WITH the usual massive media fanfare Nissan has announced the launch of the first purpose-built electric car. My immediate reaction is to say: so what!
In recent years a number of car manufacturers have jumped onto the electric car bandwagon and we can now choose between full electric and hybrid (a combination of electric and petrol driven) motor vehicles.
Naturally the sandalistas are supporting the development of electric cars on the basis that petrol equals carbon, carbon equals footprints and, as we all know, footprints are bad for us.
What nobody has explained is: (a) the high production cost of electric cars, reflected in the retail price, and (b) the cost of recharging the damn things.
I’m not talking about the meter that will click over every time you plug your new AC/DC vehicle in to the mains.
I am talking about the absolute fact that every ounce of electrical energy must be generated in a power station.
Where electric cars are concerned, the big, massive, question has always been: where will the electricity come from?
In general terms I have long been an advocate for nuclear energy which should suit the plug-in-and-drive electric car brigade.
Assuming that conventional electricity generation is anathema, the current alternative options simply don’t work. Wind turbines have been shown to be expensive and inefficient and only viable with huge government subsidy (paid from your taxes).
Bio fuels need a lot more work before becoming a practical option and wave power hasn’t taken off.
In my opinion we should be investing in two scientific developments for the future.
First, as already stated, nuclear will keep the lights burning when we need them.
Yes, there is an issue about waste products but that is solvable. The second is continued refinement of hydrogen-powered motor vehicles that do not draw power from the national grid.
Petrol stations can be converted to become hydrogen stations. The only exhaust emission is water and cars can be produced at least as expensively as electric cars.
This seems so obvious to me. Why can’t car makers and governments see it as clearly?