The UK government has been lobbied recently to rethink its strategy on electric vehicles for post 2030…and motorcycles have become the hot topic.
Like many other countries, whose governments are pushing the green agenda for zero emissions in a post 2030 world, the UK government have a plan in action for the ban of petrol and diesel sales of vehicles by 2030. Motorcycles are included the in the group that could see them banned by 2035…however there has been increasing pushback with the powers that be seemingly willing to listen now.
Whilst cars and vans in particular can easily adopt the EV movement and carry the heavy batteries, motorcycles cannot. As yet there isn’t a widespread development of larger vehicles either for heavier loads and greater distances. So bike and haulage trucks are in no-mans land, an environmental purgatory from which there is no apparent escape.
Lobby groups have repeated their concerns over the inclusion of motorcycles in the grand green plan, not least because of the relative cost but also questioning the actual green credentials of EV vehicles; their production, delivery, infrastructure to charge and the energy required to charge millions more vehicles on the roads.
However in the last couple of months there have been louder voices coming from motorcycle manufacturing themselves questioning whether EV bikes should be considered as the only solution to zero emissions or carbon neutrality. Both KTM and Triumph have opened up debate on the pros and cons of the EV development and in contrast to the benefits of the future efficiency of bio or synthetic fuels.
As it stands now, manufacturers around the globe are starting to produce motorcycle engines that can run on 85-100% ethanol. Other development is being made into engines that will run on synthetic fuel or for existing engines to convert either to bio or synthetic fuels. So if the volume of these can be dramatically increased in the years to come and efficiency lends itself to cheaper pump prices, surely this needs to be considered.
Perhaps this is the only counter argument to the EV solution that any politician is willing to listen to right now and it is worth exploring. This is not to say that the EV market should be killed off but rather it should have concurrent development, consideration and promotion such as being currently mandated by the Indian government to its domestic automotive manufacturers who are tasked with developing both options.
The point here is to finally wake up to the overall environmental cost of future mobility and not what looks good in a press release, official tweet or the whisperings of a siren’s soundbite. It is not just the running costs on the wallet and the environment but also those costs in production and delivery. Delivery of the product itself and delivery of the energy required to make these vehicles move forward too.
Most would agree the sensible course of action is to at least ask questions and determine whether an alternative is viable…but will the politicians but willing to answer or even enter the debate for fear of alienating their green supporters?