20 May 2018

A Tale Of Two Countries

The UK: There is a commitment to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040. This is to encourage people to buy electric vehicles or perhaps fuel cell cars, if the car industry and infrastructure is in place by then. However, domestic car manufacturers such as Land Rover sell many diesel vehicles but will move promptly in new directions.

There is another issue getting the attention. With the UK already importing 10% of its electricity, switching to electric cars will place a strain on the National Grid. So the focus is on increasing the electricity supply. I would have thought that is an issue that should be addressed anyway. I guess nothing like a potential power crisis to get things happening.

Germany: A very different way of looking at it. Hamburg also announced it will create a partial ban on diesel cars in the city, the first major German city to do so. There is pressure from environmental groups to lower pollution levels to ensure reasonable clean air. However, the car industry and government are concerned it could have grave consequences for the German auto industry.

On the issue of making present diesel cars less polluting the Chancellor said  it was not in the country's best interest to use force manufacturers to retrofit diesel vehicles to make them cleaner, despite many customers being deceived by the industry into believing they were better than they were.

It seems the German car industry needs to be healthy to prosper and any costs like this would not be advantageous for them. Of course they can afford it but they want to remain at the forefront of the industry globally, even if they have got there by questionable means at times. The attitude of some is the car industry's health is more important than the health of its citizens. Others in Germany place the quality of human life as the priority. It will be interesting to see who wins out.

Summary: In the UK, the car industry has to be prepared to change and there is little sympathy if they not up to speed. In Germany, the car industry is sacrosanct and nothing should be done that impacts negatively on it. A tale of two countries with differing ways of addressing an issue.

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