Report accuses government of lacking strategy for low-carbon cars
26 May 2009

The government is failing to tackle vehicle emissions and is trailing behind much of Europe on green thinking, claims a new report. It also criticises ministers for not producing a clear strategy for low-carbon transport.

The study “Low Carbon Vehicles: Driving the UK’s Transport Revolution”, from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, claims that the government’s electric car plan is short-sighted and that a range of other beneficial technologies are being ignored.

The report’s author, Richard Folkson, said the government’s focus on electric cars forced the IMechE to act.

“The government is backing a winner when we don’t know what the winner is,” he told Autocar.

“Now the public thinks that if you buy an electric car you are going to save the planet, and that is misleading.”

UK's electric car 'revolution'

He said that without urgent action, a UK pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050 will be missed by a “significant margin”.

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Folkson’s report recommends continuing development of hybrid, fuel cell and hydrogen propulsion, as well as advanced petrol and diesel engines.

The government’s much-vaunted £250 million “electric car revolution”, announced last month, offers incentives for motorists to buy electric vehicles.

And London mayor Boris Johnson recently claimed that he wants to make his city the “electric car capital of Europe”.

But the IMechE report paints a different picture, claiming the electric project has been “talk so far with no formal strategy”, and funding for new projects falls “well short” of what is needed.

With the right support, the institution claims, CO2 emissions for vehicles will drop to 30g/km by 2050 — a figure it wants to replace the current target of 95g/km by 2020.

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