Government-sponsored report forecasts that 2040 target will only be met if charging infrastructure improves and acquisition costs come down

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will dominate UK roads after 2040, but only if charging infrastructure improves and acquisition costs are reduced, according to a Government-sponsored report on clean-engine technology.

The Roadmap Towards 2040 report by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) predicts that BEVs will “start to replace conventional propulsion systems in the next five to 10 years”.

“But this depends on the availability of a sufficient charging network,” the document suggests. It also highlights high acquisition costs and limited range — well-known drawbacks of BEVs — as “significant barriers to mass adoption”.

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The report forecasts that BEVs will evolve over the next decade from "general purpose” to include models with variable battery capacities to suit short, medium or long-distance usage. However, there's “some uncertainty” around when the technology will evolve and could happen during 2027–2029.

Combustion-engined cars — what the report calls TPS, or thermal propulsion systems — will still have a future by 2040. A new generation of high-efficiency engines with advanced valve control and more precise injection and breathing will bring efficiency boosts.

Controversially, the report doesn’t mention diesel for passenger cars, limiting its discussion for commercial vehicles. “There’s not really an alternative for heavy duty vehicles carrying big loads over long distances,” says Jon Beasley, the APC’s director of technology and one of the report’s authors.

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For cars, the combustion engine is ultimately predicted to become part of a high-efficiency “hybrid-focused TPS”, says the report — a trend forecast to start from 2027-2028.

Intriguingly, the report casts doubt on the long-term future of hybrids: “It is possible that mild and full hybrid architectures will eventually phase out as they do not offer consumers sufficient zero-tailpipe emissions.” To last beyond 2040, the battery capacity of hybrids will have to be beefed up considerably to access urban zero-tailpipe emissions zones, the report suggests.

The APC is a 10-year joint venture between the Government and the automotive industry. Its funding to the tune of £1 billion is allocated to multiple projects to ease the introduction of decarbonised technology to all forms of transport.

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5 July 2018

I can't help thinking that our government is approaching the pollution problem from the wrong end. Why not address the root cause, which is excessive city congestion allied with too many older heavily polluting vehicles which need to be got rid of. Not forgetting of course there are plenty of other sources of air pollution that have no restriction. 

Incentivising small numbers of zero emission vehicles (which are probably purchased by the rich as additional vehicles) isn't achieving much - and setting targets for 2040 isn't addressing the issue right now. 

5 July 2018
LP in Brighton wrote:

I can't help thinking that our government is approaching the pollution problem from the wrong end. Why not address the root cause, which is excessive city congestion allied with too many older heavily polluting vehicles which need to be got rid of. Not forgetting of course there are plenty of other sources of air pollution that have no restriction. 

Incentivising small numbers of zero emission vehicles (which are probably purchased by the rich as additional vehicles) isn't achieving much - and setting targets for 2040 isn't addressing the issue right now. 

Getting rid of older vehicles before the end of their service life (which in this day and age is at least 200,00 miles for cars, much more for commercials) is NOT the answer, this will create MORE pollution as new vehicles will have to be built to replace them, doing so is a ruse to stimulate the economy/new sales figures and NOTHING else. The anwer is to properly service older vehicles and introduce a scheme for retro fitting ALL older vehicles with emissions equipment - theres already a device on sale that massively reduces emissions for both petrols and diesels using hydrogen, for approx £450 for cars and similar devices for larger vehicles, DPFs (ideally ones that require emptying, NOT self regenerating ones - they just move the pollution elsewhere) are widely available for retro fitting too and have been for 10 years plus.

XXXX just went POP.

5 July 2018

But that is too much of a common sense move for this government who seem to thrive off confusing the population. As the above guy mentioned its just a blatent money maker angled as a move for a greener planet and breathable air. It seems like they are just making up the rules as they go along and that doesn't help anybody. When are the rechargable roads coming? or the interchangable batteries at petrol stations. what about universal charging points instead of the incompatible rubbish that works for some and not others. Its basically a farce and like everything this government does it's half hearted and half baked, unless it involves taking your money then its thouroughly thought through.

Daz

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