaster spending on roads and infrastructure to ensure they retain a 'market.' We'll still have to deal with the mess left behind if car financing debt goes belly-up.

I don't see the liberation of having to sit in traffic to buy stuff we probably don't need and can't afford while local facilities die. I don't see the liberation of having to pay to drive ten miles to a job at the middle-of-nowhere industrial estate, having to work all the time to afford the two cars a family needs to get to those jobs (while employers reap the benefit of a cheaper often subsidised location). I don't see the liberation of every activity being predicated on finding somewhere to park.

Liberation would seem to be the converse of all that, and freeing ourselves of the burden of our cars (or at least putting them to one side for when they are genuinely needed).
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fd3

Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2019, 10:07:45 am »
It's a stupid article because they say that electric cars will not solve a problem they were never expected to solve.  What they meant to say was "there is/are an/multiple additional problem/s with car use, beside their pollution".
It is a timely article if politicians pick up on it, basically it's pointing out that now is a time where we are looking to move to electric cars, so why not also consider the accompanying issue.  Solutions could include:
Different/higher tax bands, raising from Electric to Hybrid to Petrol to Diesel.
A Tax multiplier based on size/mass of vehicle.
A Tax multiplier based on number of cars registered at the household.

Obviously you need to support this with some sort of trade-in incentives, potentially a tax cut for households that don't have a car.  Self-driving cars would also be a solution to this problem as there would be reduced ownership of cars. 
Also, a greater allowance for flexi-time at work would make a  big difference.  We have commited cyclists on this forum who have to drive their kids to the local school because they have to then drive to work to be in on time.  If they could start later they could cycle.
[/I could be wrong]

Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2019, 10:16:04 am »
An electric car solves the problem of tailpipe emissions. All the other problems associated with cars remain. We need to re-imagine our society, and our cities to remove cars from them.  Instead we have plans like the Oxford Cambridge Expressway which is a huge road, essentially to link loads of new houses in the middle of nowhere with jobs that are supposed to be created in the cities.  ::-) Sigh.

fd3

Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2019, 10:23:57 am »
In Paris what the mayor did was to make one of the major roads one-way, then build a beach on the other half of the road for pedestrians.  When Birmingham installed the tram they closed off a major road through the city centre. 
I think for cities, we need more of this.
For suburbs an option is to have more one-way roads to discourage their use as throughfare, or to have more roads end with bollards so that they are there only for access to the houses.
Yes, the solution to the problem is to make it so much worse that people opt out.
[/I could be wrong]

Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2019, 10:38:27 am »
Threads like these are interesting in the way they demonstrate how constituencies for certain views are built and maintained. That's the nature of activism of course.

Quote
The authors say there will always be people who depend on cars, especially in the countryside or suburbs.
But, they point out that many young people in cities are choosing not to buy cars.
Instead they are using public transport, walking, cycling, taking minicabs and hiring cars when they are needed.
This more active lifestyle means less obesity, pollution and road danger – and greater sociability as people meet their neighbours on their way to work.
It also allows parking spaces to be liberated for more housing or gardens.
The government, the authors say, should be encouraging other people to follow the lead set by the young.
“It is a happy accident that car ownership is static in every age group except the over-60s," Prof Anable says. "The government should build on that.”

There are so many factors in play, that it's impossible to disentangle them.

I'm interested in the way that transport policy has evolved, and one way to get objective information is to look at documents that were researched and compiled for purposes at arm's length from the data. I found one by the Sub-Sahara policy division of the World Bank from 1993 about Transport Tax policies in a number of OECD countries, from 1993.
http://regulationbodyofknowledge.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Creightney_Road_User_Taxation.pdf

It's interesting to see the intentions of those taxation policies, and look at what happened in the intervening quarter of a century.

In the UK, not a lot has changed. Cars are taxed about three times the cost of road provision. HGVs are at about parity. Cars do more to the gallon, and don't rust away, so have longer lives. Public transport in cities has a higher utilisation rate, so is cheaper, and is heavily subsidised.

Policy decisions don't always lead where they're supposed to. Junction 34 of the M6 was remodelled as part of a by-pass scheme for Lancaster. They incorporated a park and ride scheme, from the junction to the city centre. People mainly use the 'park' bit, and meet friends or work colleagues for car-sharing trips to the Lakes and beyond. That's a positive, but not the planning intention, so no-one is going to trumpet it as a success. The negative aspect is the empty shuttle bus between Jct 34 and Lancaster.

Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2019, 10:40:32 am »
I've thought you will never get rid of the problem of car dependency while the car industry is allowed to flourish.

Interesting parallel between the problem of car-centric society, and the news that William Hill have laid off loads of staff from bookmakers, which they blame on regulation reducing the max stake on FOBTs from something like £100 to £3.
They warned that people would be laid off, but the government did it anyway, possibly influenced by those that say although it is an industry providing jobs, it is a false industry if all it is doing is taking poor people's benefits off them.

Likewise you will never get rid of the problem of car obsession whilst you regard the car industry as a worthwhile provider of jobs.

To make more money, the industry has to produce a slightly bigger/nicer-looking/more gadget-laden car in order to be able to charge more for it, so people can aspire to own it, and see its presence on their drive against the next man's as synonymous with progression through life and general success, and that's when it becomes a status symbol. The engine power thing is unnecessary on the public road and largely an arms race anyway - why do people like 3-litre 6-cylinder twin-turbo cars? To out-accelerate people with 2.5 litre 4 cylinder single turbo cars.

