In the last blog, I speculated on the likely response of SUV-hating activists when faced with a hybrid Range Rover made from recycled drinks cans. But this is already becoming a real issue for the car industry.
Interviewing Henrik Fisker in 2011 about the new Surf, he told me he’d run into problems with a Scandinavian politicians who were not happy with the idea of large, heavy, executive car that could spend all day driving around a capital city on zero-emission electric power.
A car like the Surf was not what they had in mind when building a greener future. Displays of conspicuous consumption are not popular in Scandinavia, nor with many European politicians. The political classes have got used to kicking a slow-moving auto industry, but they are increasingly being blindsided.
Shortly after former London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s suggested charging cars emitting over 225g/km of Co2 be charged £25 per day to drive in central London, Porsche launched an entry-level 911 that emitted 224g/km.
Today, luxury carmakers are rapidly bringing plug-in hybrid drivetrains (or range-extenders, like Fisker’s Karma and Surf) to market, because the battery packs are big enough for a day’s urban driving. Indeed, a recent report from the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board confirms these driving habits for most motorists.