Thursday, November 17, 2011


Driving & has been on vacation, enjoying cruising both Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean, aboard two of the best cruise ships afloat, Cunard’s ‘Queen Victoria’ and Holland America’s ‘Eurodam’.

It’s been a peaceful and serene escape from the volatility of the car business, and a chance to sit on the sidelines spectating, as the global car makers make inspired, as well as dumb, decisions.

Queen Victoria

There’s also been an opportunity to reflect on what faces car manufacturers, car buyers and governments of all persuasions. In a way, it’s a bit like watching the European governments failing to deal with Greece’s debt crisis. Everyone knows instinctively what to do, but failing to do it.

With the oil crisis looming, I believe it’s incumbent that governments to make decisive and parallel policy change and take a leadership role. Car manufacturers can and will operate within a legislated framework, and that leaves car buyers to go along with the best solutions.

The internal combustion engines, petrol or diesel, still have life in them as low-cost, low-polluting powerplants, and petrol/diesel hybrids are a good short-term solution, as are ‘extended-range’ models. We should be seeing the development of policies within a framework utilising the immediate benefits of these technologies, whilst the electric car future is decided over the next 20 years.

BEVs (battery electric vehicles) are NOT a final solution. FCEVs (fuel cell vehicles) also have a long way to go before being commercially viable, but somewhere in that mix there lays solutions for the coming decades – just don’t ask any of the ‘Green’ parties to get involved – they’ll have us back on pushbikes before you can blink!

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