Toby Young

Carmageddon: the electric vehicle boondoggle

A couple of years ago I thought seriously about buying an electric car. Not a hybrid, but the full monty. There was one in particular I liked the look of and I even contacted a dealership to ask whether they’d accept my diesel-powered VW Touran in part-exchange. The answer was yes, but it was still eye-wateringly expensive. Was it worth it? I tried to persuade myself it would be, given the savings on fuel costs, the waiving of the congestion charge, etc.

Boy, am I glad I dodged that bullet. Scarcely a day passes without a new horror story about electric vehicles in the press. Over the past week alone, we’ve learnt that some popular models are depreciating at twice the rate of petrol cars, that the number of free electric chargers on Britain’s roads has dropped by 40 per cent in the past 12 months, and that the sheer weight of their batteries means these cars could be banned from bridges and multi-storey car parks. It’s carmageddon!

Politicians have pledged to wean us off oil and gas without any serious plan for how to replace them

The model I was eyeing up supposedly had a range of 275 miles, which meant I could drive to any QPR away game on a single charge. The northernmost club in the Championship is Sunderland, which is exactly 275 miles from my house in Acton. But we now know that the manufacturers’ range estimates are wildly optimistic. For instance, Giles Coren was told his Jaguar I-Pace, which he bought in 2020, had a range of up to 292 miles, when the reality was 220. Being a Hoops fan like me, that’s one of the reasons he’s ditched it. I cannot imagine the frustration of desperately searching for a rapid charging point as a succession of warning lights comes up on the dash, with 70 miles to go and kick-off less than two hours away.

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