Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

Labour in Judging Others By Their Own Standards (Electric) Shock

Such is the place that Jo Moore‘s famous email has in political history that these days it is, in fact, rather difficult to “bury bad news”. For any major event, expected or otherwise, there are legions of hacks, bloggers and even two-bit amateur commentators such as yours truly, who immediately scour the government news channels and emissions from Whitehall that might vaguely justify the infamous label.

German electric car, 1904, with the chauffeur ...

An electric car in 1904. It's the transport of the future, you know. (Bundesarchiv)

This was the reaction of John Woodcock MP, Shadow Transport Minister to an apparent change in policy by the Government on electric cars. Now I will be honest and flag up my scepticism about the whole electric car thing. In towns, fine, but I suspect that other technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells should command shorter odds for the epithet “fuel of the future”: it can utilise much of the existing infrastructure (i.e. service stations, tanker fleets, etc.) and thus is more likely to be picked up and promoted by the oil/gas companies.

As Paul Waugh reported

To the dismay of the eco lobby, the Coalition’s grand plan of a national network of public charging points for electric cars appears to have been quietly dumped.

I don’t know to what extent there actually was such a grand plan, having too much of a life to examine such minutiae. If they did, then it was a silly idea. For electric cars to be viable, they should at least be able to make a good few decent length return journeys between charges, making public charging points pointless (sorry). We have networks of (non-public) filing stations because keeping large tanks of petrol in every home is not very safe (and we would miss out on the economies of scales and transportation efficiencies offered by the free market competition that exists presently). Electric charging points, however, already exist in every home.

Thus Hammond’s view was one of common sense:

Public chargepoints are part of the answer but putting a chargepoint on every corner is not the right approach. It is most convenient for drivers and best for the energy system for the majority of charging to happen at home.

This approach also still leaves the door open for hydrogen and/or other sources to take their place in the market without the government having then wasted money on little white elephants on every street corner.

As Paul Waugh points out, this is a quote from the press release, freely available on the DoT website. So, not really bad news, and not really buried. Methinks Mr Woodcock has spent too long in the pull of Labour’s spin cycle.


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