In the build up to the hugely important COP26 in Glasgow later this year, the UK government is likely to make a number of announcements to establish its credentials while it is in the international spotlight. The first of these came recently with the “advancing” of the plan to ban sales of new diesel, petrol AND hybrid cars.
There is already a lot of talk about what this might mean specifically for your choice of car, and also for the longer term impact on the climate.
However, have you thought how this might affect your more general financial planning?
We may be used to thinking of these developments in terms of direct impact on us, or maybe how to manage our investments accordingly. But have you also considered the wider implications on your lives, and that of your families?
In our definition of “Financial Wellness” there is not only our ability to cope with current spending, and investing for future needs, but it is also important to be able to “afford to make the choices that allow us to enjoy life”.
For example, it occurs to me that there might be some changes to consider in our lives to prepare for this new ‘electric’ future.
I imagine that houses or buildings with dedicated off-street parking will see a premium since there will be lots of competition for on-street charge points (and no-one around to unplug a car that has finished charging).
With an increased demand for car charging throughout day & night, there will be a benefit to using your own (free) electricity, so personal solar systems will be worth installing again, even without a Feed In Tariff to offset the cost. However, to use these for charging your car you will probably also have to invest in diverters and storage (batteries).
So while we are thinking about saving for a replacement electric car, and trusting that the cost of electric cars will come down, we may also need to take into account the cost of buying and installing the services required to charge them at home!
On the other hand … will we even need to own a car in 15 years? With the speed of technological development, and the imminent launch of self-driving cars (they’re already testing them in the UK), what would be the point of owning a car at all?
This just goes to show how making definite plans for the future is very difficult, so we may need to have some contingency funds to allow us to adapt.
How do you see this ban affecting you and your family?
This doesn’t affect me, since I don’t drive. But it could affect family members who are really not in a position to be able to buy an environmentally friendly vehicle.
As for the charging points issue, I’m hoping for more investment in Hydrogen vehicles, and the infrastructure for these. Those are the true future of eco-friendly vehicles in my opinion. Demand for charging points would not be an issue with these since hydrogen vehicles would be refilled at hydrogen stations in the same way that petrol and diesel vehicles currently refill at petrol stations.
I have to admit I know nothing about Hydrogen cars and their (potential) future.
I vaguely recall seeing them around for years (and I’m talking a long time!!), and being reasonably worried about them. That’s probably my own prejudice, I admit.
I realise it is a low or zero-impact fuel, but do you know anything about this and whether it really has a technological future?
The concept has been around I while, I remember a guest at my school talking about the concept when I back when I was in year 8, or something like that, about 13ish years ago. They have come a long way since then.
I believe for a long time the big difficulty was storing it in large enough quantities. But I read an article a year or so ago about a breakthrough having been made in this area, and that they could store it as ammonia, which allows for much greater concentrations to be stored, or something like that. (I don’t claim to be an expert on this stuff )
I did a bit of googling about hydrogen fuel stations available in the UK currently, but there aren’t too many around, at least not outside London. But there are a couple of companies looking to change this. I believe they’re also looking at providing electrolysis stations on site for companies that want them, which allows Hydrogen to be produced on site, with the ability to refill vehicles from them.
The main area where Hydrogen has a huge advantage over battery vehicles is heavy vehicles, such as haulage lorries, which need to travel long distances. Hydrogen has a considerably larger range, which is not impacted by cold weather (something I learned from my CTO does affect his Tesla), and it takes no longer to refill than a petrol or diesel fuel tank. I read in the last year that the EU is considering putting in a “hydrogen corridor” essentially adding hydrogen stations on the major haulage routes through Europe to allow hydrogen HGVs to refuel, and also making it more viable for consumers at the same time.
I have seen some movement on lighter hydrogen vehicles recently as well in the UK though, with a police force somewhere near me starting to roll out hydrogen vehicles and encouraging the installation of hydrogen fuel stations.
From what I understand of the science around how the fuel cells work, it’s basically just combining hydrogen with oxygen through a barrier that the hydrogen’s electron cannot pass, but the proton can. So the electron passes through a wire over the barrier to meet back up with it’s proton buddy, generating electricity.
This process creates just 1 bi-product… water
Interesting indeed, thanks for sharing that. I have since remembered that there were even experiments to find ways to run your laptop from hydrogen cells
Coming back to the topic of “how might this impact your future plans” it would therefore seem to make a big difference whether the most important development is electric or hydrogen - as the impact on our lives will be quite different.
It is certainly exciting from an environmental point of view, but does create a conundrum for us individually. What do we commit to if we want to be better off in future, and how will we afford it?
hmmm … good for the environment (ish), not great for your budget!
good luck though