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Labour’s price freeze could ‘jeopardise investment’

Energy minister says price lock could jeopardise investment in the UK market

Michael Fallon says an energy price freeze could lead to a drop in investment in the UK

The decision by Labour to freeze energy prices would potentially jeopardise investment in the UK market, energy minister Michael Fallon has told the Conservative Party conference.

His comments come as the government continues to try to counter Labour leader Ed Miliband’s promise that he would implement a 20 month cap on energy prices  in 2015.

Freezes would ‘deter major investors’

Fallon told attendees that while freezing the price of energy bills until 2017 would be a bonus for UK consumers in theory, it could potentially be catastrophic for the energy sector as a whole as it could deter companies from investing.

He said that by stopping any price rises, Labour would essentially be failing to attract investors by showing the country as one where there would be a danger of them losing money.

“[Energy companies] have global investment mandates –they can invest in Kazakhstan, Brazil, the United Kingdom. The great danger from what Miliband has done is [that Labour] has made the United Kingdom a riskier investment location for these companies.”

Conservatives committed to lowering bills

While Fallon was quick to dismiss the idea of freezing energy bills, he did go on to say that the Conservatives remain committed to lowering bills for consumers.

He questioned the dominance held over the market by the big six energy companies, and said that the government is currently looking at ways to make the energy sector more competitive, such as reducing the taxes levied against companies, to allow them to pass savings on to their customers.

“We constantly keep an eye on the pressures on hard-working families. We are looking again at some of these energy taxes right now to see whether there’s a case for ensuring energy bills don’t increase out of line,” he added, saying that there needs to be a degree of “downward pressure” on prices.

Read more

Voters want energy bills frozen now

Brits should look to fixed price energy plans

  • Colin Chaffey

    The battery technology is not yet good enough to persuade me to switch, best you can get with the average electric car is 100 miles, unless you go for a top of the range executive model such as bmw or mercedes,also the government rake in billions from fuel duty what will replace that? proberbly some kind of tariff on the electricity needed to recharge the cars, so cars will be expensive to buy, and then hit in the pocket by the government, thankfully i will be at an age (hopefully) where my driving days will be over and just waiting for the electric hearse to come and collect me.

    • Cyril Thompson

      I looked at electric and my normal daily mileage. normally 2-300 miles daily. I am not alone. I know people who travel 50 miles coming into work in Belfast then there is getting home. That is a lot of charging points required. I see an awful lot of very slow cars creeping home at the end of the day

      • Derek Clifford Foley

        That’s just mad. Can’t you move closer to work?

        • Cyril Thompson

          My job takes me out and about all over the area including locations not covered by public transport.There are a lot like me doing similar jobs. With regards to moving closer to work. There are regions where people live where accomadation is cheap but work limited. I know people who live in Warrenpoint and work in Belfast. That would be 4 different busses a day and miss One, you are sunk for over two hours. Someone else lives in Ballycastle. North Antrim. No direct busses and an 1.hour trip.

    • Derek Clifford Foley

      The Tesla model 3 just released has 310 mile range option.

  • Richard

    The sale of diesel and petrol powered cars will NOT be banned from 2040 under these proposals. Only the sale of new ones will be banned. Existing vehicles will still be bought and sold.

  • Nick Poole

    Where is all the electricity coming from and how is it going to be generated ???

    • Peter Mitchell

      By the Way in the UK there is sufficient capacity in the Grid at night to recharge up to 22 million EVs. Most cars in the UK are used for short commute runs, so a recharge overnight should be sufficient for the next days driving. Interestingly, the National Grid have always said that they are planning for the increase in renewables and electric cars and they are confident it will be manageable!

      • Geoff Blake

        According to one interview I have seen (with a Nissan Leaf owner,) she recharges her car at work (daytime and relatively low cost) and only tops-up the charge at home (at a much higher cost.) I would imagine many electric car users will take advantage of schemes like these and avoid higher domestic electricity rates.

        I would imagine car useage would be higher during the winter months, as is general electricity useage (not so much air conditioning load as in the US) and solar generation capacity would be less (athough wind power may be greater), that surely would require more capacity than currently available.

        Regarding the National Grid planning for increases in capacity, that may be so, but will the government of the day give the go-ahead?

        • Peter Mitchell

          Recharging can be managed to encourage recharging at night, just as we are now encouraged to have storage heating on at night. Cheap or free recharging during daytime will have to stop when EV sales take off. Short commute drivers will need to charge overnight so that the Grid is not overloaded.

