Skip to main content

The electric car elephant in the room

The 'affordable' Zoe
There was a discussion on today's Today programme about the pros and cons of introducing green numberplates for electric cars, enabling their owners to use bus lanes, park for free and such, to encourage us all to buy electric cars. There was rightly some doubt expressed that this would do the trick. But I was amazed there was not a single mention of the electric car elephant in the room - pricing.

I want an electric car - I really do. I would have one tomorrow. But I simply can't afford one. I can get a new petrol car at prices starting around £7,000. The cheapest mainstream electric car, the Renault Zoe, would cost me £21,000 - three times the amount. And that's for a silly short range. If I want an electric car with a range that is suitable for journeys other than commuting (which I do) there's nothing under around £35,000. But the cheapo petrol car can manage that range and more.

There it is, quite simply. Fiddling around with green numberplates just makes life better for those who can afford to spend a lot on a car. The majority of people can't. Long term, it shouldn't be a problem - the more electric cars they sell, the cheaper they are likely to become. But we don't have the kind of subsidies in place to make current electric cars affordable now. If the government really wants us to go electric soon, it's not a sales barrier they have to overcome, it's pure affordability.

This has been a green heretic production.


Comments

  1. Yes, this is a real problem. The lanes are necessary, perhaps, as an additional incentive at the beginning. But they need to be re-evaluated from time to time.

    Almost half the new cars in Norway are electric. Not only are the people rich, but the government can afford big subsidies, and the government is rich from selling petroleum which is burned outside of Norway (99% of electric power in Norway is hydro).

    In Norway, they stopped the free parking and so on because people were buying additional electric cars to take advantage of them, while keeping their petrol cars.

    One thing people get wrong is range. Above a certain minimum range, what matters is not how far one can travel, but how long it takes to charge. Actually, charging 15 minutes for 200 km is better than 30 minutes for 400, because the smaller battery will be cheaper and lighter and, to first order, the time spent charging is the same.

    Another problem: how to pay. With petrol or diesel, I see the price before I stop and can pay with cash or any common card. How many different systems are there for charging stations? How transparent are the prices?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good point about payment. I'd disagree slightly about charging, but that's because the only long range drive (about 200 miles/320 km) I do regularly is all on country roads except for the first 30/40 miles (50/60 km), and as such, recharging on the way is not an option.

      Delete
    2. Maybe not now, but presumably by the time you buy an electric car it will be possible to recharge on country roads as well.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Which idiot came up with percentage-based gradient signs

Rant warning: the contents of this post could sound like something produced by UKIP. I wish to make it clear that I do not in any way support or endorse that political party. In fact it gives me the creeps. Once upon a time, the signs for a steep hill on British roads displayed the gradient in a simple, easy-to-understand form. If the hill went up, say, one yard for every three yards forward it said '1 in 3'. Then some bureaucrat came along and decided that it would be a good idea to state the slope as a percentage. So now the sign for (say) a 1 in 10 slope says 10% (I think). That 'I think' is because the percentage-based slope is so unnatural. There are two ways we conventionally measure slopes. Either on X/Y coordiates (as in 1 in 4) or using degrees - say at a 15° angle. We don't measure them in percentages. It's easy to visualize a 1 in 3 slope, or a 30 degree angle. Much less obvious what a 33.333 recurring percent slope is. And what's a 100% slope