Electric cars and selective taxation


An article written by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) John Kane-Berman sparked debate, with many members of the community commenting on his point of view. The subject? Electric vehicles in South Africa. From an environmental perspective, a lot of people think electric cars are the way to go and you can see why. Emission-free, they require little maintenance and can be recharged with sustainable energy (like solar, for example). The former IRR CEO wonders how the switch to electric cars can affect consumers in low- and middle-income countries, where cars like these are out of reach for many. Below, community member John Stegmann comes up with an idea that completely removes the need to own a car, providing people with a convenient and perhaps greener mode of transportation.


Henry Ford started. He made cars, which he did remarkably well. This is where his responsibility ended. Customers would come to the door of his factory to buy a car and take it away. Where they drove him, where they found fuel, that was the owner’s problem. Other automakers have followed suit.

This applies to manufacturers of bicycles, e-bikes and all-weather velomobiles. Human Energy + Electric Assistance PV is the most environmentally friendly and sustainable form of personal transportation for the vast majority of human pedestrians on Earth.

We kind of understand that, except we’re thirsty for cars and we’ll pay whatever it takes to get them. We will put up with traffic jams, road taxes, incredible fuel price hikes, fuel taxes and garage fees. Even the destruction of all life on the planet if no one stops us. The only reason officials penalize subsidies to buy electric cars is because they like to drive cars.

Trains are much more economical than cars. The railway has the flattest slopes and the widest possible bends. Steel wheels on steel rails have the lowest rolling resistance and the carriages collide. A freight train crosses the United States from coast to coast with the equivalent of a tank of “gas”; but it does not yet do so by using 100% renewable electric energy.

In the late 1950s, I was overwhelmed by the detrimental effect of car ownership on Pretoria’s charm as a green city. Widening roads and parking cars downtown means moving away from wide sidewalks to widening roads from two to four lanes, and reducing even more sidewalk space for parking; pedestrians have to squeeze past sleeping cars, breathe fumes and risk injury when crossing roads. Cars now dominate. In the surrounding urban areas, the veldt gives way to housing and associated infrastructure as the population explodes and motorists choose to live in the countryside and work in the city.

It made me think. What if there was a mode of travel that citizens found more attractive than owning and using a private car? What if this mode preserved the pedestrian character of the city and the peripheral poles?

Suppose there is a miniaturized railroad; instead of using trains carrying as many passengers as possible with distant stations, it was more of a landline service with lots of small two-seater cars and lots of stations.

Instead of the railroad being large with infrequent trains, it was narrow with regular activity, effectively carrying many more people per day, taking each of them directly, nonstop, from where they are to where. they want to be, at their own pace. , 24/7/365. No timetables.

For less than the price of a garage for your car at home, you could have a station for your private access to the service. From there you would travel to a friend’s house or apartment building, send the kids to school and home, go to work or shopping. Go out to dinner and catch a show at night, even if you’re elderly and don’t like driving at night. No need for a driving license. All trips are A-to-B non-stop and electrically powered. Before entering the system, it quotes the duration and cost variables for your planned trip. “If you book this trip now, you will get to your destination in x minutes at a cost of y. You decide.

A two- or three-lane line could be buried under a width of automobile traffic lane. A four-lane road is reduced to three or two lanes, freeing up space for cyclists, pedestrians or gardening. The compact “bandwidth” is achieved with carts no wider than a motorcycle. Instead of the two rails being side by side (unstable), they would be one above the other and the carriages would have four wheels instead of two.

More convenient, much more affordable, much better service, more space for cyclists, pedestrians and plantations, fresh air and very effective in reducing global warming. And more.

Unfortunately, it was way too far along at the time. Computers were nowhere ready for this; people couldn’t see the need for it either. Is it too late now?

John Stegmann

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