03rd October 2017

The fuel debate seems to be showing no signs of stopping, with some articles declaring the impending end of the internal combustion engine as we know it! Volvo have now declared that only electrified car engines will be produced from 2019. The government have placed a ban on petrol or diesel-powered cars from 2040. But what does this mean for businesses and their company car policies? Or individuals about to replace their current car? We delve deeper into the latest fuel story.

No sooner had we started to consider that petrol was now a viable alternative, we then read that from 2019 all new Volvo models will be electrified and very soon after, the government announced a ban on the sale of purely petrol or diesel powered new cars from 2040. 

The statement from Volvo is a first from any manufacturer, but what does it mean? All future vehicles will either be hybrid or fully electric. In some cases, this will mean the 48volt mild hybrid that most manufacturers of larger vehicles use, will need to implement to meet future emission targets. Given the availability of plug-in vehicles in the Volvo range today, both petrol and diesel, this feels more like a natural evolution rather than a revolution! 

As for the statement from the Government, that's 23 years away! The doubters are saying we would need an extra 10 power stations the size of Hinkley Point C or 10000 wind turbines to cope with the extra demand on the grid. We already have cars that can drive themselves so we should hardly be surprised that engine technology will change in the next 23 years. Just think back 23 years to 1994, when air conditioning wasn't a standard fit, satellite navigation was hardly heard of, diesels were slow and sluggish and most cars came with a cassette player. 

So what does this mean for us today? Do we abandon our diesel or petrol cars and switch our personal or company cars to electric cars tomorrow? Are our current cars about to become worthless junk as legislation seeks to replace them with electric cars? 

The news makes for great headlines; filling newspaper columns and creating work in recent weeks for industry experts. But for now, we should just make informed decisions and choose the vehicle that best suits our business and personal requirements; based on our total mileage needs, what we carry in terms of equipment, people, animals and whatever week-end activities we get up to. If you're worried about future values then contract hire or PCP can remove that risk and if you're running your next vehicle for more than five years the residual is probably not a major concern. 

Change is coming, of that there is little doubt. Technology is moving forward in every aspect of our lives and we should be aware of it, but as of today we should set our car policy or choose our next vehicle based on our current and expected requirements over the next 3-4 years. As yet there is no vehicle that is really considered future proof unless of course Tesla is on your current shopping list! 

We'll save that for another discussion!