  • Zander

    Its a non story..manufacturers are bringing in new technology on a yearly basis despite the government.. not because of its silly edicts 2040 frankly things will change in ways we have yet to discover

  • Cyril Thompson

    Where are they going to hit with tax to cover the billions brought in from fuel taxes. Also where are the power stations that will be required to charge all these cars bearing in mind that Hinkly Point only comes on stream in 2035

  • Wallacep

    Sorry but unachievable. Theoretically a good plan; in reality not practical. Where and how will all this electricity be generated? Not from gas/fossil fuel/nuclear sources if the eco warriors have their way. Will not be achievable from just solar panels and wind turbines. Who will pay for all the hook ups for all the multi storey blocks etc? Yes, by then there will be more wireless technology. I perceive this will only be a rich man’s ideology. What about the hgv reliant transport system and public transport? I await with interest. It is said that necessity is the mother of invention- some one needs to be very busy!

    • Jason Wallace

      On the HGV side we’ll need to wait and see what’s coming down the line this Autumn with Tesla Semi.

      I really have no idea what they have come up with but I do know that Tesla have a record in rethinking industries.

      See folks like Proterra, BYD and others for electric buses which are returning great range. This is a big market and shows potential for great returns – both environmentally and also financially for operators.

      You do make an important point about induction charging – if I were running an EV charging company spending a tidy sum on infrastructure then this one would be keeping me awake at night.

  • Robert Smart

    They will just price people off roads then moan they have no money government all over

  • mark greenwood

    they can stick electric and hybrid were the sun dont shine i’m sticking to my old triumph car and as motorbikes will still be petrol and lorries still diesel ,the government can get stuffed.

    • Derek Clifford Foley

      Except that they announced all petrol & diesel vehicles will be banned on the roads by 2050. Classic cars might be exempt of course, but they will probably determine what is a “classic” though some kind of definition. Finding and affording fuel to run them of course might be a bigger problem at that point.

  • Ken Geary

    The turkeys that have proposed this all have government limos or use taxis (that we pay for). They are trying to force the average working man off the road and back where he belongs. Under their heels.

  • B

    How are we farmers to, quite literally, plough the land and feed the masses?

    • Derek Clifford Foley

      Electric tractors. Electric trucks and Electric boats. Its already happening – having seen how farmers always have nice new shiny gear I’m sure they can upgrade and will once fuel prices become ridiculous, which will happen over the next decade.

  • Malcolm Mcmanus

    As far as I have been led to believe electric cars can be charged from a domestic supply. Therefore the government will lose billions in tax revenues. They have said nothing about that. They can’t just tax the electric we use at home. How do they propose to cover the loss. Perhaps from Jeremy Corbyn’s magic money tree!!!!!!Also massive new investment in nuclear power stations to supply all the electricity.
    Unless a great improvement is made in mileage from a charge this will certainly bring a halt to those who drive through Europe on holiday to the sun

    • Brian Hutchins

      What do you think the smart meter rollout is really about?

    • ThinkAboutIt

      Black box in every car, GPS and charge per mile, by direct debit – varied according to time of day, congestion etc. Data also sold to your car insurance company!

    • Alun Cox

      Can’t tax the electric at home! Just you watch…….. I bet they can! 😂

      • Derek Clifford Foley

        They already do. Its called VAT, chargeable (pardon the pun) only from power from the grid – But not if you have solar panels on your roof to charge your car with or if you’ve gone off-grid of course.

    • “They can’t just tax the electric we use at home.” I bet they would, you know. I am fully expecting a ‘clean air tax’ to appear in my lifetime. It will be similar to the hearth and window (and room) taxes of yesteryear… unfortunately the solution isn’t as easy as boarding up a few windows…

    • Derek Clifford Foley

      Pay as you use the roads. Simples. Thats what the ANPR system on all major roads will help the government do.

  • Michael Jackman

    It will happen eventually because it will have to but 23 years is no where enough time as pure electric will never totally replace petrol and diesels or certainly not by then so other propulsion methods need to be developed. I’m afraid this will turn out to be an ambition something similar to Corbyns student debt fiasco

  • Charlie boy

    They haven’t thought this through properly. It’ll put thousands out of work in the service industry. Queues galore at charge points, utter madness!

