Electric cars: Charging ahead?

 

WATCH: Rory Cellan-Jones tries out one of the battery recharge stations

For the last couple of days, I've been trying out the most expensive gadget anyone has ever lent me.

It's a Mitsubishi MiEv, an electric car which costs around £28,000. I had borrowed it to use in some reports on a new network of charging points at Britain's motorway service stations.

The idea is that electric motoring will only take off if motorists aren't permanently worrying about running out of power.

Tootling around town in the car, I was impressed - it was surprisingly nippy, easy to park, and a comfortable drive.

But right now it's hard to see how electric cars add up as a proposition for anyone but a wealthy environmentalist.

The car dealer at Mitsubishi tried to explain how rapidly the car would pay back the initial cost in saved petrol and congestion charge costs - but how many motorists will swallow that when they could get two or three petrol cars for the price of an electric vehicle?

And even with the new charging point network, you will end up spending hours at service stations waiting until your car is ready to go.

And, having watched in horror as the power gauge flashed a warning to me on my way back into London from the M25, "recharge anxiety" looks like it may be a recurring anxiety for electric motorists.

 
Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology correspondent Article written by Rory Cellan-Jones Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 48.

    I am not saying hydrogen is the answer now but the more people who try to pretend that mass ev usage is practicable the less development goes into something that would work. Everything is difficult to develop at 1st, but that doesn't mean we should throw money and huge tax subsidies at something functionally inferior. Most worthwhile things are difficult, or they would have already been done.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 47.

    so as we get more an more renewable this model will not be self financing and will cost the government a of money for the 25 year life span off them. Back to drax, biofuel is actually more carbon intensive than coal, due to processing and transportation. It isn't carbon neutral at all as there will always be a knock effect in regards to food land no matter where we build it.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 46.

    Also, with Bolivia being very protective of litium, a huge shift towards electric cars will drive the costs of batteries up. Hydrogen isn't the answer at the moment due to the lack of renewable generation, and the relatively large amounts of platinum for fuel cells (hence their current costs). Also with the feed in tariff mentioned above, this is funded by carbon taxes on big CO2 producers,

  • rate this
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    Comment number 45.

    Some of the people here need a reality check. Our renewable energy is not stable enough and can't cover what we need. Nuclear is the only viable option and we're not far enough down that road. I'm an Engineer on a Coal station, our efficiency is 33% (and like petrol, our fuel takes energy to extract and transport). The newest gas stations are 60% efficient but then means we rely too heavily on gas

  • rate this
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    Comment number 44.

    Watched top gear. Lots of positives and the same negatives as here, but again the charging is the reason it will be usurped by hydrogen. petrol/diesel also dead end. do not accept a sticking plaster solution.

 

Comments 5 of 48

 

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