I have mentioned electric cars many times from the Tesla to the Noddy Car. Some questions remained unanswered though and will be only in the fullness of time. Electric cars presently enjoy a subsidy of £5k each paid to you by the Government. Actually that grand gesture of Chris Huhne or whoever at the time gave it away is paid for by you and I! One way or other we, the public, pay for this largesse. I have a couple of facts now. Electric cars pay no road tax and no congestion charge in London. So if we all changed to electric cars, who will pay for the roads, police and hospitals. What would undoubtedly follow would be road pricing so we would all end up for paying anyway had we an electric, gas, diesel petrol, air, hydrogen or pedal powered automobile. However another freedom would have been lost to the state. Secondly the fact remains today that in practice you are not saving the world but transferring your exhaust pipe to the nearest power station. Energy density comes in here and that is another cat’s cradle. More facts you ask. Depreciation is the true deal breaker. A new Nissan leaf, middle of the range is about £28490 before the rebate. A 2011 second hand Leaf is for sale by ECO cars at £11995. That is £16500 depreciation in just over two years. Add to this the replacement cost of a new battery at £5/8k and electric motoring is only for those with long pockets. Even a second hand deal comes with the caveat that it will shortly cost the average price of a new micro car to keep on the road. Now the state is here to help you and in one part of the country; I shall spare their blushes by not naming such poor management of limited resources; a charging point has been installed at the cost of £100,000. It has been used 14 times last year. Is that one car fourteen times or fourteen cars once. Whichever way that works out at £7142 per “tank of fuel”. Now I know petrol is now up in the stratosphere but even a fairly large car could get about 110 tanks full on that. By comparison and being generous, an electric car would go about 756 miles on that against the petrol cars 56,000 miles. If using a fuel efficient car of a similar size to the leaf like the Seat Leon, the difference could be around 80,000 miles. Now I know this is having a little fun with figures but the next time someone says that electric cars are the future, ask whose?
So essentially electric cars are a political statement by those that can afford the high cost and who no doubt fly several times a year to distant destinations for their holidays and buy the sort of food imported from great distance rather than supporting local agriculture. An urban “elite” that supports wind but doesn’t live near it and has energy ‘saving’ devices in homes festooned with lighting, computers, I-pads and massive TV screens. That buys green tarriff power that actually comes from a fossil fuel power station and probably reads the Guardian. The rest of us that travel more than twenty five miles to the local shops and have limited financial resources will stay with our fossil fuelled land rovers that are ecologically sound, as they don’t need replacing every three years, and live a far more sustainable life.