Despite the hydrogen hype, electricity will drive net zero transport

Cars, buses, trucks, scooters and even planes are going electric, and Britain needs an electricity grid able to cope with it, writes Onward’s Ted Christie-Miller

The UK’s record on transport emissions is poor. While surface transport emissions are currently at the same rate as they were thirty years ago, aviation emissions have soared by 86 per cent in this timeframe. To put this in perspective, emissions from electricity and manufacturing have plummeted by three-quarters (74 per cent) and three-fifths (56 per cent) in the same period.

Cars and vans are on their way to carbon neutrality. More fuel-efficient vehicles have mitigated but not stopped the increase in emissions, as traffic rates rose from 255 billion miles travelled a year in 1990 to 328 billion miles in 2018. Van use – many of which are used for deliveries – has increased by 30 per cent in the last decade, driving much of this rise in traffic.

The government’s landmark target of 2030 to phase out internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles is a serious statement of intent. But, crucially, it is also achievable. By 2022 there will be over 500 different EV models available globally, as Bloomberg NEF research has shown. Consumer choice and competitive pricing will be key to attracting new buyers to the market, putting us well on our way to the ICE phase-out in 2030.

Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) on the other hand, present a far more difficult problem. As the batteries to make HGVs electric would be

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