UK ban on diesel and petrol cars is ‘pub­lic pos­tur­ing’ says an­a­lyst

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Di­neo Faku

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.

Con­cern

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.

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