Thursday, 2 June 2011

UK EV report 'very conservative'

I do not normally directly take issue with those operating in the automotive industry. But, the '2011 Electric Car Guide Questions and Answers' report just published by the SMMT (the UK's industry body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) , made me choke on my coffee.

As I read page 2, 'The Role of Electric Vehicles in the Automotive Industry', the section references the New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team (NAIGT) report, 'a consensus industry and government view on the future of the UK motor industry'. Published in 2009, the NAIGT report 'set out a 30 year vision for the UK automotive sector and included a technology roadmap to illustrate the likely route and rate of progress towards ultra-low carbon transportation'. It's key conclusion:

'The internal combustion engine will continue to form the bedrock of the market for the foreseeable future with significant developments reducing carbon emissions'.

Oh dear. The foreseeable future? Really? How about less than a decade?

The report does end with a comment that the NAIGT report states that EVs will be seen 'in significant numbers between 2015 and 2020', hardly indicative of the revolution that has just begun.

'2011 Electric Car Guide Questions and Answers' is a useful Q&A document. It does not however give any indication of the transformation that is about to happen to the car industry as energy security, the price of oil and new business models that will remove or reduce the cost barriers to EV ownership impact the industry. Together with inductive (wireless) charging and telematics, the car of the rapidly approaching future will be electric, of that I have no doubt.

For more on this, see my previous article. Meanwhile, I suppose the truism that change never comes from the centre has never been, um, truer.