    • Derek Clifford Foley

      They’ll still be work for the service industry, although its true to say that due to regenerative electromagnetic braking – the physical brake discs on an EV won’t be changed as regularly, I know lots of EV owners who know about that, but windscreen wipers and tyres will still all need replacing, and refilling screen-wash of course!

  • Paul Dyson

    This is a great idea that is clearly aimed at winning votes and public support in the short term, however, like many governmental initiatives is ill thought through. Many of the issues have already been identified – cost, range, charging points, production of the energy to name but a few.

    What is to be done about transport such as airplanes, boats, trains – all use diesel and are heavy polluters. Additionally, the move to this technology would both provide a monopoly to the manufacturers and have a major detrimental impact on small private garages who are neither equipped or have the necessary skills to deal with electrical powered vehicles. Furthermore, what about all the pollution caused during military conflicts?

    I was looking at the BMW i8 the other day and admiring its lines and technology only to be told that the owners were not even allowed to have access to the area under the front end as this was where the electrics were located and these presented an electric shock hazard!!

    Thank goodness I will be reaching the end of my driving days by 2040 and I am sure there are other more realistic and positive ways of achieving the necessary savings.

  • Roy Coleman

    Chevrolet/General Motors have an Astra model in Brazil running on tri-fuel since 2005 – ethanol, petrol and natural gas. I really don’t think electric could compete with already tested alternatives. Ethanol can be “grown”, it’s an alcohol from sugar. Pity we gave up all that sugar beet industry!!

    • Derek Clifford Foley

      Or just put solar panels on your roof. I know which is easier and cheaper to fuel our vehicle, and we do.

  • Chris

    If they start making hybrid / electric cars that don’t look ridiculously stupid #ToyotaPrius, #bmwi3, I might think about it. But do we really think we can get the same power and torque from an electric motor? Maybe if we all drove a mobility scooter the but much prefair a V8 petrol any day!

    • John D

      Chris… Electric vehicles destroy petrol engine performance. Instantaneous acceleration, no transmission loss, no gearbox loss. Fastest production car petrol or electric is currently a Tesla . Car is the size of a 5 series BMW and does 0-60mph in less than 2.8 secs. What family 4 door V8 do you know that does the same?

      • Alun Cox

        Its true, electric motors develop huge torque. Now I have driven the Tesla and its a beaut BUT if you do take advantage of all that power the battery is dead flat in 50 miles and thats before you turn on the lights, heater, wipers etc so mu daily 200 mile round trip would take around 50 hours including charging….. bit of a non starter sadly.

        • Ardcomp

          I would like to see anyone take advantage of the full power of a Tesla for 50 miles.

          You will on everyday use get over 200 miles even if you drag everything at the traffic lights.

        • Andy

          Your daily 200 mile trip would take the same as your 200 mile daily trip in anything else would. Once again we’re talking 2040 too, there are cars on the market that can manage this now, let alone in 2040

        • John D

          I’m not suggesting you run a Tesla at full power continuously, impossible to do as roads aren’t clear enough, just illustrating that the performance is far better than petrol. Lots of people stuck with the concept that electric vehicles have a “milk float” performance.

          If you drive to current road conditions/limits you will get close to full range.

          Anyway on a similar analogy I would fully drain a petrol Buggati Veyron tank within 12 mins if running at full tilt…. But as I don’t have 5 clear laps of an Indy500 track outside my front door before going to work then this scenario is never going to happen with either a petrol or EV

      • meagain

        The range of a diesel car with a full tank can be many hundreds of miles. What is the range of a battery car, and what do you do about a flat battery when you are stuck in a crawling traffic jam on the M5?

        • This is the single biggest obstacle to making electric cars the main mode of transport. Wanting to clean up the air is laudable, and needs to be done, but what good is it if only a few countries do it in isolation? The developing world is still chucking out pollutants on a massive scale. I would love to think this is the answer, but as someone else said further up the thread, this is a drop in the ocean. All it will do is to make the UK less productive… these planners and ‘think tank’ bods should read a few science-fiction novels.. this has been predicted before and found wanting. Soylent Green, anyone? (Not the same scenario, of course, but it demonstrates just how quickly things can go downhill…)

          • Peter Mitchell

            EJ Jackson, I live in the countryside and hardly visit the cities because they are so polluted in the UK. It would be great to be able to go to towns and cities in the UK without worrying about worrying about breathing in vehicle fumes. We shouldn’t worry about doing this in isolation to other big polluting countries, we should do this to improve our own health. It will also increase tourism massively if we have very clean cities to visit.

