Saturday 8 February 2020

1. The 2035 petrol and diesel vehicle ban - What does it mean for us as sidecar riders?

This is the first in a series of articles that I am writing about the looming ban on petrol and diesel cars and vans and what our options are or should be.

The UK Government’s newly brought forward date for the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles does not include mopeds or motorcycles from 2035.

Whilst this might be seen as good news, it must surely be at least an indicator for the future of our chosen method of transport.
In this article, I will look at what this means for us, as powered three wheeler riders.
I will also be looking at the alternatives, including plug in all electrics, hybrids, LPG, CNG and hydrogen cell motors. My conclusions may surprise you.

But first here are the facts and some reasoned assumptions about the new legislation arriving in 2035.

What does the recent announcement by the Government say?

It says that from 2035 onwards, we will no longer be able to buy a new petrol or diesel powered car or van. This includes all passenger cars, all vans and all hybrids.

What will be the alternatives?

The suggestion is that the only alternatives that will be allowed will be all electric plug-in vehicles and hydrogen cell powered vehicles. But this is not the whole picture. Alternative fuels other than petrol and diesel are not included in the ban and could be a viable alternative for our motorcycle engines. More on this later in this series.

So, what about motorcycles and mopeds?

Currently, the Government has excluded these from the ban. However, they have rapidly changed the date from 2040 which was only set three years ago; to 2035. They have also cancelled the zero emission vehicle grants available and then immediately said that they weren’t cancelled, only being phased out with no specified end date. So in reality, anything could happen in the near future including a ban on new petrol powered motorcycles and mopeds.

How will this affect us as motorcyclists?

Will it be possible to continue to use existing, pre ban petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles?
Yes, there are currently no proposals to extend the ban to existing vehicles.
However, it would seem likely that post 2035, the Government will bring in measures that will effectively make the use of those vehicles more expensive in an attempt to incentivise us towards making a switch to a zero emissions vehicle.. These could include a higher level of duty on fuel, a higher level of VED (road tax) for example.
The Government very rarely impose new legislation of this nature that act retrospectively. In other words, it is unlikely that they will ban vehicles produced before 2035 that do not comply.

Is this the end of the petrol engined motorcycle?
Yes. There’s no other way of looking at it. Whilst I have no doubt that we will be allowed to continue to use our liquified dinosaur fuel engined vehicles for some considerable time yet, way beyond 2035, they will, like the dinosaurs, die out as nobody will be producing them. There is no doubt that these new rules will be applied to motorcycles and mopeds and in all likelihood, this will happen not too much after 2035.
Remember 2 strokes? It wasn’t that long ago that you could buy a new, mass produced 2 stroke motorcycle. Actually, it was around 2007. 13 years ago. They weren’t banned, they were squeezed out of existence by ever more stringent emissions regulations.
In 15 years time, that’s what we are looking at for most internal combustion engined cars and vans, and shortly after that, motorcycles.
How many 2 strokes do you see on the road these days? Very few, only those that are kept by enthusiasts and classics. The same will happen again, though probably faster, because this time the change is a blanket ban on sales after 2035.
It seems likely that in cities at least, only zero emissions vehicles will be allowed even earlier than 2035; which will have a dramatic effect on sales and consequently on production, before the 2035 ban comes into place.

Prices of combustion engined vehicles will rise as we approach 2035 and prices of zero emission vehicles will fall as well, the closer we get to 2035.

Next time I ask the question, is it all doom and gloom?

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