Friday, May 11, 2007

Dealing with Petroleum Addiction, British Style

The British Government is attempting to strangle the electric car baby in its London cradle.

The Times Online reports the British government's Department for Transport (DfT) has conducted a safety test on the all-electric Reva G-Whiz and found it wanting. The small, 45mph zero-emission vehicles have found a ready market in London - 850 sold so far - where electrics are exempt from the stiff daily congestion charge for driving in central London.

City government under Ken Livingston has been encouraging use of such cars. But now the central government, long hostile to alternative-fueled vehicles (it has cracked down on vegetable-oil fueled cars), "decided to buy a G-Wiz and carry out its own crash test after becoming concerned by the rapid growth in sales." Concerned with the results, the DfT took the unusual step of releasing its finding early and is "urgently seeking a review of the European regulations covering the sale of the cars." The car, classified as a "quadricycle," weighing under 400kg without the battery, is fully legal under existing rules.

The world's major auto manufacturers have steadfastly refused to build electric cars. The world's governments have refused to set sufficient incentives or mandates, with the exception of California which eventually backed down. Now the stars have aligned for a successful electric city car market in Britain, and New Labour is looking for ways to shut it down.

Conservative MP Boris Johnson blogs "Banning the G-Wiz sums up Labour" in a most amusingly perverse Tory manner about the issue.
They want to ban it, of course. No, wait. It's even wetter than that. They want Brussels to ban it for them!....It's as though we have got into some weird S & M relationship with the EU, in which ministers go around asking for correction. After years of ritual humiliation at the hands of Madame de Bruxelles, the fabled dominatrix, the man in Whitehall has become addicted to discipline.

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