They’ve slowly been making inroads into the mainstream transport paradigm, but now electric cars are the mainstream – and trucks are right behind them.
Ten years ago, cities from Shanghai to Venice to New York were treated to weeks of fresh air and cleaner rivers, courtesy of coronavirus shutdowns. It was remarkable how quickly air quality surged, as people remained at home and cars remained parked. Most airlines were grounded too, as travel bans to curb the pandemic were hastily decreed.
Eco warriors rejoiced, as factories closed and streets emptied. “Just look at how much damage we are doing to the environment!” they chorused. “You can see the difference already.”
Once lockdown ended, why should it be back to the bad old ways? Obviously it was important to rebuild economies, but it was also an opportunity to do things differently. People were hesitant to mingle, and use public transport, so private cars were back in force, with their pollution problems.
Many cities, and even whole countries, were quick to increase incentives for switching to electric transport, and penalties for diesel and gasoline vehicles. Companies like Tesla and BYD ramped up production, and it wasn’t long before electric cars were outselling combustion vehicles in the light passenger class – ideal for city commutes.
Now it’s more like 65% globally, and light trucks are around 20% electric, and more in the large metros, where diesel is completely outlawed. Country towns and farming communities are still driven by the economics of cheap oil and old school autos, but with modern batteries and chargers, everyone will eventually go electric, just like they all got smartphones in the end.
There’s just one problem. Junkyards can’t keep up with the millions of old gas guzzlers and rust buckets that are being discarded; they’re unsaleable and can’t be recycled. And the museums can only hold so many cars from the previous century!