Currently reading: New report questions government's 2030 ban
With backing from manufacturers, the document proposes different methods to ensure transport becomes carbon-neutral
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3 mins read
27 November 2020

A new report commissioned by a number of car firms has questioned the UK government’s decision to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, calling for a broader approach to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Commissioned by manufacturers as diverse as Honda, McLaren and Bosch, ‘Decarbonising Road Transport: There is no silver bullet 2020’ contains a number of recommendations, from decarbonising the legacy fleet to greater transparency on the part of OEMs with regard to their whole vehicle CO2 output.

It stresses that a one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to work. With 40 million vehicles on the road at an average age of 8.3 years, it flags up a concern that the emissions from the UK’s huge legacy fleet will need to be addressed in order to achieve net zero by 2050.

While it acknowledges that tailpipe emissions are part of the problem, the report's authors from Decarbonising Road Transport suggest that the government should focus on the wider aspect of ‘well to wheel’ in order to deliver a zero carbon transport network. It states that recent research shows that the process of manufacturing electric cars produces 63% more CO2 emissions than a petrol or diesel equivalent.

Polestar and Volkswagen come in for praise for their recent honesty. Both firms have published figures as to how much carbon is generated in the process of building their electric cars and then how much is saved by driving them. In the case of the Polestar 2, depending on energy mix it could need to drive for over 48,000 miles before its carbon footprint dropped below that of a Volvo XC40. 

That figure has been questioned by some, with analysis by EV advocate Auke Hoekstra putting the 'crossover' point at which an electric vehicle's carbon footprint drops below a regular one as low as 20,000 miles. The broad range of estimates is based, in part, on assumptions about the carbon used both in vehicle and energy production.

Decarbonising Road Transport is calling for all manufacturers to follow the lead of Polestar in releasing details of crabon created in their vehicle production. “We need to do more than just electrify the fleet,” said Andy Eastlake, managing director of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership. “We are still selling diesel and petrol cars, the engines of which could play out until 2050, so we have to look at decarbonising fuel.”

Synthetic fuels and hydrogen feature as potential solutions, especially when it comes to both the legacy fleet and also HGVs. The latter has grown by 12.6% over the past year and, while the latest Euro 6 diesel engines emit 95% less NOx than a Euro 5 equivalent, the weight of batteries means electric lorries aren’t a practical solution as current technology stands.

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The report also suggests that synthetic fuels offer a solution for the comparatively small number of sports cars, something that companies such as Porsche are already investing heavily in.

The overarching theme is that industry should be allowed to take the lead with support from the government, allowing countries’ innovators to design and develop the way to a cleaner future for transport. The report calls this a “technology-neutral approach”. Because no one size fits all with regards to transport, it believes the government shouldn’t be focused on a single solution to the problem. Matt Western, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Motor Group and one of the contributors to the report, said: “The UK is home to some incredibly innovative companies and research institutions. We should foster their creativity by taking a technology-neutral approach to our emissions-reduction ambitions, allowing the industry to do what it does best: innovate.”

Updated: Although the report mentions Aston Martin as being involved with the publication, senior figures at Aston have indicated it does not represent the company's policy. Aston's chairman, Lawrence Stroll, told Autocar that: "I was shocked by the report. I don’t know the individual who wrote it. We support EV. It was an employee I was unaware of until I read this report. I was shocked." CEO Tobias Moers has also issued an equally strong statement.

READ MORE

Official: Government to ban new petrol and diesel car sales in 2030​

Analysis: Polestar lifts the lid on lifetime EV emissions

Analysis: How car production will become CO2-neutral​

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Strider 30 November 2020

Do try to not be so wildely inacurate. They are not banning petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 - you are delivering the PR guff that BoJo wants you to make credible for him - they are banning petrol and diesl cars that can't drive an as yet to be determined distance on electric power only. That means that we'll be able to buy new petrol and diesel cars until 2035, not 2030. They may not even be full hybrids. With mild hybrid 48V systems currently in development, if the electric drive range isn't too ambitious, they might be just regular electrifies petrol or diesel powertrains. At worst, they'll be plug-in hybrids, which we all know are more than capable of being driven purely on petrol or diesel and never plugged in. So, why do you keep saying the Government will 'ban petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030'? And that's without discussing why you say 'vehicles' - also deeply misleading as most vehicle classes aren't even mentioned in the plan.

RobNeill 29 November 2020

Multiple Governments over the years have shown themselves to be incapable of making good choices on technology. Their role should be to establish clearly articulated objectives but not how these objectives should be achieved. By specifying electric vehicles as the sole technology allowed to achieve CO2 reduction objectives is risking UK Manufacturing on the whims of what is essentially a tax avoidance measure. And worse, one that fails to take into account the complexity of the myriad of options available to suit multifarious transport needs therby reducing the UK's ability to innovate and compete with the World. 

HiPo 289 27 November 2020

A report from outmoded manufacturers trying to protect their fossilised business model  Most people will take this report with a pinch of salt thanks Autocar.  It's a bit like tobacco companies trying to say that their cigarettes aren't bad for you.  Of course there is an environmental cost to any manufacturing process, but there is a bigger cost with digging up, transporting, refining and burning fossil fuels than there is with using electricity.  Also you can recycle a battery, but you can't recycle diesel!  You can only burn it and create a foul smell once. No amount of bleating by incumbent industries is going to change any of this.  Mclaren would be better off developing an answer to the next Tesla Roadster instead of publishing pointless reports.  They are walking backwards into the future.