It has recently been announced that the government of the United Kingdom are intending to invest £35 million into improving the electric and hybrid vehicle industry in this country. Some critics have argued that this money could be better spent on other things, like healthcare or defence strategies. However, proponents of the hybrid vehicle industry say that these investments will be more beneficial than many people realise. Government spending is often interconnected in ways that people might not normally consider.
The hybrid vehicle market is slowly growing, with European trend reports showing that electric vehicle sales are increasing exponentially. Increasing sales in this area should lead to further growth for hybrid vehicle manufacturers. If the government wishes to attract hybrid vehicle manufacturers to the United Kingdom, it is important that the country has a strong electric vehicle infrastructure. Without this infrastructure, large scale producers are likely to choose to take their manufacturing bases elsewhere.
For the sake of the economy, it is important that steps are taken to encourage big companies to choose Britain as their base. Keeping car manufacturers in the United Kingdom and attracting new manufacturers to join them could help to secure thousands of jobs for British workers. On the other hand, if existing vehicle manufacturers choose to take their major bases elsewhere, thousands of jobs could be lost.
Building the electric vehicle infrastructure will also encourage home-grown companies to get more involved with the development of new forms of hybrid transports. Both British university research departments and privately funded initiatives in the United Kingdom are well-placed to make real progress in this industry, which could help to change the world. Britain was previously a leader in the car industry and could be again if the right stimulus was available. In a world where money is power, leading the way in a significant industry can help a country to develop sway and influence in other areas.
Petrol and diesel vehicles have a huge impact on public health, because petrol and diesel vehicles are significant contributors to air pollution in the United Kingdom. Around 20% of all carbon dioxide emissions in Europe come from motor vehicles, which is equivalent to around 3.5% of all global carbon dioxide emissions. Other emissions that are produced by petrol and diesel vehicles include; carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and complex hydrocarbons. All of these substances are known to pose risks to humans when present in high enough concentrations. Some scientists also believe that they contribute to global warming. Finally, these emissions are also harmful to the buildings that we live in and work in. The chemicals react with the stones in many older buildings and gradually wear them away. These buildings also become discoloured over time.
The United Kingdom has some of the most densely packed roads in Europe. It is estimated that around 40,000 people die early every year from medical conditions that are linked to air pollution. This includes respiratory illnesses, circulatory illnesses and a range of other problems caused by the array of chemicals which are pumped into the air by the combustion of fossil fuels. Children and the elderly are at particular risk from the effects of air pollution.
The rise in childhood asthma can be attributed, in part, to the growing number of vehicles which are producing fine particle emissions. Exhaust fumes may reduce lung function in two ways for asthmatic children; firstly chemical particles can clog the respiratory system which prevents oxygen from being absorbed properly; and secondly, fine particles irritate the lining of the lungs and may cause allergic reactions. This greatly increases the chances of that person suffering an asthma attack. Reducing levels of air pollution in the country, especially in cities, could help to cut the number of people who are affected by these conditions. This could also help to save money for the NHS.
Although electric vehicles normally produce some emissions at the point where the charging electricity is created, the overall emissions levels have been found to be much lower. Lowering emissions levels from the vehicles themselves can also help to alleviate air pollution hotspots around busy roads and in big cities.
Moving towards electric vehicles rather than vehicles which are powered by petrol and diesel could help to improve energy security for the United Kingdom. The UK cannot produce enough oil to meet all of its own needs, and therefore the country relies on importing substances from other countries. Because the UK is still so reliant on oil and energy sources, these countries have more sway and influence over our international relations. Although fossil fuels may still be needed to charge these vehicles up, the electricity which is generated may come from renewable sources instead. These changes can help to reduce the countries reliance on petrol and diesel which has been made from oil imported from foreign sources.