The climate crisis is an unavoidable topic of conversation at present. Increasingly dramatic shifts in weather systems have punctuated the year, while scientists warn of globally significant shifts in sea temperatures.
With COP28 on the horizon, climate activists have been upping their game – including Just Stop Oil, whose divisive acts of rebellion have attracted front page attention and social media ire alike.
There are few industries with more direct impact on climate change than the automotive industry, which has hundreds of millions of motorists worldwide burning fossil fuels. As pressure rises for businesses and industries to address their impacts, so too have automotive businesses risen to the occasion – heralding a new, sustainable era of motoring.
The Evolution of Green Technology
Green technology in the automotive industry has existed for well over a decade, beyond of course automotive manufacturers’ efforts to improve fuel economy in their conventional gas guzzlers. Today, electric vehicle (EV) technology is not just commonplace, but ubiquitous. This is evident in the second-hand markets, too; when looking for an approved used Vauxhall Astra for sale at a dealership, there is a large chance that it will be a plug-in hybrid as opposed to a straight-up petrol vehicle.
Today, though, EVs are continuing to develop at a rapid rate, coincident with the rapid rate at which battery technology has been improving. The EVs of tomorrow will be more reliable than those of today, which are already going toe-to-toe with their fossil-fuelled counterparts.
Eco-Friendly Vehicle Manufacture
Of course, the vehicles themselves are not the only green aspect to today’s automotive industry. Manufacturers have also been striving to reduce their carbon emissions in the manufacturing process, both through carbon offset programmes and the responsible sourcing of raw materials. Switching to green energy sources has also been a vital shift.
One of the major roadblocks to proper EV adoption in recent years has been the slow rate of progress with regard to EV infrastructure. In order for EVs to be a mainstream form of transport, there needs to be at least equivalent public access to electricity as there is to petrol or diesel.
The UK’s charging infrastructure is expanding rapidly, but has not been doing so at a rate congruent with its net zero commitments. This is changing, though with commissions looking into speeding up processes and guaranteeing more infrastructure.
Infrastructure isn’t the only roadblock to wholesale adoption of green driving alternatives, though. Price has been another key motivator, where used vehicles remain a more popular alternative for most drivers – particularly in the midst of a punishing affordability crisis. Consumer adoption, in spite of these two major factors, has been astonishing. Intense fossil fuel lobbying has kept conventional vehicles in the limelight for all too long, but consumers are voting with their feet today for a better tomorrow.