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wornish
13th February 2019, 10:30 PM
The global car industry has been found complacent and many governments have not helped with their ill thought through legislative changes.

Electric cars just don't work for people who live outside a city and have to do long journeys. Just look at what's happening in France.

The future is going to be different. Hydrogen Cell - maybe, or what?

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/02/carmageddon-the-future-is-catching-up-with-the-motor-giants/

MJ224
13th February 2019, 10:46 PM
Good article and a summation of the present situation. As an electric car driver/owner, I know they are not the answer to all motoring requirements, but certainly suit me with my retired lifestyle. A step away from the ICE......*chr

Naughty Nigel
14th February 2019, 09:21 AM
Thanks for that link to an interesting article.

The private motor car has brought tremendous freedoms, but like aeroplanes and smartphones life was a lot better when not everyone was using them all the time. Cars have also brought social isolation; perhaps not on the same scale as smartphones, but they have changed the way that we interact with one another.

Electric cars probably suit most people for most of the time. We tend to think of family holidays and other long journeys, but the reality is that 99% of car journeys could easily be completed on less than a full charge. However, I remain far from convinced that electric cars are sustainable in the longer term when 'everyone' is driving them.

The electricity has to come from somewhere and the battery production process is far from eco-friendly. There are also significant losses in electricity generation, transmission and battery charging which make electric cars rather less attractive than they seem. Added to which, heating, lighting and air conditioning all reduce battery range, whereas these are effectively 'free' in ICE cars.

I believe electric cars are still exempt from Road Fund Tax, and of course there is no Road Fuel Duty on electricity, but surely that will end when the number of electric cars on our roads exceeds the critical mass? It would be almost impossible to tax electricity for road use so some form of road charging seems inevitable at some point.

I believe it was wrong of government to announce that ICE cars will no longer be sold after 2040 just as it was wrong of Gordon Brown to incentivise the use of diesel cars 'to save the planet'. I presume
government ministers had also overlooked valuable export markets such as Australia and the USA where electric cars are less likely to suit travel needs. It was also wrong of governments in the 1960's to decimate our public transport network and we are still living with the consequences of those decisions.

Unfortunately 20th century man has a short and undistinguished history of making pollution cleaner and less obvious, all leading us to present day worries about respiratory health, environmental pollution and global warming. Creating 'even more' pollution at a power station 100 miles away and in lithium mines on the other side of the planet might reduce one problem but it won't solve the others.

Rather than making cars 'cleaner' it would be much better, in my view, if we could find ways of using them a lot less. After all, do we really need to make a 50 mile journey to an office or call centre every day when we could do the same job at home in this connected age? Better public transport would also help. That way those who really do need to travel could do so much more efficiently on much less congested roads.

Zuiko
14th February 2019, 10:01 AM
Thanks for that link to an interesting article.

The private motor car has brought tremendous freedoms, but like aeroplanes and smartphones life was a lot better when not everyone was using them all the time. Cars have also brought social isolation; perhaps not on the same scale as smartphones, but they have changed the way that we interact with one another.

Electric cars probably suit most people for most of the time. We tend to think of family holidays and other long journeys, but the reality is that 99% of car journeys could easily be completed on less than a full charge. However, I remain far from convinced that electric cars are sustainable in the longer term when 'everyone' is driving them.

The electricity has to come from somewhere and the battery production process is far from eco-friendly. There are also significant losses in electricity generation, transmission and battery charging which make electric cars rather less attractive than they seem. Added to which, heating, lighting and air conditioning all reduce battery range, whereas these are effectively 'free' in ICE cars.

I believe electric cars are still exempt from Road Fund Tax, and of course there is no Road Fuel Duty on electricity, but surely that will end when the number of electric cars on our roads exceeds the critical mass? It would be almost impossible to tax electricity for road use so some form of road charging seems inevitable at some point.

I believe it was wrong of government to announce that ICE cars will no longer be sold after 2040 just as it was wrong of Gordon Brown to incentivise the use of diesel cars 'to save the planet'. I presume
government ministers had also overlooked valuable export markets such as Australia and the USA where electric cars are less likely to suit travel needs. It was also wrong of governments in the 1960's to decimate our public transport network and we are still living with the consequences of those decisions.

