UK ban on diesel and petrol cars is ‘public posturing’ says analyst
THE BRITISH government’s plan to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040 amid fears of rising pollution levels were unlikely to materialise.
Rene Hochreiter, an analyst at Noah Capital, criticised the announcement as public posturing, adding that a lot could happen in 23 years. He said that the British market was small compared with China, the biggest market for platinum.
“It is a badly informed government trying to get votes by climbing on the “2040” bandwagon. Saying that they will sell no more petrol or diesel driven cars is worse in terms of lack of foresight than that shown in our Mining Charter!”
Hochreiter also raised concerns about the costs of a battery driven car, which was currently three times more than similar petrol vehicles, as well as generation capacity of electricity (to replace all petrol and diesel cars would need an estimated extra 30 Eskoms in the UK), availability of enough lithium and recycling of millions of spent (toxic) batteries which have a useful life of only five years.
“Other questions such as an oil price of below $10 a barrel, electricity costs of $2/kW/h and consumer preferences also need to be considered. I think it is hot air, I do not think it is going to happen. The electric car cannot take over completely from diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040 never mind 2050,” he said.
The outlook for the diesel engine remained a key concern after the emissions scandal of 2015 for platinum companies.
Anglo American Platinum, the world biggest platinum producer, said this week that diesel’s share of the light duty vehicle market in Europe had fallen predominantly in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. These were countries where major cities had suggested some or all diesel vehicles might be banned or their use penalised in the future.
Diesel remained extremely important for light and heavyduty vehicle manufacturers. “Heavy duty diesel is a growing source of demand for platinum for use in emissions after-treatment. Vehicle numbers are expected to increase by a compound annual growth rate of 3 percent over the next decade and emissions limits will tighten,” it said.
“China will implement new emissions rules in 2017 and again in 2019 and this could boost demand by 200 000 ounces of platinum annually, and tighter rules will also be implemented in India over a similar timescale.”
Wendy Tlou, a spokesperson at Lonmin, the world’s third biggest platinum producer, said 2040 was 23 years into the future, and in the meantime international governments were making a primary objective the reduction of nitrogen dioxide .
“That will mean a greater use of platinum catalysts. In addition, research into fuel cell technology is being accelerated,” she said.