No they bloody well won't. Only radical reduction in consumption will.
There is a myth being created that, if only we could convert everything to electricity, we'd be off the hook for global warming. Give us a break. Why aren't we paying more attention to reducing consumption? Doesn't serve the capitalist ethic, does it.
"Where will we squeeze out our next billion," you hear the crafty cronies cry.
"We need more margin on vehicles, grandiose construction projects, speedboats, outdoor heaters, long range transport," they whisper.
Take the last of those, moving produce around the world. Who gains from transporting food from Ms Truss' new favourite trading partner, a distance of around 10,000 miles?
Think about it while we contemplate buying local. What a quaint idea?
Before you think I'm getting all Brexit on you. Stop. Let's do a few comparisons. Within the distance it would take a lorry to travel from London to Carlisle, it could also get to Paris, Brussels and even Amsterdam, passing through rich agricultural regions of France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
So, when I say local I'm talking about within a few miles. Preferably somewhere one can walk or pedal to and from. Or at least that the producer can deliver to consumers at low cost to the environment. With a bit of luck town centres will be revitalised. A new economy could be generated around digital homeworkers deploying Active Travel for their foraging and socialising activities. Living Streets in action?
But, before we get all dewy-eyed about a new rural idyll, buffed up by sustainable new technology, how on earth did we get here?
Mostly through ignorance and then burying our heads in the sand once we knew what we were doing was wrong.
I'll turn my focus to the motor industry for the remainder of this blog. By no means because it is the only (or even the worst) culprit but it does provide a perfect platform for grandstanding politicians. Particularly those clambering for the next smokescreen to feed to the British public.
First, I must confess.
Look, I'm just as guilty as the next baby-boomer for making hay while the sun shone but, just because I was a petrol-head arsehole at one stage in my life doesn't give me a perpetual licence to continue a life of ad nauseam consumption. Even though, as a one-time motoring editor who extolled the virtues sub 6-second 0-60 mph acceleration times, I have helped pave the way for the lust accorded to increasingly indulgent supercars and superbikes.
Attempts to recant and atone have, to date, been confused. Maybe they will still continue while I sort myself out as a predominantly active traveller.
In the meantime what prompted this current rant?
The electric car myth
It was a Facebook ad for an electric Lexus.
Have you noticed how many of the Facebook, Twitter, et al ads for electric cars are for luxury brands: Lexus, Mercedes, Jaguar, Volvo and, of course, Tesla to name a clutch. Even Ford has taken to touting the Mustang as its electric offering. The Mustang was a '60s muscle car. Over the years it has become bloated but a major selling point for the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT remains its ability to accelerate from 0-60 mph in an extraordinary 3.5 seconds. Imagine that silently sneaking up from behind while you're on your e-bike, pedalling along and governed to < 16 mph by (UK) law.
The entry level price for the Mustang in the UK is (currently) in the region of £40,000, BTW.
Granted, it may improve the air quality a little for the affluent neighbours of its owner.
However, it will achieve this at the expense of anyone living near a current or proposed power-generating facility. I include proposed facilities because an awful amount of energy will be expended on building even the cleanest sources of power.
The current UK government seems to include nuclear power in this. Really? Fukushima Daiichi is all too recent in global memory. Why, oh why, do we need it?
Back to Bloated
Electric vehicles do have obvious advantages but surely these should be focussed on reducing energy consumption and other environmental concerns rather than on propelling even bigger and faster bloated beasts. It's no coincidence that a big drive for this excess comes from global financiers' manipulation of capital to preserve profits that were previously earned by gas guzzlers.
"Who says they are bloated?" you may ask.
To answer that we need a Mars bar comparison. A car that has been around for a long time (in this case more than 60 years) while fulfilling much the same function.
The Fiat 500 (a.k.a. Cinquecento) first appeared on European roads in 1957. It was cute, economical and took up so little space it could squeeze through tiny Piemontese mountain villages for the daily shopping run. If it looked like running out of fuel, there'd always be a bowser on a street corner near you.
Back in the 70s Diana used hers to show Carmela and me around the Apennines before, exiting stage right, it made way for a new "replica".
Now we have the 2020 500e. Granted, it remains cute and the cheapest model in the range will accomplish a few shopping trips in style. But why does it have to be 22% longer, 30% wider, 18% taller and a whopping 180% heavier?
Another point to note: the entry level 2020 500e comes with a substantial government grant to sneak the price the obligatory £5 under the magical £20K mark.
Or you could have a Porsche Taycan for £83K-£138K depending upon whether you want 616 bhp and 0-60 in 4 sec or 751 bhp and 0-60 in 2.8 sec. Don't worry, the British taxpayer will subsidise you to buy one of these, too.
While we're on the Taycan, I read an article by a couple who recently bought one and decided to take it on a run from London to the South Coast. They were running short of charge to make the round trip and had the Devil's own job finding a charging station. They used the Porsche app, stopped at fuel stations and cruised through supermarket car parks as the nightmare expanded. But don't worry, the UK taxpayer will cough up to subsidise upgrading the network while households across the land will absorb the cost of cheap leccy for your car.
Why does bloated matter?
Physics 101: the greater the mass, the more energy required to shift it. What is more, even a Cinquecento needs 30% more road space.
And that extra weight wears tyres out more quickly, generating more rubber particles to kill more salmon in our rivers (and that's just the thin end of a wedge).
We haven't even discussed battery disposal. They do not last forever. We used to dump them in Chinese rivers but they've got a bit wise to that recently.
What do we do about it?
For this blog let's focus on travel. We can return to other forms of consumption in a later episode.
Before you take your next steps, sit down and think about what you really require from your modes of travel.
Do they have to be bigger and faster? Can you get away with downsizing? How many journeys actually even require a vehicle that relies solely on manufactured energy? Can it be motor-assisted for those moments when you really need it? Consider your health and how much exercise you should be getting and whether your chosen mode of travel could double as your daily exercise? Are you really saving time by using motorised transport? Does the exhilaration of speed equate to the wind-in-the-hair experience?
Write your own use case.
Maybe you can even paddle your own canoe, literally and/or metaphorically. After all, the UK is criss-crossed with canals that were designed to move people and goods about. Whatever. How many of your journeys' requirements could be satisfied by self-propelled or self-assisted travel? How much money would you save by doing this? How much fitter would you be. Weigh it up.
Active travel is a viable alternative to a huge number of journeys made by the 21st century global population. Do you really need bigger and faster? Did you know more than 70% of days in the UK are completely dry.
For a while some of us have started to eat our own dog food. I am not a super fit cycling fanatic. I often walk if it is more appropriate than cycling. I do like the freedom to roam, though. The first picture is of my long distance tourer at the top of an Alpine climb. The remaining three are alternatives for those who wish for a bit of panache and Italian style a la the Cinquecento, the last of them affording a bit of the wind in the hair performance lust, too.
Guess what? That taxpayer subsidy for a leccy car would buy any two of the four (but not including Shan).
Returning to the original message: Reducing consumption is so much more efficient and enjoyable in so many ways than finding vastly expensive ways to manufacture more fuel.
Coming soon: Other means of reducing energy consumption and flagrant wastage.
Came across some random slides that were used in the Daily News and then returned to me ... I have some idea of where ... a little bit of when ... no idea of who
So here's a bit of fun for those who like to guess ... only I don't know the answers. Hoping between a few ageing mates there will be some consensus.
Go on ... have a go. Answers either on comments here or, maybe easier on the Facebook post