        • Derek Clifford Foley

          Its quite sad how people who should have done science at school don’t grasp how brainwashed they’ve become by the automotive and petroleum industries who have held this technology back for so long? Why? because they cost 10x less to run, you can make the fuel yourself, and they rarely go wrong mechanically – this adds up to a corporate and fossil fuel investor’s nightmare. In answer to your original question –
          actually the battery isn’t being drained in an EV much in a traffic jam, there is nothing to continually spin unlike a combustion engine to keep the thing going unless the car is actually moving, no power is being used, and as the car slows, its electromagnetic braking (regen) charges the car again with the energy from the wheels and motor, which in that situation become a generator until the vehicle stops. I think you need to grasp the basic engineering principles of how motors work and how simple they are, running only when you move – and the ludicrous complexity and high temperatures that cause mechanical wear in an internal combustion engine that many people just “accept” as being the status quo and the best way. When in traffic consequently an EV actually goes further because of it, because less air is being pushed by the car. Science. I suggest you go for a ride in an EV, and drive one before you spout such opinions based on heresay and a lack of experience. Take it from someone who has real experience of both – and owned an EV for 4 years now – I’d never ever buy another petrol or diesel car again.

        • John D


          There are several fully electric vehicles that are capable of more than 200 miles on one charge. By the time we get to 2040 I expect 400-500 miles will be routine. Or the option to carry a range extender in the “frunk” if required. Look up “frunk” if you don’t know what that means.

          In answer to your question … If you run out of battery on the road you do exactly the same as if you run out of petrol. Wait on recovery.

          Theres a big gauge in cars which tells you how much fuel you have in the tank. Surprisingly theres also a big gauge in electric vehicles which tells you battery charge.
          It’s the drivers responsibility to make sure there is sufficient for the journey, plus additional to cover delays.

          In 35 years of driving I have never once run out of fuel. That’s because I check before starting the journey.

          People who can’t manage this basic task should perhaps not be driving.
          If they are incapable of checking their range, which is right in front of them on the dashboard, before starting out what other more essential and potentially more safety important items do they ignore. Items such as tire condition, oil, screenwash etc

    • Derek Clifford Foley

      Your comment shows how little you know about cars. You have heard of instant torque from EV’s, and electric motors – and presumably unless you’ve been living in the most remote petrol scented cave, you should certainly be aware of Teslas. I suggest you watch a few videos on Youtube to educate yourself to the new reality you’re clearly unaware of.

  • steve dodd

    it just says petrol and diesel cars. It doesnt say you cant have a L.P.G, or Natural Gas powered car, still a normal engine, filling stations have L.P.G. already , so no stupid batteries to charge for an hour or more. Just fill up with gas , as you would petrol and away you go. They should have promoted liquid hydrogen cars anyway, all that comes out the exhaust is water vapour

    • Andy

      I use LPG but its nowhere near as efficient as an electric car.
      Liquid hydrogen isn’t the answer, you’re using a lot of electricity to create it in the first place.

  • gordon brown

    They are talking out ov there exhaust pipe again .what about all the jobs lost in petrolium plants making petrol and derv .they would need atleast 1000 electric station’s just to charge a small shopping centre full of cars and what happens when say a crash on motorway. .a100 mile road full of cars run out of electric .who ever thort ov that wants there nutts chopped off man

    • Derek Clifford Foley

      Electric cars hardly use any power in traffic unless they move, unlike combustion engined vehicles.

    • Ardcomp

      It doesn’t really work like that. How many cars do you see filling with petrol in the car park of a shopping centre?

      EV’s will be mostly charged at home.

      • Mr colin gleave

        By the way British Gas are raising electric prices 12.5%

        • Ardcomp

          Change supplier.

          It’s really not right that electricity prices are as high as they are. It wasn’t so long ago electricity was cheap but since privatisation, prices have increased dramatically.

          Probably time to re-nationalise the energy sector and utilities so they can work for all of us instead of profit centres for overseas companies.

    • John D

      Jobs are lost all the time to progress thats just a sad fact of life however new types of jobs become available.

