Ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 may not be realistic because the electric vehicle charging network isn’t close to being ready, a government advisory report has warned.
Sir John Armitt, head of the National Infrastructure Commission, said there was a “real risk” to the deadline because of the slow progress of installing new electric chargers.
Drivers will not switch away from fossil fuel cars quickly enough if they are not confident of being able to charge electric vehicles, the commission warned in a report published on Wednesday.
The electric vehicle charging network is “significantly behind where it needs to be” and without more chargers drivers “will not have the confidence to make the switch to electric vehicles”, the report warns.
The National Grid is paying households to ration their power usage at peak times amid a scramble to reduce pressure on Britain’s energy infrastructure.
From Friday up to 1.4m households will be paid if they cut their normal electricity consumption at certain two-hour periods during the day, as an experiment to see how households’ behavior might be changed.
The move is a pilot scheme intended to pave the way for a broader overhaul of the country’s billing system as the UK ditches reliable but dirty fossil fuel plants.
Diesel cars tend to be more fuel-efficient with lower emissions, and Mr Brown hailed them as the greener and cheaper option. Over a decade and a half, the number of such vehicles on British roads quadrupled.
What didn’t emerge until much later — although it was no secret in the motor industry or among government officials — was that diesel cars also emitted greater quantities of other pollutants, nitrogen oxides and particulates that damage air quality and human health.
…What [the Government] fails to tell us, however, is that electric cars are not the answer for many people, for a host of practical reasons. These include their upfront cost, limited range, the time it takes to charge batteries, the new infrastructure needed for charging points and the extra power required to supply them.
Even more alarmingly, a report in the journal Nature suggests that because electric cars are heavier than other vehicles, they will likely kill more occupants of other vehicles in traffic accidents.
As for climate change, electric cars will do little to arrest it. So for now, at least, they are one of the least effective and most expensive ways to cut carbon — and economically they are a bad bet.