Green driving

I’ve had a couple of conversations lately about environmental issues and the motor industry.  Most of them have focused on alternative fuels, and electric vehicles such as this stylish and sporty example that I came across by chance while looking at Boris Johnson’s use of the web.

But the other area where there’s scope for innovation is in new approaches to car ownership and use.  Car clubs such as Streetcar are now heavily advertised in London, and for somebody who doesn’t commute by car they clearly provide an attractive alternative to car ownership.  I also wonder if there’s a generational issue, that being attached to the idea of owning a car is almost a baby-boomer concept that  younger generations value less highly; Carl Mortished in the Times has some remarks on this.   Incidentally some of the comments suggest that Carl Mortished’s readers think that petrolheads aren’t obsolete, but have been priced off the road.  I’m not convinced: insurance for young drivers has been very expensive for as long as I’ve been driving, and conversely I think there are many more ways for young people to express their individuality than perhaps customising a car.

But I can also see a connection between car clubs and the use of different fuels.  Streetcar is a one-size fits all (OK, strictly two sizes, since they do delivery vans as well as cars) outfit at present, but I can see potential for a car club with cars using a blend of different fuel types.  Consider the case of a Londoner who commuted by tube, and used Internet shopping for their main weekly food shop, but who used their car regularly most weekends for a few local journeys, and very occasionally for longer journeys at weekends.  The default would be that they picked up an electric car from the car club every Friday evening.  Each Thursday they’d get a text message, remining them to reply if either (a) they didn’t need a car at all that weekend, or (b) they expected to drive more than 40 miles in the weekend so wanted a petrol or diesel car instead.

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One Response to “Green driving”

  1. Cormac Heron Says:

    I wonder if the car ownership thing is mostly to do with parentage. Once you get kids cars make life easier. I am a member of Streetcar although I am aware that after my pending marriage I may well be investing in a car – as well as moving out of the city. 🙂

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