From 2040, the government has decreed that all new cars and light vans will be electric. There are even moves to bring this date forward.
The reason for this is that burning fossil fuel is killing us all because of the unavoidable air pollution not only in cars but at our power stations. Diseases include brain function, cancer, lung, liver and heart diseases. Many of these strange childhood illnesses and ailments we have today are down to air pollution. There is evidence that our very DNA may be affected … so corrupting all our descendants.
It’s not even theoretically possible to clean up car emission gases to a safe level. We can clean up power station emissions, but the highly toxic (and often radioactive) waste gathered still has to be disposed of. Anything we extract from the ground brings with it a deadly cocktail of heavy metals which have to be dealt with somehow. And just burying them is not enough. (Yes, coal ash can be radioactive.)
The electricity used to power electric car may still come from power stations but around 75% less fossil fuel is consumed overall compared with a petrol car, and emissions at the power station can be better controlled. Street emissions are zero.
Electric cars can be charged at home using the onboard battery charger taking several hours or fast charged elsewhere taking around half an hour.
People using electric cars for commuting can charge the car by night at home using the slow charger when there is ample capacity on the electricity grid to meet this demand at the moment. This will work whilst electric cars number in the thousands. If they were to run into the tens of thousands, this spare capacity would be used up. The situation is even worse for electric cars used for long distance travel when charging en route is needed. Nobody wants to hang about waiting but even a rapid charge may take half an hour, and a 60Kw supply is needed to achieve this. (As compared with 3Kw from a 13a socket.)
Now, if we examine this situation compared with refuelling a petrol car, there are major problems. Even being optimistic, it will take at least five times as long to refuel an electric car compared with the petrol equivalent. People will hook up and wander off; which means they could be hooked up for longer still. This means that maybe ten times as many refuelling points would be needed, each one of 60 kW. On the motorway, maybe a hundred points would be needed at each service station. It becomes immediately apparent that in no way can our electricity system meet this demand either in terms of power generated or distributing it. The country is already struggling to meet electricity demands.
The government has come up with the idea that every new home should have a dedicated electric car charging point. Being helpful? Not on your life! This means it can be separately metered and taxed. You didn’t really think the tax man would lose out on fuel duty, did you? It’s also a sop to hide the fact that you very likely won’t have a car of any description in our coming brave new world.
They have also mooted the idea that every street light should have a charging point. This is yet more drivel, as most street lights only have very light cabling, meaning the street would have to be dug up to replace it and many street lamps would have to be moved to the pavement edge. More sop, it’s not going to happen!
When you take into account the cost of an electric car and depreciation, motoring is once more going to be the province of the well off. More people will have to work from home. The rest of us will be back on the (electric?) train. Maybe even HS2, but that’s another story.