Car News: SNP Charges On

A weekly guide to all that’s rotten about car ownership, plus some good bits

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Self-governance renewed is the biggest boost to an environmentally friendly Scotland

The Scottish Government is to invest nearly £17 million in green transport – good news direct from Scotland’s First (Street Smart) Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

Cries of “What about the poor and the NHS?” from the carping crowd who voted No to self-determination, the same who call progress Whitehall making welfare payments as rare as an oasis in the Sahara, and selling off the English NHS to Virgin laudable. One day Virgin will sell some of its businesses to a foreign investor and our rights will go with it.

How is the largess to be spent? Some £16.7m of funding will be used for 1,500 more electric vehicle charging points and 100 electric buses. (Nicola, who writes your announcements? Please find a better phrase for ‘electric vehicle uptake’.)


The Honda, front opening doors, a bench seat for three, luggage space, and digital trickery

I plan an electric car as my next car purchase, probably my last because it will outlast me. I’d like to think the car of the future is one you can hand to your son or daughter, not because it’s clapped out, but because it’s in perfect order. The body will be made out of a non-rust, pliable material, there will be few moving parts, and interiors won’t need five dead cows to swathe it in luxury. (We used to be very happy with vinyl!) When the batteries give out you just line up new ones, the old reused for solar panels. Replacing a worn-our petrol engine takes hours of labour. Batteries are held in a protected tray under the car, pulls out, empty, fill, slide back.

I like the forthcoming Honda and Mini, though I favour the compact and very clever Honda for its extra height and its claimed 15 minute full charging time from empty.

Self-pleading aside, the money also will help expansion of the Switched on Towns & Cities initiative to create 20 new ‘electric towns’ by 2025. The new funding comes on top of around £20m to help people make the transition to electric vehicles and £4.8m of grant funding for 500 ultra-low emission vehicles in the public sector fleet.

Nicola made the announcement on a visit to the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) headquarters in Cambuslang. The SFRS has committed to reducing its carbon footprint with plans to introduce up to 100 ultra-low emission plug-in vehicles to its light fleet.

The service is also actively looking at how it could use its 356 fire stations across Scotland to support the ongoing development of charging networks.


The Mini. If it offers 200 miles to a charge it’s a winning intercity car for Scotland

Our government’s policy is to ban the sale of all new combustion engines by 2032. That goal puts us in the vanguard but European nations are destined to get there before us. They have lots of electric cars to choose from and charging points to service them, while the UK holds back Scotland’s environmental advances.

“Electrifying the road network and transforming the way we travel is vital to reducing our carbon emissions, tackling climate change and improving air quality. Last year’s Programme for Government set out our ambition as a country and some key steps including making the A9 Scotland’s first electric trunk road. This year we want to go further still, and through the package of support we’re announcing in this year’s Programme for Government, as well as our continued investment of £1 billion a year in low carbon and public transport, more people will be able to play their part in putting Scotland at the forefront of low carbon travel.”

Lovely stuff. (Nicola, please find another phrase for “package of support“.) Through continued investment, and work to encourage communities to embrace the social change required, we can make our towns and cities more desirable places to live and work.

Oh, and while I remember – when the charging stations are in place bring in legislation to cap costs to a minimum!

Now for the downside – with no control over keeping what we earn we have little chance to catch up on Norway. And we are handicapped by the Ministry of Transport being a reserved department. This week it cut the grants to buy electric cars. (See below.)

Compare the UK’s situation with Norway, the example that proves the success of incentives. Over half of all new cars registered in Norway last year were plug-in hybrids or BEVs, and two of the bestselling cars are fully electric.

Voting Yes to self-rule makes sense by every act of England’s regressive government.