Unfortunately 20th century man has a short and undistinguished history of making pollution cleaner and less obvious, all leading us to present day worries about respiratory health, environmental pollution and global warming. Creating 'even more' pollution at a power station 100 miles away and in lithium mines on the other side of the planet might reduce one problem but it won't solve the others.

Rather than making cars 'cleaner' it would be much better, in my view, if we could find ways of using them a lot less. After all, do we really need to make a 50 mile journey to an office or call centre every day when we could do the same job at home in this connected age? Better public transport would also help. That way those who really do need to travel could do so much more efficiently on much less congested roads.

I wish you were the Minister for Transport! *chr

wornish
14th February 2019, 10:12 AM
If we invested in our internet infrastructure to get speeds of say 50Mb download / 10Mb upload to 95% of households then many jobs could be done from home, not just call centers. The current target is I think a min of 2MB download to 98% of households is just not good enough.

Public transport outside of any city is a real challenge for working people, simply taxing cars without providing any alternative is not the way forward.

Naughty Nigel
14th February 2019, 10:26 AM
Public transport outside of any city is a real challenge for working people, simply taxing cars without providing any alternative is not the way forward.

From my own experience public transport in the UK is ages behind most of mainland Europe where it is a way of everyday life. More importantly public transport isn't seen as a legacy from the past but as 'how we do things today'. Oddly enough, modern 'apps' like Google Maps make public transport far more useful and accessible than it has ever been, if only the transport was there when we needed it.

Many of our local councils also seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that closing car parks and painting yellow lines everywhere will 'encourage' (or force) drivers to use public transport. In reality it has helped to kill our High Streets.

I seem to remember hearing somewhere that the UK has the highest percentage of online sales (Vs the High Street) of any country in Europe, and possibly beyond. I cannot help but wonder what part our local councils have played in that?

Naughty Nigel
14th February 2019, 10:39 AM
I wish you were the Minister for Transport! *chr

Politics is a thankless task nowadays but I wouldn't mind giving it a go. I don't know whether having an active interest in transport would qualify anyone for the post of Transport Minister though as we have had at least one (Barbara Castle) who didn't drive, and of course Gordon Brown didn't drive either. :rolleyes:

Then we had the real villain, Earnest Marples, who made his fortune from road building and oversaw the Beeching cuts. Harold Wilson, being a 'moderniser' finished the job off for him.

We have a real need for long-term, strategic joined-up thinking about transport in this country without political bias towards the unions or big business; but I somehow doubt that we will ever get it. :)

TimP
14th February 2019, 12:42 PM
If we invested in our internet infrastructure to get speeds of say 50Mb download / 10Mb upload to 95% of households then many jobs could be done from home, not just call centers.

That’s always touted as a goal but surely it just increases the social isolation, plus you’re going to have people who take the wee and see it as an excuse to do nothing all day. It’s very difficult to manage and you’ve got to have a lot of trust in your team. Loneliness can become a problem, plus there’s that loss of cameraderie (sp?). It’s gonna suit some people more than others and risks storing up problems for the future. Finally there will be issues around H&S where people will expect ‘work’ to provide them with a safe and comfortable working environment at home. It’s not as straightforward as it first sounds.

TimP
14th February 2019, 12:49 PM
Many of our local councils also seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that closing car parks and painting yellow lines everywhere will 'encourage' (or force) drivers to use public transport. In reality it has helped to kill our High Streets.


I’m not sure if it’s still a thing but a few years ago the various Planning departments were actively stopping new developments or redevelopments from having the same number of parking spaces as properties, let alone more or spares for visitors. Encouraging drivers to use public transport usually fails at the first hurdle simply because there is no usable public transport in smaller towns or rural areas. If you want to encourage the use of the high street then you need cheap or better still free parking and you need to price the business rates at a level that means the businesses can actually make a profit and remain on the high street. We’ve seen many new businesses start up and benefit from a special rate in those early days only to be driven away when the rates rise (yes, they would have known but give them credit for giving it a try!)

