Although the future of the automotive world is very obviously electricity, we’re still a long ways off from that. EV cars need a lot of development before they’re able to match or surpass what internal-combustion vehicles offer. Despite this, some cities take it upon themselves to “speed up” the development process by vowing to ban engines which use fossil fuels in the near future. Needless to say, these plans are optimistic at best.
Paris is the first city to propose a ban for all vehicles carrying an internal-combustion engine. The ban should come in effect by 2030, leaving EV cars 12 years for improvement. Although that’s a relatively short time frame in the grand scheme of things, it’s not as ridiculous as the ban Oxford is proposing.
The small English town has been known for having anti-car aspirations. It’s widely regarded as the most unfriendly car towards the automobile in the world. Now though, it seems that the local constabulary has gone mad. They intend to completely ban all fossil fuel-burning cars from the center of the city by the year 2020. You don’t have to be a genius to realize that that’s not a possible or viable scenario in any universe.
Not only are electric vehicles not ready to replace the internal-combustion engine, but the current range of gasoline and diesels is still going strong. What happens to the people in Oxford who just bought a brand-new car and have to pay it off for the next five years or so? In two years time their car will be rendered completely useless should the ban step into effect.
There’s also the small issue of what’s going to happen to hybrids. Neither of these proposed laws take hybrids into considerations. Logically, if the ban applies to all cars carrying an internal-combustion engine, hybrids will be exempt from these cities as well. On the other hand, hybrids are the stepping stone towards full electric vehicles, and banning them would only slow down development of EVs.
The clear answer is to let time take its course and take things as they unfold. Planning for the future is fine, but only if it’s technically feasible. Paris’ proposed ban should give EVs just enough time, but Oxford’s silly proposal certainly doesn’t.
As a petrolhead I really hope internal-combustion engines never go extinct, but I’m also familiar with the harsh reality. Fossil fuels aren’t going to last us forever, and global warming is a real. The imposed bans will surely be adopted by more and more cities as time progresses, but for now, councils should remain patient.