Dyson is too big to fail

James Dyson, creator of the cheap ball barrow, the painfully expensive vacuum cleaner and extortionate hairdryer, the enthusiastic cheerleader for ditching the EU, has decided to build his electric car in Singapore. Informed readers will groan because they know Singapore recently signed a trade deal with … the EU. We are told it’s an entire car rather than an electric motor for vehicles. Going down the Sinclair C5 route for a hoover salesman sounds a bit risky to me. His purpose-built two-storey plant is part of a £2.5 billion investment. His own money? Are you kidding? Production is set to be launched in 2021. In a letter to Dyson’s UK employees, CEO Jim Rowan waxed lyrical: “Singapore offers access to high-growth markets as well as an extensive supply chain and a highly skilled workforce.” There’s Brexit patriotism for you.

Edinburgh experiment

Edinburgh has had a 20 mph maximum inner city experiment running for months. The council is asking for feedback from drivers and cyclists. Once you take out the anti-SNP trolls from the council website – and who would not like to take out SNP trolls? – the few lone souls leaving opinion invariably pronounce the scheme a failure. Nobody is willing to police it. There’s always peer pressure if you can get it to work. Not hard for me to adhere to the limit in my wee engine Smart, with intermittent success, but I’m often taken aback by drivers passing me at 40 mph. The telling of the tale will lie in accident reduction figures. Edinburgh has some of the worst Kamikaze jay walkers anywhere.

Reduction of government grant

The Tories have slashed the inducement they offer us to give up our flatulent cars and buy environmentally passive vehicles. They did this in the week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of impending Armageddon. We must turn the gas down to a peep. Hybrids lose out entirely, electric is down to £3,500. That means the price of electric cars to you will go up from £1,000 to £3,000. The reason given by the Department of Transport is electric cars are getting cheaper. Aye, cheaper for the few not the many. (Renault Twizy excepted.) The decision is bizarre. For endangering the planet those responsible should be made to breath exhaust fumes for an hour in a locked room.

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4 Responses to Car News: SNP Charges On

  1. Lanark says:

    A few months ago I was in a restaurant here in Dumfries (where Arlene Foster might be considered moderate) and found myself waiting behind a well dressed, well spoken gent in his early sixties ordering drinks from the proprietor.

    Restaurant owner asks man if he is worried about Brexit affecting his business. Well spoken man answers that he is unconcerned but then goes on to say that the decision by the Scottish Government to ban the sale of internal combustion engined cars by 2032 is “crazy” and “what are they going to do with all this oil we supposedly have”?

    He had made eye contact with me by this point and was addressing both of us. I was about to point out that oil rich Norway was going to implement a ban from 2020 but before I could, he erupted “Sturgeon!! F**cking ugly bitch!” I noticed also that he had gone quite red in the face. I didn’t say anything.

    Back on topic, I do like the look of that Honda. Electric and fuel cell cars are the way to go. Along with a Yes vote of course!

  2. Grouse Beater says:

    That Sturgeon remark is pure misogyny. We have to win! Yes, the Honda looks the more innovative, and anyhow, they have a great reputation for reliability, second only to Lexus.

  3. greig12 says:

    Accident reduction figures do tend to put the naysayers gas at a peep and it’s a pity that measures to slow us down to save lives have to be forcibly applied initially, sometimes in the face of bitter resistance.

    The figures though, seem to be speaking for themselves. The average speed cameras on the A9 are of course an obvious and prime example. I used to travel on it regularly in my 225 bhp hot hatch and I must confess to being one of the serial overtakers. The urge to get quickly from a to b was somehow paramount even if there was no particular need to hurry. I didnt consider myself one of the loonies however, they always seemed to be in mercs for some reason.

    Driving it now requires an entirely different mind set and is consequently a much more relaxing experience. You realise your going nowhere quickly so you just put on the stereo and cruise control and chill man. You can always adopt the cavalry charge approach on the stretches of dual carriageway if you want but I find I’m no longer tempted by this.

    I now arrive at my destination minus the stress induced set neck and needing a drink to calm my nerves with a sore bum from sitting too long being the only minor irritation.

  4. Grouse Beater says:

    Copy that: “You realise your going nowhere quickly so you just put on the stereo and cruise control and chill man.” I’ve always found more fun driving at 60 mph or less, than 90 mph or over.

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