IMAGE: Oleksandr Marynchenko — 123RF

Why wait until 2050 to ban gasoline and diesel: why not start in 2030? Why not even before?

Responding to the ban on the sale of diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles from 2040, National Grid, the UK electricity and gas utility, has told the British government that its infrastructure will be ready ten years before, by 2030, the year when India plans to ban the sale of internal combustion engines. Norway has said it will do so by 2025, while other countries have announced similar plans with different deadlines, in what is increasingly being shown to be a reasonable, perfectly viable and genuinely common sense measure.

National Grid’s assertion chimes with those of US utilities, which see electric vehicles not only as their salvation, but also as the salvation of the planet. Recent studies show that the United States could meet most of its energy needs from the wind and the sun: in a system designed for an overcapacity of 150% and with the appropriate battery systems — of the type installed by Tesla in South Australia — a combination of 70% solar and 30% wind power could supply 100% of the country’s power.

The ways things are going, the three-thirds goal defined by Michael Liebreich, the Chairman of the Advisory Board of Bloomberg New Energy Finance: one third of global electricity from wind and solar, one third of vehicles electrically powered, and the world’s economy will produce one third more GDP from every unit of energy by 2040) is looking decidedly modest.

Meanwhile, car manufacturers are divided: while Tesla has speeded up the manufacture and distribution of its solar panels and tiles through agreements with large chains and the cost of power generation in residential facilities continues to decline, companies such as BMW still claim that they do not see viable mass production of electric vehicles until 2020, despite having some very competitive models on the market. US brands such as GM, meanwhile, are spending $100 million to develop mass production capacity for electric vehicles, while one of the last to join the race, Ford, says it is to spend $11 billion to electrify its vehicles and take them to the mass market. Even the iconic Harley Davidson has announced the mass production of its first electric model in 2019.

Interesting times: the progressive gains in efficiency and reductions in the cost of electricity generation and its associated technologies show that the objectives initially set by some countries are not only possible, but can even be overcome. While some idiots insist on shooting US clean energy in the foot, the idea of returning to coal is clearly nonsense. Ending the sale of internal combustion vehicles from 2030 is a perfectly realistic goal, and one that with each day is more pressing. It won’t spell the Apocalypse, and will be perfectly manageable to meet electricity demand, and of course, do not cause more pollution, except in the case of those hybrids created by car companies to falsely greenwash themselves, protect their investments and production chains.

Now is the time to review our government’s plans, to separate them from the problems and the economic viability of manufacturers unable to get ready in time, and work realistically to improve our world using the data we have, instead of on the basis of clichés and assumptions,? This is not a question that allows for fence-sitting: This is about one technology that is superior to another in every way, is more efficient and does not poison us. When is the transition going to begin?

(En español, aquí)