Commenting on COP 26 later this year, Michael Fabricant says: “Range anxiety and slow charging times still make electric cars unattractive for many. I have friends in Lichfield who own an electric car yet for longer jorneys they still use their diesel. And unless I lived on the Isle of Wight, I wouldn’t consider getting an electric car just yet.
“It’s not just infrastructure and charging points. Many motorists don’t want to have to stop for half an hour or far longer to recharge their vehicle when it takes just 5 or 6 minutes maximum to refill a tank of liquid fuel. The Government needs to recognise this at the upcoming COP 26 International Environment Conference in Glasgow later this year.
“But the future for electric cars is possibly brighter. Companies in Brisbane, Australia and in Israel are developing completely new types of battery using graphene, an allotrope of carbon – one of the most common elements on the planet. Depending on the battery size and charger power, these could give electric cars a longer range than conventional vehicles and as fast a recharging time from ‘empty’.
“Current estimates suggest, however, that these batteries won’t be available for 5 or 6 years yet, but they will be a game changer – if they come about with a manufacturing price that is realistic. So it is likely that the 2030 target of banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars could be achievable. But this will require the roll out of high powered charging stations throughout the country, a standard connector between car manufacturers, and the ability to generate sufficient electricity for the purpose.
“The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. If we are not going to use fossil fuels, a lot more electrical energy is going to be required. If this is going to be ‘green’ energy, where will all the additional windmills, tide barriers, hydro-electric dams, nuclear power stations, and photo-voltaic farms as well as additional power pylons all be placed? And will they be ready for the big switch over? This is far more demanding than HS2 and we know how unpopular that project has been.
“The provision of electric cars is the future, but politicians waving magic wands are not. COP 26 faces many challenges and electric cars may not be as ‘green’ as people think.
“As for me, I’m hanging on to my twin turbo petrol driven car until those battery issues have all been sorted” adds Michael.
Before entering Parliament, Michael was a Chartered engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.