Regarding the depressing prediction by academics that cars with internal combustion engines will be banned from the roads in the 2040s, I agree with your scepticism ( CCW, 26 July).
For a start, unless the Government drastically changes its energy policy, by 2035 we will have shut down all our coal and gas-fired power stations and be almost entirely dependent on intermittent electricity sources, such as wind and solar. Even without electric vehicles, therefore, we will most likely be experiencing power shortages, so I can’t see the public rushing to buy electric cars with no confidence that they can be charged up when needed. The Government’s proposed 2040 ban applies only to new petrol and diesel cars. Those built up to 2039 will still be in use for another 15-20 years. It is also not clear whether the ban includes hybrids as well. Volvo’s recent decision not to build petrol or diesel cars from 2019 does not include hybrids. In any case, I don’t see any reason to believe that petrol and diesel cars will not still be in use indefinitely, even if no new ones are built. After all, a century after the horse was supplanted by the internal combustion engine for transport purposes in first-world countries, many people continue to ride them for pleasure (including on public roads). Also, look at the enthusiasm for railway steam engines. Tens of thousands of people turned out to watch Flying Scotsman on its last tour of the country. They don’t do the same for electric trains!
The classic car movement is getting bigger all the time, and the 2016 survey by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs found that 34,900 people are employed in the historic vehicle industry in the UK, and there are over one million historic vehicles registered, valued at £17.8 billion. Some £5.5bn is spent annually on historic vehicle related activity and 23 million people see historic vehicles as an important part of Britain’s heritage. Motor racing is also a major industry worldwide and some of the best attended races are those for historic cars. It would be a very brave or stupid politician who sought to destroy all this. Malcolm Heymer, Dereham, Norfolk Well said, that man – Ed