I read this interesting BBC article yesterday, showing how incredibly efficient cars are able to be made now, if society would grasp the nettle.
We could be reducing our carbon footprints massively – particularly in a country with as high level of car ownership as ours.
It would require a lot of investment, both in car plants to build the vehicles (and to do it efficiently, or there’s no point…), but also in the infrastructure to run the cars. But if one country did it, they would show the world what could be done, and it would no doubt be a huge money spinner for that nation.
It would need a forward-thinking government with cojones to do this. Not one that removed the bio-fuel requirement on the forecourt as one of its first acts of government, and one that has gutted the ETS, but one with a genuine commitment to the sustainability of our future.
You’d want the private sector to pick up the car-building section of the scenario, but that’s pretty much impossible under this government. We need a government that is committed to manufacturing before we could think of doing anything remotely on a car scale. One that ensures we have capital markets with actual capital in them, a far less volatile (and lower) exchange rate, and one that’s not scared to intervene in the free-market to create the conditions where such things are possible.
Auckland University is already creating the technology to charge cars with electricity as they drive along certain (presumably major) roads, so it’s not as if we don’t have the brains and innovation here to create such concepts. And building energy-efficient cars would fit well into the high-skilled green image we like to project to the world… But it’s only ever going to be a pipe-dream without a government making radical changes to the neo-liberal economy, and creating conditions where high-tech manufacturing can flourish again.