07 Jun The future of the car
By James Sumner, Executive Director, Warfield Park
This article was published in Park Home & Holiday Living magazine in March 2023.
The Government has announced that the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars has been brought forward to 2030, with hybrid cars banned from 2035. Although this does not mean petrol and diesel cars will disappear immediately, it means that over the following decade these cars will become less and less prevalent on our roads. But what will they be replaced by and what impact will this ban have on park homes?
Less petrol and diesel cars on our roads will reduce pollution and carbon output, but it will not reduce congestion. To be clear here, the car is here to stay, for the time being at least. There are many initiatives to get people out of their cars, especially for short journeys, and to walk, cycle or use mass transport instead. It is called ‘modal shift’ and the Government’s ambition is for 50 per cent of all journeys not to be made by car.
Going back to the question, Government is thinking that electric vehicles (EV) will be the dominant road fuel going forward, but equally, others feel that hydrogen fuel cell development will accelerate and be competing with EVs by 2030.
Both alternatives suffer from the same problem: a lack of recharging and refuelling points – the network is patchy, to say the least. EV charging is now a requirement within the Building Regulations, but this does not apply to park homes. It is a ‘chicken and egg’ situation: you won’t buy an EV unless you feel reasonably confident that you’ll be able to recharge it on route, and there will not be investment in infrastructure unless people are going to use it.
The same applies to hydrogen refuelling, but worse. Although refuelling a hydrogen fuel cell car is as quick and simple as filling-up with petrol, there are currently only a handful of refuelling points around the country. A similar situation arose in the 1990s when LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) came on to the market. This was encouraged by the Government, as it was more environmentally friendly, by cutting the tax to stimulate its use. It was half the price of petrol, and still is today. The subsequent demand led to investment in infrastructure with pumps being installed in most petrol stations.
As the demand is already there and growing, the Government is taking a different approach. It wants to reinforce the infrastructure to help meet the existing demand, and then stimulate more. EVs are in transition: people not buying pure electric because of recharging uncertainty. Instead, they are buying plug-in or self-charging hybrids. By facilitating the infrastructure, Government hopes that uncertainty can be addressed.
It announced in 2020 a £1.3 billion investment in EV charging points in homes, streets and motorways. There is already some investment with many existing service stations and supermarkets now having EV charging points. A further £582 million was announced to help people and businesses move over to EVs. This is all part of a wider £12 billion ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ which the Government hopes will generate 250,000 new jobs in battery technology, carbon capture and green energy.
Cllr Michael Hardware, cabinet member for strategic growth at Harlow District Council, sees this as a far wider issue, and also a greater opportunity. “Towns and cities around the country need to be thinking about infrastructure now. Whatever fuel comes forward, or perhaps both, there will need to be a refuelling infrastructure in place, and not just for cars, for larger commercial vehicles as well – our local delivery vehicles, our buses, our refuse trucks and our LGVs.
“Councils need to think about on-street charging, along with identify and reserving land for strategic charging facilities in their areas. They need to be ready for development when the demand is there, or earlier to stimulate that demand by encouraging conversion to alternative fuels.”
It does seem likely that both fuels will come forward with electric being preferred for shorter distances, smaller vehicles and private use, and hydrogen for longer distances and larger commercial transport.
The market is already moving: 22 per cent of new registrations in September 2022 were EVs and hybrid. Based on 2021 data (AutoExpress), there are approximately 33 million cars on the road in the UK. Of these, 441,000 were electric cars and a further 339,000 hybrids. In the first quarter of 2022, the UK registered 252,000 new petrol and diesel cars, 81,000 hybrid cars, 30,000 plug-in hybrid cars and 64,000 pure electric cars. Electric car registrations were up 102% on the previous year while new petrol and diesel car registrations were down 11% and 52% respectively.
But how does this impact on park homes?
The ban on petrol and diesel, and the trend towards alternatively fuelled vehicles, will affect park homes residents, just as much as anywhere else.
At Warfield Park, we are installing charging points for all our rented park homes, and on all our new park homes. Already, 15 new EV charging points have been installed in rented properties, with the remaining 30 to be done over the next three years. Over a similar period, the Park will be expanded with a further 82 new park homes being installed, all of which will have EV charging points.
Cllr Dorothy Hayes MBE, cabinet member for the environment at Bracknell Forest Council, who attended the event at Warfield Park to mark the launch of the initiative last November reiterated the importance of what is being done. She said: “Climate change has to be on every agenda; it is a significant threat to the planet and has to be addressed if we are not going to see more of the extreme weather events experienced recently, such as the record temperatures over the summer and the recent massive flooding in Pakistan.”
PICTURE YOURSELF LIVING AT WARFIELD PARK
If you’re not yet a resident, picture yourself living at Warfield Park. Here you can enjoy all of the benefits of a small leafy rural community with fantastic neighbours, social events and activities onsite, while having a wider community just beyond the entrance. We are located in Warfield, Bracknell, with a bustling town centre, mainline train station and motorways within easy reach. You could say we are ‘A Quintessentially British Village’ in regard to how life can be experienced here inside the Park.
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