February 2021: Road to 2030
The UK Government has announced that in 2030 that all new diesel and petrol cars will be banned. This is one of the latest steps being taken by the government to reduce overall pollution levels.
Although this may sound drastic, the majority of new motor sales in 2030 are forecasted to be electric vehicles (EV). The plan is to help increase the amount of investment for electric cars. This way it can help ensure by the time the deadline comes there are affordable alternatives to replace new petrol and diesel cars.
Surveys have found that consumers are more likely to go for vehicle options that offer the best financial incentives, and electric vehicles seem to offer them. As a result, adoption rates for EVs are expected to be high.
April 2021: Volkswagen’s joke gone wrong
For April fools, Volkswagen decided to try something new, they made the announcement that a name change was happening. Their new name would be Voltswagen, supposedly to emphasise company’s increasing focus on electric vehicles.
However, following a convoluted and botched announcement which saw it reported as fact by the world’s media, Volkswagen later sheepishly revealed it as simply an April fools joke, and always intended as such. Many individuals took to social media and other communication channels to express their unhappiness with the manufacturer.
What could have been a light hearted joke ended up being viewed by many as a prime example of how Volkswagen still weren’t taking pollution seriously, and the company’s share price also took a small hit because of the stunt with a 3.2% drop once they confessed.
April 2021: Smart motorways, or not so smart motorways
There have been an increasing amount of safety concerns when it comes to smart motorways. If you’re unfamiliar with what makes a motorway ‘smart’, it’s one that doesn’t have a hard shoulder but instead another running lane. The aim is to open another lane to general traffic which can ease congestion.
Legal action may be on the cards with Highways England wanting to prevent any more from being constructed and to get the current ones changed. Otherwise, drivers who frequently use smart motorways are more likely to be involved in accidents that can result in serious injury or even death.
Since they have existed, it’s been known that very little consultation has been carried out between the government and the public. If more had been done, many believe that the situation drivers are facing today wouldn’t have happened.
July 2021: The age of E10
To help further reduce emissions, 95 octane fuel is being replaced with E10. This new type of petrol was rolled out in the summer of 2021 and could be a problem for some drivers. The majority of cars can use it, however, there are some exceptions. Any car that was built from 2011 onwards (that uses petrol, not diesel) is compatible with E10. Those that own vehicles that were made before 2011 will need to check if their car is suitable. (You probably don’t have to worry too much though – the majority will be fine, with approximately 95% being able to use E10.)
July 2021: Flying cars are officially here
That’s right, 2021 was the year of the prototype flying car. The hybrid vehicle takes just two minutes and 15 seconds to change between a car and an aircraft. It successfully completed a 35-minute journey between two airports in Slovakia.
The prototype runs on a BMW engine and cost £1.7 million to make. It can carry a maximum of two people and once in the air, cruises at a speed of 170 km/h. The driver/pilot in charge of the hybrid vehicle reportedly said the experience was very enjoyable and comfortable – it remains to be seen whether or not consumers at large will feel the same!
With signs that the hybrid market could become a lucrative sector, it’s expected that more prototypes will be developed with the intention of selling them to the public eventually.
2021 all wrapped up
There you have it, the top stories for 2021 relating to the car industry. It’s definitely been an eventful year with some big changes and future ones coming.
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