The UK have a reported budget of £255m (€279.86) for their new clean air strategy, which will ban the purchasing of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. The news was reported by BBC news earlier today, and comes following the recent announcement by French governments to switch to all-electric cars by 2040. This new clean air strategy was set up by the government following a high court case brought against them by environmental campaigners. The High court ruled in favour of the campaigners, and demanded the government set up a satisfactory clean air strategy to lower pollution.
The new strategy does not yet include a vehicle scrappage scheme though, and has yet to name any plans for the agriculture sector in particular.
Could this happen in Ireland?
The inevitable questions here are will the Irish Government soon follow suit?And what of the agriculture sectors how will this affect them?
According to figures released by the Central Statistics office the sales of electric and hybrid vehicles have been increasing. In 2014 a total of 222 electric cars and 954 hybrid vehicles were sold in Ireland in 2014. This increased to 476 in electric sales and up to 1559 in hybrid sales in 2015. This represents an increase over over 100% in electric car sales. There have been electric tractors already released onto the market, with John Deere recently releasing their own model. Read all about that here.
We spoke to Liam Hayde, who is the Irish area sales manager for New Holland, to find out his opinion on the future of electric vehicles in Agriculture. Liam told us he thinks electric tractors are not yet feasible, adding that huge batteries would be needed to power them. He told me that New Holland have already tested a hybrid drive tractor, which has both an electric drive and onboard diesel generator.
Liams opinion on the situation is that the technology could be produced today to produce efficient electric tractors, and says samsung and panasonic are currently working on new battery technology powerful enough for this. Though he did warn of the issues surrounding the tech currently, even in cars; "My friend has a Model 3 Tesla, which can only travel 180 miles per time on a full battery" he says.
He added, "It's ok when you can park up your car outside the office to charge, but when you are working 20 hours in a field on your own this is just not possible". He says the company have been switching their attention from electric though, as there is a significant storage issue involved and as he says the battery technology is currently not in place.
Liam Hayde continued by telling us of the latest plan in the works from New Holland. The company he says are currently working on a methane powered project, and have already tested 3 units in the UK. This new methane powered engine would mean the engine is powered by methane gas, though Liam did admit there still are dangers associated.
"We are currently working on a methane powered project and three units have already been tested in the UK. It has all gone well, with the only obvious problem the storage of methane."
Liam did add though that he thinks the implementation of all electric vehicles by 2040 would be possible.