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Monday, February 26, 2024
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There is no switching back

Right, Christmas is all over with, so it’s best to move on as quickly as you can, shove all that lovely wrapping paper into the recycling bin and turn your mind to what you want to happen, or what you think might happen, in 2024.

Not an easy task. After a period of contemplation, one can easily arrive at the conclusion that coming up with a useful present for 92-year-old grandad Jack was probably not so difficult after all.

The season of giving has promptly become the season of predictions.

The key to predictions, in my experience, is to cover your bases while not giving the appearance of sitting on the fence, or fences. A solid caveat or two can go a long way to saving one’s blushes or having egg thrown on one’s face by some clever clogs with a long memory.

It also pays to have a solid defence at the ready, given that said predictions have a likelihood of coming unstuck. A well-rehearsed retort is handy when returning [thoughtful] shots across the bow of those who were not brave enough to make a prediction of their own. These people could also be described as wise, having been down the often parlous prediction path many times before.

It would seem I have yet to learn that particular salutary lesson.

That said, my learned colleague from the NZ Herald, Liam Dann, [opinion piece to the right] has put his considerably greater reputation on the line and covered some important economic predictions for next year, so I am going to focus on just one. And it’s not so much a prediction but the observation of a growing trend that I believe will gain momentum next year, and for many years to come.

I refer to the global switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and, more specifically, the increasing use of electricity and batteries to power us along.

The switch will not go in a straight line, it will have its detractors, and some parts of the world will move faster than others to wind power, solar power, tide power, and the like, but the change from the old to the new will not be stopped. Like it or not, agree with it or not, the switch will not be turned off. The die is well and truly cast.

In our corner of the world, more than 30 per cent of consumers and a similar percentage of small businesses are considering buying an electric vehicle in the next 12 months. Not all of them will, of course, because they are hoping the price of an electric vehicle will come down. We all are. Have you cast an eye at a car yard lately? Where there were just a couple of electric offerings, there is now a good portion of the lot. That will grow.

The trend continues. Almost half of consumers think their homes will have switched to mostly electric power tools and equipment, such as electric lawnmowers in the next 10 years. That’s a full decade, but that consumers are thinking this way suggests a lot. Indeed, four out of 10 think their household will have an electric car, and a similar number think they will have an electric bike/scooter or motorbike by 2034.

You don’t have to join in, it will happen around you, ready or not.

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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