I don’t know what your take on electric and hybrid cars is, but frankly I cannot see what all the fuss is about. There is nothing new about electric cars, micro cars, city cars, handbags or whatever you want to call them, they have been around for decades, and you only have to look back through your collection of dusty old motor mags in the corner of your lounge to see the avalanche of Messerschmitts, Goggomobils, Isettas and similar bubble cars that came flooding onto the market after the Second World War, spurred on by the shortage of steel and fuel.
This development was partially embraced by the public but the phenomenon was only short-lived as by the time the 1960s dawned the market had grown tired of being constrained by the limitations of vehicle size, and very soon performance, speed and power were the order of the day. Only a few of the small cars developed in the 1950s and 1960s survived and lived on but that was more a factor of the growth of an economy in which both parents in a family now worked, than anything else. This increased the demand for two cars in the family, which typically included a big a and a small one, a kind of ‘his and hers’ of cars.
The OPEC countries did their best to wreck the economies and driving habits of the world, and massively to their financial advantage, the plan worked ensuring that squillions of dollars flowed into their coffers. Unfortunately this also played into the hands of the oil companies who exert far greater control over governments and economies than most hard-working normal folk realise. When an electric car was developed in the UK by a British mainstream manufacturer, and which company was then bought out by a large American manufacturer in the 1980s (no names mentioned here because I don’t want a knock on the door in the dead of night, but it doesn’t take much to work out who it was), that American parent quickly decided that electric cars had no future and promptly sold the technology to a large Japanese manufacturer. So where did the first marketable electric/hybrid car eventually come from then – okay no prizes there, that was way too easy.
To be honest, the next clever source of vehicle propulsion has not yet been invented, and to be totally frank, I don’t think it has even been thought of yet. Our current crop of inventors and innovative engineers don’t have the answer either, and that is no disrespect to their ingenuity because the simple fact of the matter is that we have had our minds on a single track up until now – the mighty internal combustion engine. In case you think that it is our kids, the next younger generation, who will have the answers, well it isn’t them either. The reason being because they too have been brought up thinking that the current form of motor transportation, that is the motor car as we and they know it, is the way of the future – with perhaps a few clever tweaks here and there.
Neither will running an electric motor car cost you any less than a conventional current motor car at the end of the day, because the government will not like to lose the 62% of the current fuel price it currently extorts from you in the form of taxes. Low emission and zero emission vehicles currently enjoy a much lower, and in some cases zero road tax, but don’t assume that will continue either. Oil companies and car insurance companies will need to earn similar levels of revenue from some other motoring related source and the thousands of repair garages around the country will all have to convert to space engineering if the motor car, as we know it, were to disappear.