“Greenness,” Getting Caught, and How Can I Break It?
I recently predicted that the sales of electric cars, which has been dropping since the start of 2018, would go into free fall in the second quarter of the year when the government withdrew its $7,000 per new car incentive. I haven’t seen any figures since to say what has happened but a report in the Times isn’t going to help.
Engaged Tracking is a London-based company that analyses the “greenness” of firms for potential investors. Its latest report states that the annual average CO2 emission of a car in the UK is 1.5 tons. I suspect that the figure for the U.S. is rather higher. According to Engaged Tracking, a “green” Tesla S with the same mileage produces just as much CO2, taking account of the emissions from the power stations that actually power the TESLA. Add to this the work from Edinburgh university, that shows that like-for-like, EVs produce more particulates than ICE vehicles, then anyone who wants to save the planet should steer well clear of the sparky cars.
Never ones to let facts get in the way of a good soundbite, the leaders of Britain’s 14 most polluted cities have met with the government to say that the planned ban on new diesel cars starting in 2040 should be brought in by 2030. Here’s a suggestion. It’s just remotely possible that between now and 2040, the guys at Volkswagen, Toyota and GM might just develop the diesel engine a little. So why not give them a target (not amenable to cheating, once bitten, twice shy)? If they get there, fine, if not, no loss. Apart from dogma, why wouldn’t you want to use a super clean car if it can be made?
I love the fly on the wall programs where a camera crew rides along in a cop car and gets real-time footage of bad people doing stupid things. You know the scenario; Mr X is driving a van that could do 80 mph 10 years ago and tries to out-run cops driving 150 mph pursuit cars. Why? Because he doesn’t have a license, or insurance and he’s drunk. And when they catch him, not only will they lock him up, they will subject him to hours of humiliating sarcasm that all UK traffic cops are specially trained to deliver.
Increasingly, people are fitting cameras and recording systems in their own cars, principally as a defense in the case of an accident. The police have seen an opportunity here and forces are setting up web pages where drivers can upload videos when they think that an offense has been committed. If the constabulary are convinced, they take action ranging from a stern letter, to one driver who got eight months jailtime when he overtook on a blind bend and forced another driver into a ditch.
My long-departed father, the ultimate pragmatist, told me that “it’s not against the law to speed, it is against the law to be caught”. Not sure about that, but with reducing police numbers we have fewer traffic cops now than in the 1930s. The growing number of such cameras will mean that dangerous drivers are more likely to be caught and our roads, which are already amongst the safest in the world, will be just that little bit safer. I have the camera; now I wonder where I can get the blue light….
Even more surprisingly, the Department of Transport has reacted to the changes in technology that seem to be arriving at an ever-increasing rate. From June, self-parking cars will be legal to use on the road. Drivers, who were previously banned from using hand held devices while driving can use a remote-control device whilst in the car, or within six meters thereof.
Meanwhile, for those in London who want to park the old-fashioned way, a realtor is offering five spaces in in Knightsbridge in the heart of London. Each space will cost you around $270,000 but you can save on the tube fare when you go to Harrods!
Meanwhile, the seemingly never-ending saga of the project that I am working on in the Middle East rolls on. To quote your president, this is soo big, a multi-billion dollar 30- year concession, with more in the pipeline. I don’t get why noone from your side of the pond is here? However, this does seem to be particularly troublesome.
The due date was March 4th but there have been so many questions, queries and, frankly, blank incomprehension about some of the “clarifications” issued by the powers that be, that the due date has slipped by some five months, more than the original response timescale. It doesn’t help that, having decided “A”, they send out a follow up days later confirming that “Not A” is the way to go! I am always nervous when government agencies use consultants to manage procurement, but I think they need help.
How Can I Break It?
I am an unashamed luddite. My stock response to any new product is to find out how much it is over-hyped, why it won’t actually do what is claimed, and how can I break it. Sadly, historically, I have been right more often than I have been wrong. Therefore, two items caught my eye as they seem to point to diametrically opposed views of the future. Doncaster is in the middle of England and it has just announced that in two of its car parks customers will only be able to pay via a phone app.
Now this is not as a result of a carefully structured market research exercise which showed that this was the method of choice by a majority of customers. It’s a knee jerk response to a crime problem where the council was losing about $500 a day from thefts and damage. There seems to be no clarity about the lawfulness of operating a public service where the public can’t use legal tender, coins to you and me, but, in Doncaster at least it seems that, if you want to use a car, you must own a phone!
At the other end of the telescope, the fair city of Aberdeen has decided to stop accepting credit cards after a change in the rules required a $70,000 plus upgrade to the machines and the city decided it just wasn’t worth it. Interestingly, Aberdeen and Doncaster use the same pay-by-phone app but, unlike Doncaster, Aberdeen took the view that cash remained king.