Get ready car owners because the decision about what car you buy next is out of your hands. You won’t have much to do with it and your car manufacturer will only have a limited input because the decision has already been made by the world’s politicians.
It’s all about electric propulsion. Governments are captivated by this magic source of energy and are legislating for it to be given a free ride all over the globe. The politicians are going to decide which way the industry goes. The fact that politicians know nothing about the complexities and lead times that car manufacturers have to deal with is irrelevant, and we will ultimately pay the price.
Enter one Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, Stellantis is the holding company that was formed when PSA (Peugeot/Citroen) merged with Fiat/Chrysler. This giant group includes Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel, Vauxhall, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Maserati. It’s the world’s sixth largest carmaker so when its CEO makes a pronouncement he deserves to get some airtime.
Carlos Tavares recently said that the headlong rush towards electrification of the world’s car fleet is not due to the car industry responding to the market but is the result of politicians dictating what will happen. He is dead right, and it’s going to end in disaster.
Banning petrol cars in the interests of the environment is the sort of touchy-feely stuff that politicians love to be involved in but when people who have no idea of how the car manufacturing industry works make these decisions they tend to create more problems than they solve.
There’s no argument that electric power is ideal for expensive luxury cars, the advantages being instant torque, silence and the fact that the extra weight of the batteries can be more easily absorbed in a car that’s heavy to start with. Also, luxury car buyers won’t have a problem with the electric price premium, which doesn’t make much difference to the cost of an already expensive car, and home charging is easy when you have a big house with an internal access garage.
It’s when Governments start to force electric cars on average income earners that the trouble starts. Effectively doubling the price of a lower-cost car will take a huge number of buyers out of the market, forcing them instead to keep driving their ageing petrol cars. And overnight charging is out of the question for folk who have to park on the street.
Yes, electric cars dominate the market in Norway, but that’s only because they get such massive subsidies and petrol cars face such penalties that they’re priced off the market. Here in little old New Zealand we have to take the cars that are primarily designed for other markets, yet we have a Government of such arrogance that they think they can dictate that we drive vehicles available nowhere else in the world (electric utes anyone?)
So the rich will be able to cruise around in $150K electric cars and feel smug about it while the battlers will have to keep driving and maintaining their old petrol cars. Old electric cars are not the answer because once the battery’s dead it’s all over Rover.
It would seem that we’re in for a future in which those who can afford electric cars can be smug in their superiority while the peasants will have to drive their old petrol cars into the ground.
Then they can ride a bike or take the bus.