      Imagine a 1900’s conversation

      “Better not develop these new fangled cars… What will happen to all those poor horse breeders, farriers, and carriage drivers…. No no no… We will just stick with horses cos that’s best and have done us well for the last 1000 years”

      Charge cars at home or work

      Crash on motorway?…. Turn off your engine. Or Do people where you live leave their engines running for several hours. Do you currently have 100 miles tailbacks of petrol and diesel cars that have run out of fuel where you live?

      Electric vehicles use a microscopic amount of battery when not moving. Comparably a lot less “fuel” used by an electric vehicle when not moving than its petrol counterpart.

  • Richard.

    City centres are polluted because the traffic does not flow in them. Traffic lights are on stop more than on go. But at least in London , 90% of the traffic is driven by professional drivers even at 4am. Red buses, white vans, black cabs and mini-cabs of all colours; so they need to be there. But the people in charge half the width of major roads and alter the road layouts to make a 3 minute journey turn into 30 minutes. Goods and people and their tools need to get to were they are needed, fixing things , lifts , printers ,plumbing,food and anything else you can think of.
    So the solution lays with the planers not the users. They need to think about making city centres nice even desirable to live in. Then the commuters can walk to work. Separate them from the goods vehicles that need access to all the buildings to keep the buildings working.
    Oh yes that might solve the shortage of decent accommodation suitable for the 21st century not the 18th century .
    Of course the big game changer will be when uber sends you a car but not a driver. It will happen a lot faster than YOU think. Come on planners , plan for the 22nd century not the 20th century. After all more than half the world has been living in cities since 2007.
    My experience is 25 years of driving around London. It’s unimproved ,& harder to make a living.

  • Alan

    The national grid won’t be able to cope with the demand!
    And blackmail alley.
    How Much will electricity cost in relation to either petroleum, or electricity now.?
    Bet the tax then is massive to fund the investment needed in electricity.
    So when we going to see electric ships or army vehicles eh.
    Biggest polluters, ships!
    A tax on the working man again about as big an effect as a raindrop in the ocean!

    • Geoff Blake

      Agreed, the national grid will not cope, it is staggering along with virtually no reserve capacity. Given a major failure in the supply chain, like a large power station, or a bad winter we would be in trouble.

      The biggest man-made polluters are aircraft. Ships diesel engines, like those that generate electricity can be tuned to produce a minimum of pollution. Ships can also be powered by natural means, i.e. by sail.

      • Derek Clifford Foley

        There needs to be a global carbon tax on all emitters, the airline industry and shipping industry needs to accept their responsibility or lack thereof and cost to civilization.

      • Derek Clifford Foley

        Re grid capacity. You’re forgetting that currently a lot of renewables have to be switched off due to a lack of storage capacity when wind and sun are in excess v consumption. An EV sitting being charged will act to help the grid by outputting its power back onto the grid as needed, the same can (and does) happen with domestic batteries, and some countries already have the ability to do this (Australia). Look at this video:

      • Peter Mitchell

        In the UK there is sufficient capacity in the National Grid at night to recharge up to 22 million electric cars. Most cars in the UK are used for relatively short runs and a recharge overnight would be sufficient for the next days driving. The National Grid have always said that the increase in renewables and electric cars is manageable!

        • Jason Wallace

          Also don’t forget that the electricity delivered to oil refineries every year is around 4.5TWh.

          Refining is a very energy intensive business

          • Peter Mitchell

            4.5TWh, OMG!!! I use about 3MWh to do 12,000 miles in my Nissan Leaf, so if we take this as an average annual milage 4.5TWh would be enough to charge 1.5 millon EV cars for a year.

      • macangus123 .

        LOL, an aircraft carrier goin into battle with a sail, splice the main sail !!!

  • Gaz

    Let’s not forget it says all NEW cars. You’ll still be able to buy a petrol or diesel car in 2039 & of course many 2nd hand cars will be on the market still so it’s still going to take time for a complete change. I still think it’s ill thought through though. 2040 is only 22.5 years away. I don’t think we’ll be ready.

    • Derek Clifford Foley

      What about fuel though. You’re forgetting that its 10 times cheaper already to run an EV per mile. Over time as the numbers grow, fuel will become more and more expensive, until it becomes ludicrous to own an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) Vehicle.

  • David

    I have been using LPG for 20 years now with no pollution. I now pay 53.7p per litre S class Merc 11 years old now and bought new and have spent £40 on repairs and non caused by LPG. 1992 Range Rover and pulls my 25ft caravan on LPG no problem in 22 years. Why do we need electricity?

