In the not too distant past DTW covered the matter of the slow end of the internal-combustion engine era. The matter comes up again… It’s not so bad really. In fact, it’s great.
This time the prompt for this article is a proposal by the German Green party to essentially do away with petrol and diesel engines by 2036. Their proposal is reported by Der Speigel. The alternative is to use electric cars and more buses and trains. In my earlier article I mentioned that certain north European and North American states were planning to be rid of ICE vehicles within forty years. I suggested that this figure was not a real target (40 years is too late) but a way of introducing a radical idea gradually. Every five years ten years would be lopped off the target.
Such is political discourse that the floating of an idea gives rise to developments and responses to the idea. I would guess the 40-year figure was a strategic gambit in a political process to make it possible for suggestions such as the Greens’ proposal. The Greens in Germany indeed have a bolder vision where the same goal is achieved in half the time.
Other green and green-sympathetic parties will be making similar suggestions and by this way the idea that we won’t be pouring unleaded or derv into a nozzle on the side of car will seem less and less strange. In fact, I feel petrol is a bit passé, much like tie-wearing and putting an apostrophe on ‘phone. Part of the article heartened me very much. The Greens won’t ban old cars. They expect them to simply fade away. Nobody banned the horse or the typewriter so people can still use them (this was typed on my Remington).
I must be one of the strangest slices of that part of society interested in cars. I think that a move away from the internal combustion engines is not a bad idea. I enjoy using trains and buses. I think that accommodating the private car has been a social and architectural disaster. At the same time I find car design of consuming interest (putting it mildly), a quite like driving under circumstances (imaginary ones, it seems) and I still hanker after some rather polluting old cars (one day, one day).
That the Greens don’t propose banning old cars means it will in all likelihood be possible for me to have an old car and use it a bit while clearing the roads of other commuters who spoil the fun. As I said elsewhere, the decline of the ICE might be the best thing ever for people who actually like cars and like to use them in the most enjoyable way.
The main hazard is that electric cars become sufficiently cheap and robust enough for the industry to replace one cluttering load of vehicles with another load of cluttering vehicles. What I really want is to drive my 604 or Trevi in roads as underpopulated as they were in 1955. With luck the Greens might help realise this vision.
[I had a look at the travel blog where I sourced the photo. You won’t gain much insight on the city if you read the blog. Travel doesn’t always broaden the mind.]