I have a prediction for the coming decade – it’s the era of the small car. Think of how many cars Hyundai, Kia and the like have sold because of the now defunct Scrappage Scheme. I’ve been lucky enough to drive most of their ‘scrappage stars’.
All of them have tiny, polar bear friendly engines and if you hit a pedestrian you’d not hurt them – you’d be giving them a cool metallic pillow to snooze on. Even at 35mph, when creepy little girls previously had a 15% chance of living. Now their parents can let them play in the road as much as they like.
Now, think how many of those scrappage cars are going to be fed back into the system by people who bought their chunk of ‘cheap car’ while they could and gradually got bored with them.
It won’t be immediate, it’ll take time. But soon, perhaps 2012, we’ll begin seeing legions of ‘L’ and ‘P’ plated i10s and Picantos outside Sixth Form collages all over the UK. Then they’ll migrate to universities. Like a small, easily repairable flock of metal seagulls.
It’s inevitable that ‘poachers’ will take a few out over time. The elderly will keep theirs until the day they die. A few of the ‘P’ plated examples will park themselves in the bumpers and doors of other cars, or find themselves upside down in a hedge.
These are necessary casualties though – the strongest of the flock will continue to soldier on until they’re either handed over to other, younger family members or sold to someone looking for a small runabout ‘For the station and such like’.
The ones that aren’t lost will end up probably (knowing the average person) in a mild state of disrepair, squeaking their way around an estate. Or as banger racers. This will, however, necessitate another scrappage scheme.
In 10, perhaps 15 years, time the government (possibly Chinese) will encourage us (maybe through taxation) to get rid of our old, polluting, knackered cars and buy a new ‘Splendid Pici10’ with up to $30,000 discounts using government subsidies. And then this whole sorry affair will start again.
Seeing as we’re currently in the ‘future’, what does the next lot of ‘future’ hold for us? I’d like to see the combustion engine still in full swing, albeit with some sort of eco-mod on it that allows it to spew out V8 noises, yet only emit a cool breeze which smells of fabric softener and freshly baked bread.
I imagine we’re going to be taxed through nose if we choose to stick with a good ol’ fashioned petrol engine. Even a 1.1-litre hatch. We’ll have to accept a tiny ‘golden handshake’ to drive an electric car that will, hopefully, be vastly different to the i-MiEVs and Leafs we have today.
For the meanwhile I’ll take a Tesla Roadster. In red.
by ALEX GOY, www.alexgoy.com