    • Andy

      I’m also an LPG user, there is still pollution but its reduced. Electricity is all about efficiency, I think electric cars are some where around the 90% mark (as there’s some wastage through heat) LPG Petrol and Diesel cars are nowhere near this

  • George Evans

    Well now, that’s interesting. The government has stated that we are as a country going to say goodbye to petrol and diesel cars by 2040. So that’s the tourer caravan industry buggered, the family who wants to tour Scotland, Cornwall in one go and all of your door to door deliveries (light vans). Won’t be able to take your car to France. I can see that we need to do something, but even the lady on the tele decrying air quality probably got in her car and drove home. Can you imagine the size of the batteries for a car pulling a 26ft tourer caravan? What about the petro-retail industry in this country? This is a poorly thought out statement and incidentally what happened to the Hydrogen powered principle? Water is a universal fuel. A government took away your rail services to villages and small towns and I see today as well that the County Council is to discuss cutting bus services. Well that is pretty well all of us who do any sort of travelling completely knackered. Answers and comments please but goodness knows where we go from here.!!!

    • Andy

      You’re basing everything on how electric cars are today. The driving range of electric cars are being improved each year, you can travel across france in a Tesla today if you wanted to.

      • George Evans

        We can afford a Tesla? What I do know is that the pollutants from batteries in the future. Now talk to me about hydrogen.

        • Andy

          I’ve no idea if you can afford a Tesla but what I’m saying is there are cars now that are doing what you’re asking so by 2040 there will be plenty of normal cars that can do this rather than just the top of the line ones.

          Electric car batteries can be used in energy storage systems when they’ve reached the end of their useful life in a car.
          There are also lithium recycling plants being built.

          Hydrogen isn’t the answer, you have to use a lot of electricity to create it and if created off site you’re then using more energy to ship it to the filling stations.

      • George Evans

        We can afford a Tesla? What I do know is that the pollutants from batteries in the future is going to be an earth problem. Now talk to me about hydrogen.

        • Jason Wallace

          George. Please show me evidence of pollutants that will need to be dealt with EOL.

          Extraction of the elements to make up batteries is a pretty messy business, but no more so than oil extraction, shipping and refining. The difference is that oil is a burn once, deal with a problem while batteries will remain useful for a couple of decades before being recycled.

          Lead Acid batteries are already one of the most recycled consumer products on the planet. The process for recycling and recovering elements is well understood. Existing battery recycling companies are gearing up for this.

    • Jason Wallace

      There’s a lot in there George but just a few points:

      – Yes, I agree with you that use cases such as caravans have not been addressed. I’m not so sure that it’s EVs that are going to do for it but AVs which will likely be AEVs. The hope however is that I am sure that someone will spot the business opportunity of caravans.
      – Touring Scotland AND Cornwall in one hit can certainly be done. Today there are charging facilities that allow this. Today’s range on an EV and also the rate of charge should not be taken as a guide to what will be with us even in 5 years, let alone by 2040.
      – As an aside while it I understand that you might want to choose your car based upon the most extreme (and likely rare) use case that you present but this is a hugely ineffective use of your resources. Rather we should be looking to the vehicle which works for 95% of our use and then deal with the exception.
      – HFC shows potential. Problem is that HFC has shown potential for years – it’s kinda like nuclear fission. There are a whole bunch of issues with HFC, not least that it’s just another EV with designed in complexity and inefficiencies. It’s true that as a fuel, hydrogen packs a punch – a couple of kg will see you easily do 200 miles. The problem is acquiring that hydrogen in the first place and then distributing it. Most hydrogen is extracted as a by-product of the refining process, which can no longer be regarded as a reliable source. After that it’s a case of separation which uses quite a lot of electrical energy which would be hugely more efficiently utilised by simply storing in a battery and using it direct. The last way, but one which is still very much in the lab – anaerobic digestion *could* be huge but by the time it shows itself as a commercial solution the kinks in current batteries will have largely been ironed out. HFC is, I’m afraid a solution in search of a problem.
      – delivery vans – on this you are really quite wrong. Delivery vans and multi drop show the largest efficiency savings, closely followed by buses.