Imho the solution is not to punish the public and ban them from using cars but to curb the ridiculous excesses the industry has swollen to in its obsession with bigger and better cars, heavily tax the industry for any slight deviation from the notion that the private car is simply a utility item to get from A-B.  e.g. any engine size over 2L? massive tax. Wider than x.x metres? Large tax proportional to the exponent of the increase in width over x.xm.
I'm not sure how, but I would also like to heavily tax engine designs that are proprietary or prohibitively difficult to change a simple part, or that rely on proprietary software to fix problems. That way, all the redundant people laid off from car plants could be re employed as mechanics to fix existing cars rather than beavering away building new ones for people to discard after 5 years because they have developed a fault that is 'more than the car's worth' to fix.

I would also increase the speed limit for the power on EAPCs from 15mph to 30mph and, in cases where it would get enough use and there is not already a big enough cycle lane/shoulder, give over the left lane of any dual carriageways and motorways to them - that would increase their usability for inter-city trips.
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Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2019, 02:15:17 pm »
In Paris what the mayor did was to make one of the major roads one-way, then build a beach on the other half of the road for pedestrians.  When Birmingham installed the tram they closed off a major road through the city centre.

To be fair to Birmingham, I'm reasonably sure that was an accident.  They've been consistently making the city centre increasingly impenetrable to cyclists and pedestrians with the tram and other works.

While they seem to have worked out how to build decent cycle infrastructure, the recent cycleways have been built without removing any general traffic lane capacity.  The car is still king.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2019, 02:24:45 pm »
I would also increase the speed limit for the power on EAPCs from 15mph to 30mph and, in cases where it would get enough use and there is not already a big enough cycle lane/shoulder, give over the left lane of any dual carriageways and motorways to them - that would increase their usability for inter-city trips.

I agree that e-bikes are a potential solution to a lot of motor journeys.  I'm not sure the speed limiting is really the problem, so much as the up-front cost, and the usual scariness of cycling in traffic (which admittedly, a bit more speed would help with).  The UK has been reducing motorcyclist KSIs by legislating motorcycles off the road for decades, so encouraging an affordable class of 30mph electric motorcycle/moped (which is probably a better way to do it than messing with the EU-wide pedalec classification[1]) would be a significant U-turn.

If we're subsidising electric cars, we should certainly be subsidising electric bicycles.


[1] This is important because it's what manufacturers are going to build e-bikes for.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2019, 02:51:54 pm »
Building cycle lanes would seem to be effective:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/cycle-lane-breathes-new-life-into-toxic-city-street-nzc93rkcd

(paywall, but the gist is in the bit you can read)

Lord Winston please read and take note.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2019, 02:56:24 pm »
Electric bicycles probably also need good theft protection if they are to be ubiquitous
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LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2019, 03:06:02 pm »
Places like Switzerland and the USA have legal faster e-bikes. It is possible to have two legal e-bike categories in one country, like Switzerland does.
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2019, 03:16:43 pm »
I'm not sure that making ebikes as fast as mbikes and cars then cramming them all into one little painted strip is going to be conducive to increasing numbers of pbikes. But turning one lane of dual carriageways into cyclelane is exactly the kind of thing that should be done.
A cup of tea is the perfect bridge between real life and cake.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2019, 03:35:26 pm »
I'm not convinced e-bikes are game changers – they're facilitators, but all other things unchanged, I can't see much change. Also faster e-bikes just assume we keep the same model of sprawl that cars enabled. Perhaps we should prioritize localism – the ability to walk and cycle to local shops rather than out-of-town developments. You want a revitalized high street, get people walking there and get rid of the traffic. Walking and cycling should be logical and easy choice. Instead we make them the most difficult, while keeping the car crowned as the king of convenience (at everyone's expense).

I get to glance out at the segregated cycle lane on Blackfriars Road in this London – it's already a lot more diverse than painted cycle lanes. I just watched a family cycle by. I doubt you'd have seen that on the old Blackfriars Road.
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bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2019, 03:49:46 pm »
Ebikes definitely have a great role as a car substitute. I can do a bit of grocery shopping with my courier rucksack but there's no denying that won't appeal to Mr and Mrs UK. By contrast a pedelec can easily haul a week's groceries using panniers. Also, because you aren't working nearly so hard you can really layer up with foul weather kit on a pedelec without sweating like mad.
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ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2019, 04:37:01 pm »
The problem is that if people already have a car and it's convenient to use, few people are going to spend a considerable amount more on an e-bike, particularly if they don't feel safe riding on it in traffic, and there's nowhere secure at the destination to park it.
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Jaded

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Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2019, 05:33:02 pm »
Was at a meeting this week where we were being exhorted to declare a climate emergency. During the discussion about what can be done I mentioned I’d walked to the meeting and asked the throng who else had. Cue embarrassed faces.

Reducing cars and traffic is something other people do.
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2019, 07:21:04 pm »
I know quite a few people who could easily afford a car but don't have one for various reasons. And I'm not thinking of cyclists. But that's just the type of people I know... Probably only one of them is carless out of greenery, for the others it's lack of incentive to have one.
A cup of tea is the perfect bridge between real life and cake.

Re: Electric cars won't save the planet article on BBC
« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2019, 08:27:08 pm »
The problem is that if people already have a car and it's convenient to use, few people are going to spend a considerable amount more on an e-bike, particularly if they don't feel safe riding on it in traffic, and there's nowhere secure at the destination to park it.
I would if it could go 30mph.
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.