British cars are going electric, or “eccentric”?

Forgive me for writing this from the angle of a pedestrian, and a cyclist. I often heard a lot of conversation from my friends at work, and they tend surround “fuel price”. “The price per litre has risen from 98p to £1.38!” To be honest, that does not ring too much of a bell to me, although I can sympathise with the pain that the British motorists have to pay more for their precious fuel than their European counterparts. Maybe it’s time for the motorists in this country to switch to “electric” cars?

No more top gear?

Recently, the big car manufacturers have been advertising hard on their latest state-of-the-art electric cars. Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford, Honda, and perhaps other old brands and emerging brands, like the ones from the land of the dragons, are banking hard on this new age technology, which can reduce the reliance on the unsustainable fossil fuels and instead, charging the batteries. Toyota Yaris, for instance, have been appearing on ITV many times, before and during their mystery dramas and films. So, there have been a lot of them roaming around the streets of Britain throughout the last 2 years. Now, there is another new player, the Volkswagen Passat, which is somehow coincidental because this year is the 125th anniversary of the German car industries. Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, which use to rely a lot of the burning of fossil fuels that suits the tastes of the 3 musketeers in “Top Gear”, are now slowly “acknowledging” that climate change is a fact and the heavy reliance on fossil fuels is the primary source of green house gas emissions, which has altered the global climate pattern, and has in effected, caused the glaciers’ melting, the massive drought in Africa, the intensive flooding in South Asia and recently in Queensland, Australia, the bush fires in Southern Europe, California and the intensive heat wave in Moscow, and the frequent hurricanes and tropical storms in the Pacific Rim and the Carribean. In other words, the UK, as what the last Labour government had said, has an obligation to meet the green house gas emission reduction. So, as an “eccentric” British motorist, going “electric” is more or less the direction.

British cars, the future?

However, the British car industries are more or less extinct after the purchase of Rover by a little-known Chinese car manufacturer Nanjing Motors in 2005. Is there going to be a 100% British-manufactured electric car? Is Rolls Royce going to start their research and development into the electric vehicles? There is somehow very little evidence to suggest that the British car industries are heading to that direction. Probably that the British motorists will have to import electric cars from other countries, or relying on Honda plant in Swindon, Nissan plant in Sunderland, or Ford plant in Dagenham. Maybe the latter option is a more sustainable one but if this country cannot look into the R & D of electric cars, then the various engineering departments in British universities will probably face closure or force to free up more places for overseas students to fill-in their financial accounts. As this Con Dem coalition government is obsessed with spending cuts and austerity measures, is there a future for a “made in UK” electric car?