  • Andrew

    What’s the government going to do about wagons ? Can you imagine a wagon with two trailers ! One full of batteries and one full of goods

  • Leanne Symns

    It could posible put coach companys out of business

    • Peter Mitchell

      For goodness sake this is 22 years away. An Arctic lorry has already been developed that can do 1200 miles on a single charge and a lot of buses in our towns and cities are now electric. See if you can spot them in your nearest town or city? I’ve noticed them in Inverness and I see that they have a dedicated recharge point in the bus station.

  • Cyril Levy

    I’m confused , , if sales of New cars , petrol or diesel , will cease in 2040 then by my calculation the value of pre 2040 cars could escalate as they will have greater capability for distance travel and I assume filling stations will still exist so no long waiting times to charge up a battery . Just fill and go .
    Also I understand the government encourages Classic Cars by not charging the RFL fees and even , as they get older , not even requiring an MOT .
    These cars could be high polluters by their very nature of engine build .
    Am I missing something ???

    • John D

      Nope Cyril. I think your correct.

      There will still be a lot of classic cars on the road and I think these classics will be allowed.. getting the petrol might be a bit tricky.

      All told the “proper” classics make up a very small portion of vehicles on the road and tend not to do a lot of miles. So their pollution will probably be tolerated.

      I think the regs on what constitutes a classic will be heavily revised. Ferrari, Morgan etc will be ok

      Bog standard cars like Toyota,Skoda, BMW etc which happen to qualify as a classic just because they are older than 23 years ( I think) will be booted off the “acceptable” classic cars list

  • You you

    Your votes don’t count

  • David Perriman

    Before knocking future technology and being negative about electric vehicles check out there are an extrodinary amount of “armchair” critics who don’t bother checking out the facts before posting.

  • Sarah T

    What happens if you don’t have a drive and can’t therefore park your car outside your house to charge it up!!

    • Jason Wallace

      Great question. There are a number of solutions available now and being developed – for example take a look at Ubitricity.

      Without a doubt if you don’t have off street parking then charging the car is an obstacle. It is not however an obstacle that is insurmountable.

  • Philip Morgan

    A ridiculous plan. The elite will loose billions in revenue from fuel, so where are they going to recoup that from bearing in mind for every £100 in fuel £ 70 is duty and tax !!!! And these electric cars, the damage they cause the planet during the manufacture process is far more than the lifetime of a combustion engine. The price and silly range you can drive them is unworkable. But they think they’re being oh so clever. How about stop these cheap Chinese factories polluting the planet big time, and stopping deforestation in the name of financial profit eh. I’ll stick with my petrol Saab and BMW thanks.

    • John D

      Figures please for your statement that electric vehicles manufacturing cause more damage to the planet than the entire lifetime of combustion engine. That’s Just a “made-up” comment from you. No supporting evidence whatsoever.

      Additional damage to the environment during manufacturing? Do you have any figures for that, or is it another made-up comment?
      Don’t think so
      Bodywork and interior pretty much identical only difference will be electric motor Vs combustion and battery. However lot less component’s in EV than combustion such as :- no compressors, no gearbox, no transmission, no exhaust system.

      Sure electric vehicles use electricity and that doesn’t come at no cost to the environment,
      However petrol needs to be refined which uses a huge amount of electricity. So petrol has a double whammy:- pollution generating the fuel then pollution created when combusted in the engine.

      Range of EV is already good…200+ miles just now and will be a lot better by 2040. Do you drive more than 200 miles per day? That’s about 45,000 miles per year… I bet you don’t.

      • Philip Morgan

        I’m not going to get into a back and forth argument, just wanted to reply, as didn’t wish to seem rude. but there was an article in the the journal of industrial ecology, which looked at the life cycle impact of conventional and electric vehicles. Factories that produced electric vehicles emitted more toxic waste than conventional car factories. Plus the production of batteries requiring lots of toxic minerals. And yes I do drive around 1000-1200 miles a week and I’m sure if I wanted to drive to Belgium from England how long that would take in an EV. And by the way None of my comments were just as you put it, made up. I am sure as things progress they will get production right and less damaging with future technology.

        • John D

          I agree. No manufacturing plant is currently zero emissions so that is a problem.

          However take a look at an Arial shot of Musk’s Gigafactory that produces the batteries. The building is one of the largest , if not the largest, building on the planet. The entire roof surface is 100% covered in solar panels as is a significant amount of the surrounding land. The intention is to make the factory zero emissions for lithium battery production. I.e. it will generate all its own energy through renewable via a combination of solar and its own battery storage technology for 24hr production

          The main environmental problems for rare earth metals is mining and refining and I think that will be difficult to resolve as most is obtained from China and Afghanistan neither of which have good track record on environmental concerns. China is however beginning to clean up on this front… just presently 15-20 years behind Europe.