Basically the country is Donald Ducked.

wornish
14th February 2019, 12:51 PM
That’s always touted as a goal but surely it just increases the social isolation, plus you’re going to have people who take the wee and see it as an excuse to do nothing all day. It’s very difficult to manage and you’ve got to have a lot of trust in your team. Loneliness can become a problem, plus there’s that loss of cameraderie (sp?). It’s gonna suit some people more than others and risks storing up problems for the future. Finally there will be issues around H&S where people will expect ‘work’ to provide them with a safe and comfortable working environment at home. It’s not as straightforward as it first sounds.

I agree it's not easy. For the last ten years of my working life, I worked from home and managed a team of people spread all over the world. This was before Facetime so everything was done via conference calls. The challenge of isolation is the tough one to fix. As for trusting the people to actually do some work that was never an issue surprisingly, in fact, they probably spent more hours working than the did if they traveled to an office.

The alternative answer that we all should live in a cities and commute to a job also has its challenges.

TimP
14th February 2019, 12:59 PM
I agree it's not easy. For the last ten years of my working life, I worked from home and managed a team of people spread all over the world. This was before Facetime so everything was done via conference calls. The challenge of isolation is the tough one to fix. As for trusting the people to actually do some work that was never an issue surprisingly, in fact, they probably spent more hours working than the did if they traveled to an office.

The alternative answer that we all should live in a cities and commute to a job also has its challenges.

The trust thing probably affects people trying to manage lower grade workers. I’ve managed people who were always ‘busy’, were praised by the people they did work for, yet were actually much less effective than others who ‘just got on with it’. If they spent less time moaning about how busy they were and actually tackling the job then it would all have been so much better. So some people can benefit themselves and the ‘company’ while others less so!

Naughty Nigel
14th February 2019, 02:10 PM
I totally agree about the social isolation. I work from home. I don't miss the office politics but I do miss working in a large organisation and the support that it gives. But is commuting to work every day any more sustainable?


There was a time when the majority of people lived within walking or cycling distance from their work but a variety of factors have led to workers living much further away; in some cases more than 100 miles.

TimP
14th February 2019, 02:29 PM
I totally agree about the social isolation. I work from home. I don't miss the office politics but I do miss working in a large organisation and the support that it gives. But is commuting to work every day any more sustainable?


There was a time when the majority of people lived within walking or cycling distance from their work but a variety of factors have led to workers living much further away; in some cases more than 100 miles.

When I retired I definitely missed the hustle and bustle of a busy ICT dept, the banter, black humour and general friendship. Working from home and being virtually part time has helped me adjust but I still miss it. I think commuting should be fine, providing it’s not a ridiculous distance, which for some obviously it is. I had a 30 mile commute but it was an easy drive with very little, if any, traffic. I’d hate to lose my freedom without a car but it’s only a matter of time for me anyway. Hopefully by then the public transport issue will have been dealt with and we’ll be able to get anywhere within reason for tuppence!

Naughty Nigel
14th February 2019, 07:25 PM
Hopefully by then the public transport issue will have been dealt with and we’ll be able to get anywhere within reason for tuppence!

Oh aye! I remember when North Sea Gas was going to be 'almost free' once the rigs and pipework had been paid for. :rolleyes:

TimP
14th February 2019, 07:28 PM
Oh aye! I remember when North Sea Gas was going to be 'almost free' once the rigs and pipework had been paid for. :rolleyes:

And the general public lap this stuff up and believe every word of it!

Naughty Nigel
14th February 2019, 09:43 PM
And the general public lap this stuff up and believe every word of it!

Well I don't suppose we had much say in the matter.

Up until that time there had been gasworks in almost every town in the country; sometimes two or three, presumably employing large numbers of people. The gasworks also provided a number of vital raw materials for industry including xylene, toluene and Barytes (barium sulphate) for paint making, benzene for plastics and road fuels, coal tar, creosote, fertilizers and even salicylic acid used to make Aspirin.

However, I daresay the air in our towns was much cleaner as a result.

Otto
14th February 2019, 09:58 PM
Oh aye! I remember when North Sea Gas was going to be 'almost free' once the rigs and pipework had been paid for. :rolleyes:


And nuclear power was going to provide electricity too cheap to meter!

