The momentum around automotive fuels, and what kind of motor vehicles we’ll be driving in the future seems to be really building into something more tangible than previously seen. Last month came the news that a global initiative to drive use of hydrogen (see News page 4), had been agreed at the World Economic Forum in Davos. There has been much talk about the merits of hydrogen as an energy resource for a long time, but there have always been many technical issues to be resolved. Clearly much progress in hydrogen and fuel-cell technology is being made, to the point that a group of energy, transport and industry companies aka ’the Hydrogen Council’ have pledged to put hydrogen among the key solutions of the energy transition.
Elsewhere UK automotive executives expect that battery electric vehicles will dominate the marketplace by 2025, and predict diesel technology will be phased out, according to KPMG’s latest Global Automotive Executive Survey. Scarily 62% of UK automotive executives view diesel technology as a ’thing of the past’ (see News page 7). Indeed I was in a VW dealership the other day and told in a whisper not to go for a diesel-engined vehicle, despite the fact that the showpiece Passat quite surprisingly is only available in a diesel version. As if VW needs salesmen like that with its current problems!
BP has just produced its latest energy outlook, predicting that efficiency targets and lower battery costs will spur electrification in motor transport. Globally it expects the number of electric vehicles will rise to 100 million (from 1.2m) by 2035.
PRA chairman Brian Madderson is right to suggest the big issues for the Association in 2017 are alternative fuels and climate change (see Industry Focus page 25). It’s a good job someone is on the case to represent the views of fuel retailers as any new legislation is implemented.