Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Telegraph says the electric car has an uncertain future

Where next for the all-electric family car? The honest answer is that nobody – not even the companies which make them – knows for sure.

Our ruling politicians don’t have a clue either. This despite the fact that they’re endorsing the idea of battery-powered vehicles for the general public by giving £5,000 taxpayer-funded handouts to buyers. But it appears a classic case of do as we say, not do as we do. I say this because I’m not aware of any of our “leaders” using all-electrics as their personal or ministerial cars. I’ll admit I’m wrong if there is a leading politician who has done so, but I’m not expecting to hear from anyone.

Are the young Cameron and Miliband families, for example, running electric vehicles (EVs) as family wheels, or even buying them as second cars for shopping trips and school runs? What happened to leading by example?

What’s beyond doubt is that for the private motorist who has to meet his own running costs, the EV, with a rechargeable battery pack as its sole source of power, has severe limitations. First, price: the all-electric family-sized car has typically a list price two or three times higher than that of a petrol model of similar size. Second, range: most electric cars can travel about 100 miles (without “refuelling”), while petrol-engined models do several hundred, with some diesels achieving closer to 1,000.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that about 99 per cent of all cars sold/registered in Britain in 2011 were conventional petrol or diesel models and just over one per cent could be classed as an alternate fuel vehicle (AFV). This year, the story’s much the same – only about one car in every 100 is an AFV. I wonder if any real-world private motorists have bought one last year or this. It may well be that manufacturers and their dealers have registered or “sold” most of the EVs on Britain’s roads to themselves, to serve as company cars, press vehicles or demonstrators. Look out for them as very low-mileage used (and therefore considerably less expensive) cars.

we say - The subsidy is contentious, but when electric cars are priced at their true selling price they wont be viable, or  alot less viable

The US has now come into an ocean of natural gas. It's converting so many public vehicles to that -- and private cars will surely follow. Their NG is one sixth the price of Russian gas. but thats still burning and adding to the carbon footprint

one thing that has cropped up since the cold snap - battery's performance is cut in half by the cold, but you cant insualte them because if they get too hot they can explode

EVs at this stage are feel good toys for people with money to spare and other cars to offset the disadvantages of battery dependency.

watch this space

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