On July 6 2017 the French environment minister, Nicolas Hulot, made the radical statement that the country would end the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040.
While the minister gave few details on implementation, or if the sales ban will include hybrid cars, it comes hot on the heels of the car maker Volvo’s announcement that from 2019 it will cease launching new lines that are powered by an internal combustion engine. In a recent visit to a shopping mall, I was surprised to see a Tesla car showroom among the usual high-street chains, busy with “petrol heads” (though should that be “electric heads”?) looking at the latest high-end electric models from California.
Does this mean we are approaching a turning point in the often hyped electric car revolution? If so, what are the implications for Rye – a town which, according to Zap Map, doesn’t host a single electric charging point; whose car park ownership is fragmented, and where on-street parking is chaotic, difficult or illegal?
If we are to accept, as I do, that the electric car is the future, how is Rye going to adopt the technology? Who, from the multiple layers of local government (town, district and county) is taking the lead and planning for the implementation of electric power at the kerb-side and in Rye’s many car parks.
I would argue that we should use this opportunity to have a fresh and radical look at parking in Rye. I would call for all car parks in Rye to be consolidated and managed by a single entity, which would then have the responsibility of installing and maintaining the electric infrastructure.
I would use the opportunity to revisit road signage so visitors following “town centre” signs are encouraged into Rye’s car parks and not directed under the Landgate into town. I would extend the residents’ parking permit system and strictly control all non-resident parking within the Citadel while also introducing a single annual tariff for residents to park in any car park to recharge their car. And finally, like many councils across the country, I would hire a private firm to police the system to stamp out the current appalling parking abuse that takes place across Rye.
If, as I believe, we are approaching a tipping point with advances in battery power, Rye needs to start planning now for its electric future.
In the words of the Human League:
We’ll always be together
However far it seems
We’ll always be together
Together in electric dreams