Dr Colin Herron, Zero Carbon Futures

Member Article

Electric Vehicles: The future for the North East?

Dr Colin Herron, managing director of Zero Carbon Futures offers his perspective on how electric vehicles could benefit the North East.

One of the greatest challenges of the future, and one that will have the most impact on our environment, is to change people’s attitudes and behaviour towards climate change. Individuals need to take steps to reduce their own personal carbon debt rather than relying on others to do it for them. Unfortunately, there is still a large camp of people who do not recognise climate change as a personal issue, believing they have a right to waste as much as earth’s resources and energy. How do we prompt people to take personal social responsibility and what steps are we asking them to take?

For the average North Easterner, as is true of the rest of the UK, the car and the home are two of the most important assets in their life and people do not take kindly to being told how they should use either. The thing that ties both these elements together, however, is their energy consumption; both having an enormous impact on our environment.

But here we are at the very beginning of an exciting revolution, happening here in North East England, which will help individual’s make a small lifestyle change that can have a significant impact on the future. This region stands at the forefront of a technical transformation which is the transition from a hundred years of dominance by the internal combustion engine to vehicles powered by alternative means. The two contenders are electric vehicles and
hydrogen powered or combinations. The two leading companies in the UK (Nissan and Smith Electric Vehicles) are pioneering game changing technology and they are doing this here, now.

People will, in large, find excuses as to why they could not own or operate an electric powered vehicle. This is natural: a car is a statement of the aspiration of the individual so any new product must fit with their social needs but the current vehicles and charging technology are very close to satisfying the needs of many of our population. Our research has shown that the average daily car journey in this region is less than 25 miles making an
electric vehicle a valid alternative for the majority of people.

The new technology is also a chance for the region to establish itself as the leading region in the UK for low carbon vehicles and a serious player in Europe. We as a community need to grasp the chance we have, or let somebody else do it for us and pay the economic and environmental price.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Anya Bramich .

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