Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD, wants to ban the sale of all new Diesel and Petrol cars from 2030. That means that within just 12 years from now the vast majority of vehicles on the Irish roads will have to be written off, scraped or exported. That’s roughly some 2 million vehicles if we take the 2014 CSO figure of all vehicles (cars and motorbikes) on the Irish roads.
Maybe this is looking at things far too broadly but that seems like a lot of vehicles to replace over a relatively short period of time. For starters I wonder will car manufacturers be able to keep up with demand especially in circumstances where Tesla, a market leader in this space, seem to have recently been struggling to meet supply demands in North America.
I can also confirm, from a source in the Northern California, that Model 3 orders, that were originally supposed to be fulfilled last November (2017), had become delayed until February of this year (2018) and have since been delayed again until May of this year (2018).
I’m all for the idea of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in principle. However, two big questions would keep me awake at night when it comes to this subject:
- How will this ambition impact road safety?
- What will be the environmental consequences of supplying and running EVs at such a massive scale?
Impact on road safety:
- I cycle a lot and I never feel safe on the Irish roads when cycling. In fact, I don’t feel particularly safe on the Irish roads full stop — irrespective of the size of vehicle that I am operating.
- Driver behaviour has really degenerated here in recent years to the point that it is virtually impossible to drive at the appropriate speed limit, on any road, without experiencing significant aggression from other road users eager to get places at fasters speeds.
- This issue is also most definitely further adversely effected by the size of vehicle one drives. Irish drivers seem to behave even more aggressively towards smaller vehicles and cyclalists. I’d absolutely love the idea of zipping around urban areas in an EV — imagine how handy a small EV could be to park?!
- Unfortunately, I really couldn’t face the prospect of being bullied by a much larger vehicle simply because I am driving an EV at the speed limit. This issue of driver attitudes will have to seriously considered before anyone even begins the process of introducing more EVs into the transportation.
- This issue becomes even more significant when one considers that the majority of affordable EVs currently available on the market appear to be both small in size as well as being significantly underpowered when compared to the average fossil fuel equivalent.
- The idea of not exploring for, processing and then burning fossil fuels to create energy sounds like a really great ideal to achieve. However, I do often wonder where all the magical electricity is going to come from to power all of these proposed EVs?!
- I’m also quite concerned about where all the extra electricity is going to come from to meet the power demands of what will likely be more than 2 million EVs in Ireland alone (assuming an approximate like for like replacement figure of all the vehicles currently on the Irish roads).
- Where are we going to mine all the extra carbon from, build more wind turbines, assuming that wind energy will become a vital part of the plan to meet this energy significantly extra energy requirement?
- What about all the Lithium and other precious minerals that will also have to be produced to supply all of the batteries (and invariably replacement batteries) for 2 million plus vehicles?
As I’ve stated already, I’m all for the idea of Electric Vehicle’s, I’d actually really love a Tesla Model 3 — they look great, inside and out, and they’re supposed to be a dream to drive! I just really hope that a lot of thought and careful consideration happens before a decision to ban all fossil fuel vehicles is made.
Reflecting holistically on all aspects of the EV production process as well as the related energy production ecosystem, I’m not at all convinced that EVs in their current format are necessarily as clean as they are being touted
For the reasons alluded to above I don’t accept that banning vehicles with combustion engines in favour of electric vehicles is the one and only option available to achieving dramatic environmental improvements either.
What is so wrong with a transitional process that could involve hybrid (petrol / electrical vehicles) and why isn’t there more talk about evaluating the merits of hydrogen as an efficient and very clean fuel source?
I wonder too what consideration, if any, has been given to our fleet of emergency vehicles? Good luck trying to get an EV up the side of an Irish Mountainside (even via road) during a bad Irish winter!
If the Government is so eager to identify and implement radical new approaches then maybe it should should start by thinking a lot harder about how Ireland can better accommodate people in the future (from a residential and commercial property perspective) with a view towards reducing the reliance that we currently have on energy hungry road vehicles in the first place!
What do you guys think? Would you drive an Electric Vehicle? Perhaps you are driving one already? Let me know in the comments or message me heredirectly!