I’m an unremitted petrol head. Why am I a petrol head? Because the vehicle manufacturers decided that oil was the answer to how to make each of us buy a motor vehicle. My family were deeply into the motor trade from the 1930’s. My father and his brother were both motor mechanics as were cousins and uncles. Oil flowed through our veins. I’m a result of bad parenting.
I grew up in a house which could tell you what car was driving past our house as we sat at the dinner table. I shifted to Christchurch because the vintage car club was founded here.
I’m having the greatest struggle giving up my addiction to cars. I’m waiting for somebody to form CA, “Car Anonymous”.
As I contemplate my addiction I often think about the choices made by car manufacturers in promoting petrol, and diesel, engines that it was a commercial one. Electric and steam cars were experimented with and abandoned. Because oil was so cheap.
It worries me, as I wrote recently, that once again what will replace petrol engine vehicles is being driven by commercial companies. Public policy is being written by companies which do not have to undertake the level of balancing what is essential public policy.
This week an article in the Guardian was effusive about VW’s plans for its production of electric vehicles. Remember this company (my Irish cousin met Adolf Hitler at the launch of the VW who said to him “give my regards to Ireland”) misled the authorities with its emission tests of its vehicles some years ago and lost its credibility around the world. Here’s what the Guardian wrote:
Dieselgate in 2015 – where VW was found to have installed so-called defeat devices in its cars to cheat emissions tests – left an indelible mark on the company.
So, the company according to the Guardian:
Six years after the humiliation of its global emissions scandal, the world’s largest carmaker by output is leading the charge for Germany’s carmakers, as they look to end their lengthy and lucrative love affair with hydrocarbons by going electric.
What should we think about this? The firm announces that it has said it’s mea culpa’s and we should forget how they behaved? That they really do care about the environment and that building vehicles is just a second priority to them. After the environment.
My concern is that business is driving, if you’ll excuse the analogy, the solution to transportation. It’s still individualised what is a planetary problem. It’s still based on extracting minerals from the earth from the cheapest place they can find them using the cheapest labour they can use and turning it into batteries following the same sort of single solution as petrol was over 120years ago.
Electric vehicles will be part of the solution. The real solution will be mass transportation solutions which are efficient and affordable. That’s the role of the state. Who’s going to lead this?
Here’s the article on what a wonderful outfit VW are: