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Kevin H 04-02-20 07:25 AM

What is the future of classic cars in the UK?
Given the UK Government's intention to ban the sale of new diesel, petrol and hybrid power cars by 2035, and a zero emission target for cars by 2050, what does the future hold for classic cars in the UK?

Geoff Kingston 04-02-20 11:49 AM

That is a question that seems to driving our motoring press round in circles between bans, charges exemptions, Ireland saying they wont issue MOT's for petrol and diesel cars after 2043 or 45 but intend to keep the rolling 40 year exemption for historic vehicles upto that date, effectively creating a cut off for modern classics made after 2003/2005, the magazine reporting that suggesting it would drive the price of older classics up.
They you have the warnings being issued to government that their targets are possibly unrealistic for reasons that include simple facts such as the cost of EV's which is too high for everyone to afford, the time it will take for them to filter through to the second hand market and the fact when they get old and cheap the batteries will be buggered and the cost of replacing those will be far more than the value of the cars.
The concept of any country meeting a zero emission target to me is a total joke which unless we all cease to exist will never be achieved, but that is another argument and not the question you asked, as far as EV's yes they wont have any exhaust emissions but the resources needed to build them are causing significant environmental damage in the countries they are being mined, building them will be no more environmentally friendly than building petrol or diesel cars, and our insurance companies are already considering increasing premiums for them because they are more expensive to repair.

Thor 04-02-20 02:33 PM

Worst case for classics is probably a limited supply of suitable fuels with high ethanol and bio-Diesel content or similar, leading to high running costs and so only use for shows and historic reasons. Classic cars will be to the roads rather like preserved steam locomotives are to the tracks.

I hope it won't be that bad, and that our leaders will realise it is not really about zero emissions but balanced emissions. Balanced emissions can include some air travel and some use of hydrocarbon-burning engines, as long as trees are growing healthily (etc.)

Pure battery electric vehicles are DEFINITELY not the answer for most vehicle uses at present. As Geoff says batteries are expensive, hard to recycle, and cause untold damage and misery where the special metals for batteries are mined. If you look at CO2 savings per unit of battery, proper hybrids are 13 times more effective at reducing CO2 than pure battery vehicles.

If you look at particulate emissions, the modern engines with particulate filters make those less polluting than battery cars because the dust produced from tyre wear exceeds the exhaust dust, and battery cars are heavier, so they have greater tyre wear.

Then there's the problem of electricity generation to charge the vehicles. The UK is proudly advertising that it is frequently not running any coal fired stations at all, but on Christmas day we nearly had power cuts. If the wind drops, and if more of our ancient stock of Nuclear stations go off line, we are stuffed AS WE ARE, never mind if we add a load of battery cars to charge up. We are already heavily dependent on the cables which bring power from France and Belgium, and I don't doubt the prices for those supplies will increase too.

Someone in Whitehall needs to wake up and smell the burnt out fuse !

Clive Foster 04-02-20 05:12 PM

Worst thing about all this climate change due to CO2 business is that the whole premise is flawed. Given that the protagonists have been banging on about it for about the last 30 years and nothing much has happened you have thought their media credibility would be worse than Chicken Little. I think tipping point in three years unless ... has been predicted at least 3 times now without period overlaps.

The so-called tipping point is physically impossible and increasing CO2 will have pretty much no effect on global temperatures. As anyone who ever goes out at silly o'clock on a winters morning will have noticed cloud cover controls surface temperatures. Clear, warm in the sun, winters day followed by clear night means 'kin cold or even ice first thing. Chilly cloudy day followed by cloudy night means merely chilly morning as the cloud reflects back much of the heat radiated from the surface during the night. Deserts don't do cloud so are notoriously hot during the day and cold at night.

Even if the so called CO2 band were completely blocked the actual amount of energy available to raise temperatures is limited. Despite the project CO2 fear graphs temperature cannot keep rising. I do, sort of, admire how the figures have been manipulated for presentation tho'.

The basic physics of the situation is that the earth is in radiation balance. It is warmed by radiation from the sun during the day and radiates heat back into space all the time. Temperature rises or falls to keep them in balance. Simple quantum physics allows us to calculate the exact amount of energy radiated, or absorbed, at any given temperature and specified wavelength by a theoretical construct called a Black Body that absorbs all the energy falling on it and re-radiates it. Its easy, but tedious, to convert things to real, non black body, things.

Above an average temperature of around -5C clouds start happening. On any planet with a working hydrosphere and plenty of water (that's ours) the warmer it gets the more cloud you get. Clouds reflect radiation, look they are white so what do you expect, and control the temperature mostly because they reflect more energy from sunlight back away from the earth than they do back down to it. The sun is a lot hotter than the earth so more energy and disproportionately more in the wavelengths that cloud reflects well. In my neck of the woods actual insolation (fancy word for how much sunshine hits the ground) is about half the theoretical "always clear sky" level.

Doesn't help the climate change mob case when you note that the carbon dioxide band is about 60-70% blocked anyway. Mostly due to water vapour. I measured it back around 1980 something for a project at RARDE, but that was low level and not strictly directly applicable here.

Given the explicit cloud effects with basic earth and a not quite black body results is relatively easy to set up sanity check calculations to set realistic limits on temperature changes due to varations in the atmospheric spectral transmission windows.

Now obviously as a retired white male with approximately 30 years professional experience in designing, building and performance assessment of infra red guidance, homing and target identification systems my opinion counts for far less than that of a Swedish schoolgirl who has found the absolute all universe best excuse for late homework. Even more galling when I have actually written what could be called a climate modelling computer program that actually works, as in gives adequately accurate results.

The big worry is that its all further evidence of the flight from reality of the folk in charge into decisions made on the basis of sounds good on twitter level rubbish concepts rather than reality. I guess the dangerous passive smoking thing really started it. Unpleasant though it may be its easy to show that its approaching impossible to get seriously beyond a pack or so a year passively. Effectively passive smoke is a poison gas so if the risk is measurable the full fat version would kill you in about a year. Same sort of thing for the various local air pollution scares. Poisonous gases just don't work that way.

Sounds like the spirit of Lysenko is back to haunt us!


(Puts hobby horse back in stable.)

Kevin H 05-02-20 01:42 PM

I'm not going to get into the climate change vs emissions debate, but regardless of the arguments and practicalities the UK Govt appears to be making far reaching legislation.

If new sales of petrol and diesel engined cars are to be banned by 2035, vehicle manufacturers will stop producing petrol and diesel powered vehicles for the UK market before that date, because no one will want to be left with stock of UK spec vehicles which they can't sell. Likewise there will be a tipping point for petrol manufacturers, importers and retailers when it is not worth supplying to the UK market.

Perhaps Thor's worst case scenario of a limited supply of suitable fuels at high cost, could actually be the best case scenario. If that's the case, what will it do to classic cars values, and what will it do to the not insignificant industry that supports classic cars?

Thor 05-02-20 04:46 PM

I understand (sort of !) what Clive is saying, but the case for not just having ever increasing amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere is being accepted by most people. Even if the temperature is not a problem, as Clive asserts, there is evidence of increased CO2 dissolved in the oceans, and so forth.

Anyway, notwithstanding all that, I think the engineers who understand about batteries and electricity generation know that Hybrids should not be banned so soon.

It would be a strange world if it became either impossible or pointless to try to keep classic cars on the road, but it could get to the point where so little use occurs that the supporting industries lose viability, etc. This seems like a terrible thing. Classic car use is such a tiny contributor to CO2, and the maintenance of older cars helps to reduce the number of new cars required, so in the global scheme it seems like an unnecessary oppression of something harmless, fun, and historically inspiring.

Kevin H 10-02-20 02:02 AM

Thor, I'm sure we all agree, it would be a terrible thing, for us and a significant industry which sells, maintains and supports classic cars. But I fear that will not stop the legislators and the growth of the EV market, which I believe is inexorable.

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