I love the idea of the electric car. I am less sure that the pedestrian will do as I have already nearly been flattened in a car park by a hybrid car reversing quietly without looking. Will they need to be fitted with bleepers like those heavy lorries? My utopia would be an electric car that you drive in to your parking bay and your solar, or in my case micro hydro/solar, automatically recharges my car without me needing to do anything. Bit like your electric toothbrush. We have the technology. Free travel; and electric cars don’t pay road tax or congestion charges. Utopia! I don’t think that it would last for long before the Chancellor gets all huffy and finds a way to charge us per mile. He already wants to do that anyway. There are a few minor concerns though. How do people without an off-street parking space charge their cars? What happens in the middle of winter when we don’t get much sunshine and the burn is all frozen up? How about the summer when the burn dries up? Although we have more daylight, we may actually be using our cars more. I note that an electric car took four days to travel between London and Edinburgh due to re-charging stops. The stage coach used to only take three days. Are our holidays to be restricted to within fifty miles of our home? If you run out of power you can’t very well walk to the nearest garage for a can, can you? In summer if you use air-con you loose twenty five per cent of your range and in winter a heater eats fifty per cent. As we use less petrol, the petrol stations and refineries close. An electric powered tractor, an electric powered digger, electric powered quad bikes? And one final caveat, imagine the drain on the grid if everycar owner relied on electric and plugged in as soon as they got home. To replace petrol and deisel with electric would require the sort of capacity that no amount of wind farms will ever supply. Would the boss accept mass absenteeism because it was a still night and electricity supply was insufficient to charge all those millions of electric cars, buses and lorries? Regrettably, I have to conclude that electric cars have their limitations. Great as a city shopping car but otherwise, as a Daventry MP said of wind farms, as much use as a cat flap in a submarine. The halfway house is the Hybrid car. Available and a practical solution even if it’s actual fuel saving could be debatable. So is buying a hybrid car really just tokenism? The only difference between an old man and a young boy is the cost of his toys. So I have to conclude that the day of the electric car is still to come. Pity, I was looking forward to being able to go out for a trip without thinking how much it is going to cost. Hybrid are here and they are evolving. However their fuel consumption can sometimes be bettered by standard deisel. Costs of replacing batteries are horrendous. Wild recommendations from the DECC as to running costs and resale value of electric cars just, as much from the DECC, don’t hold water. However it is a case of you pays your money and takes your choice. As a Climate Change statement, they tell everyone a lot about you! It seems to be a very good way of separating you from even more of your cash. Fuel cell technology or Bio-gas? It is an exciting time for transport. The future is nearly here. the VW L1 Concept deisel/electric hybrid does 189m per gallon. Can we afford it, or more importantly have we got the spare energy capacity, to make it viable. Not if we are going to rely on renewables. Only a large committment to nuclear would provide that sort of capacity, and that is going to be very capital intensive. Can we actually afford that sort of committment?
Is the future nearly here?