Call me an old cynic, but I think we're being led down the garden path here. To draw an analogy, let's use aviation. The jet-engined aircraft will fly a long way quickly and use a lot of fuel. The turbo-prop will fly shorter distances slightly less quickly and use significantly less fuel. Currently, the distances petrol and diesel-driven vehicles can be driven are limited only by fuel consumption and the fuel can replenished anywhere. Electric vehicles (well cars really), have limited range and currently the options for replenishment are somewhat limited. If you buy an electric car and you live in a terraced house in Accrington for example, how the hell do you charge it every night?
Speaking of being led down the garden path, the proliferation of wind farms in the UK is being touted as the best thing since sliced bread, but the maintenance cost of this equipment is phenomenal, according to someone I spoke to last year, whose job it is to maintain them.
The raw materials to produce electric car batteries are a finite resource. Much has been written about the poor wages paid to miners and the poor conditions in which they work. Some of the raw materials have to be moved halfway around the world in large quantities on merchant ships, some of which still use sulphurous fuel, which is hardly underlining the green credentials of the vehicle it is fitted to. Containers for used conventional batteries are to be found in most supermarkets these days, but it took about 50 years for the technology to develop to recycle alkaline batteries. How long will it take to develop a method od recycling the batteries powering an electric car.
Many will remember how, 20 years ago, we were being told that diesel cars were the way forward, so people went out and bought them in huge numbers. Notwithstanding the fact that the German manufacturers misrepresented the toxic emissions, it was seen that they were more polluting than petrol-driven vehicles, which the British (and other) governments then used an excuse to raise the price of the fuel. Who is to say that in say 20 years time, we will get a rerun of this, with re-charging sites charging a Queen's ransom for the use of them and the governments taking their cut, just as they do now.
There is currently an epidemic of catalyst converters being stolen from modern cars, largely because the price of some of the raw materials used in their manufacture is skyrocketing. Surely in the long term, the same thing will happen with the batteries which power electric cars.
Whatever the outcome, there is one thing above all about electric vehicles which I dislike, and I hope the manufacturers will take on board if they are ever produced in large quantities They are too quiet! A couple of years ago I worked at an electric car event at Silverstones and I was nearly run over several times, simply because I couldn't hear the vehicles. I should say that years of being in close proximity to turboprop engines has damaged my hearing, but not to that extent. I have heard that the manufacturers plan to introduce artificial engine noise, though I haven't seen any evidence of that as yet. Maybe it's time to bring back the red flag!
I'm not against electric cars per se. I just fear that once established, their operation will become increasingly expensive in the longer term, and there will be little overall benefit to the planet.