DerekW
14th February 2019, 11:17 PM
The local gasworks was where the doting paresnts took their kids to breath in the cleansing air if the kids had chest infections. We lived a couple of streets from the local gasworks and alongside the Smiths Crisps factory - so lots of aromas.

Naughty Nigel
14th February 2019, 11:59 PM
The local gasworks was where the doting paresnts took their kids to breath in the cleansing air if the kids had chest infections.

That is true. Nothing like the whiff of Benzine for clearing the lungs.

Then there were coal tar and carbolic soaps.

TimP
15th February 2019, 11:42 AM
That is true. Nothing like the whiff of Benzine for clearing the lungs.

Then there were coal tar and carbolic soaps.

I was brought up on Wright’s Coal Tar soap (no food in them days) and used to think it strange my grandmother used Lifebouy soap and that it felt a bit luxurious compared.

OM USer
15th February 2019, 12:26 PM
And nuclear power was going to provide electricity too cheap to meter!

I remember this foretelling on Tomorrows World in the 70's. Which bit of the cost equation did they get wrong?

TimP
15th February 2019, 12:32 PM
I remember this foretelling on Tomorrows World in the 70's. Which bit of the cost equation did they get wrong?

The bit where they realised they wouldn’t make huge amounts of money from it if it was so cheap.

Naughty Nigel
15th February 2019, 03:18 PM
Oh aye! I remember when North Sea Gas was going to be 'almost free' once the rigs and pipework had been paid for. :rolleyes:

And nuclear power was going to provide electricity too cheap to meter!

Thinking back to the 1960's and 1970's these 'promises' may well have been well meant. Gas and electricity were still state owned and it really didn't matter whether they made a profit or not. From what I remember the CEGB was making massive losses in those days, as were the local water boards; which is why they never had any money to invest in improvements.

I think in those days the main motivation was to provide gainful employment, which was seen as an honourable thing. The profit motive didn't really came in to it in the way that it does now. If you think of the manpower that must have been involved in running gasworks, coal mines and the railways it gives some idea of how work patterns have changed, and how much they would cost to run now if big changes hadn't happened in the 1970's and 80's. .

Even the motor manufacturers were happy to make a loss on premium models because they knew it helped to sell the lower priced models to the mass market. Remember the Austin Princess range, one of which (the Vanden Plas I think) had a Rolls Royce engine? Then there was the Ford Granada, the Vauxhall Carlton and Omega, all of which were built in much smaller numbers for those at the bottom of the market to aspire to. I guess this was a case of looking at the bigger scheme of things.

Government might also have taken the view that providing cheap energy was a good thing, and that there was nothing wrong with working people being able to afford bus and train fares.

I wonder where we would be now if our gas and nuclear electricity was almost free, and if rail and bus fares were cheap?

More to the point, where did it all go wrong if it went wrong at all?

MJ224
15th February 2019, 04:05 PM
I wonder where we would be now if our gas and nuclear electricity was almost free, and if rail and bus fares were cheap?

More to the point, where did it all go wrong if it went wrong at all?

Of course FREE just means someone else pays, or taxes are higher...….:o

Otto
15th February 2019, 04:35 PM
I had a feeling the Rolls engine in the Princess 4-litre R was originally developed for the military vehicles that Austin made during WW2 although Wiki makes no mention of that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanden_Plas_Princess

Naughty Nigel
15th February 2019, 05:52 PM
Of course FREE just means someone else pays, or taxes are higher...….:o

Yes indeed, but of course wages were very much lower then, so perhaps the politicians thought it was better pay men (and it was mainly men) for doing something worthwhile rather than claiming unemployment benefit for doing nothing at all?

Attitudes were so different then that it is sometimes difficult to remember how things did actually work.

Keith-369
15th February 2019, 06:26 PM
I do wonder, though, about charges like bus fares. At present they are ridiculously high, mainly because each time they put up the fares less people use them and so the cycle turns.

If they charged a flat, reasonable, fare as they do in some countries, and you could go as far (on not) as you want on that bus then maybe people would start to use them again. In all fairness, that bus is going from A to B regardless of whether anyone is on it or not so keep the fairs low and get more bums on seats.

The practice of trying to solve problems by charging more and more can very often be counterproductive and result in services lost rather than gains in profits.

Just MHO of course :)