          Current EVs will do 200+ miles range one charge. Next immediate generation, that’s 6-12 mths from now are expected to be 300 -350 miles. Then there is fast charge technology which will give you you a 70% battery charge within 30 mins. Do you drive more than 300 miles without taking a break?

          By the time we get to 2040 I fully expect EVs to be capable of exceeding the range of petrol/ diesel vehicles.

          Things can only get better.

          If you personally are regularly doing 1000 to 1200 miles per week then you are in a real small portion of the population.
          The average user does somewhat less than 30 miles per day.
          You will be doing 40k -50k miles per year which is four to five times the average user. You must also be getting through a newer vehicle every couple of years

  • Michael J Mahon

    Cars, fine idea to make them clean, what about wagons? Look whilst driving and you’ll notice the motorist is surrounded by a fleet of wagons! How many batteries will it take to power that lot? Got to keep the internal combustion engine and go with hydrogen fuel, the most abundant element in the universe, surely man with his ingenuity and tenacity can harness that? The beauty of it is hydrogen burns to water, no pollution there!
    Read a few comments about ship pollution. Transport of goods by ship is the most energy efficient way of moving hundreds of thousands of tonnes of produce. Ships must meet stringent emission regulations set by the United Nations IMO (International Maritime Organisation). If a country is a member of the UN it must comply! So, it is a world game changing strategy not some tiny little island on the outskirts of Europe trying to make a change, which at best, is equivalent to a drop of water in an ocean!

    • Robert James

      Ships are allowed to use a cheaper “dirty” diesel, this is hugely more polluting than car fuels.

    • John D

      BMW already has had a 40 tonne capable HGV shuttling between its own car plants since 2015. Ok it’s first gen with only a 100 km range

      Daimler and Mercedes are working on 26 tonners with 200 range.. expected to be in use before 2020.
      Tesla is working on it’s own version of an HGV.

      By the time we get to 2040 this problem will be well sorted

  • Jazy 67

    producing electric is far from a clean fuel and if demand goes up for electric so will the price so I don’t think this has been very well thought out and are we the going to see mountains of spent car batteries littering the land fill sites

  • Phjils

    Very salient points made in the comments. It’s mainly a non-story, the gov. will U-turn (or quietly retire the plan) when they realise that they cannot possibly deliver it – they can’t even finish electrifying the railways without running out of money first.

    Electric cars are currently a tiny percentage of new cars sold, and place their ownership squarely in the hands of the rich or people dumb enough to saddle themselves with a huge HP plan.
    What people don’t realise is electric vehicles have virtually zero resale value once the batteries are a few years old and are no longer efficient or hold charge.

    As someone pointed out below, BMW won’t let you under the bonnet, so extrapolate that thought and eventually independent and DIY repairs to your car will be a thing of the past – of course, letting a professional do the work will “improve road safety”. We will take options away from your, for your own safety.

    And where are manufacturers going to get all the Lithium needed for batteries?
    There’s lots in Afghanistan – in fact, it’s one of the richest veins of Lithium known on earth. Worth more than oil…

    … take from that what you will.

    • John D

      Thing is… Even if you believe our government is pie in the sky in its approach and will back out…. It might not be as simple as that.

      It might be very difficult to buy a combustion engine vehicle if none of the big manufacturer’s are producing them.

      Sounds like Volvo has already decided to go full EV before 2020 and that the big German manufacturers are close behind.

  • Robin Hobson

    Apart from the problem with additional load on the national grid, the government will lose out heavily on revenue from the duty it gets from fuel as more drivers switch to electric vehicles. It will have to find an alternative source of revenue and we, the motoring public will have to fill that gap somehow. Does this mean a huge increase in vehicle licences?

    • John D

      Yes there will be a huge impact from lost fuel duty. Other posts below have mentioned different ways to generate the funds such as

      A proper “road tax” which is directly related to the amount of miles a vehicle actually moves on the road. This would be easy to recover from such things as
      ANPR cameras or vehicles telemetry (GPS+ internet connectivity)

      Time the vehicle was connected to a charging station. The amount of electricity consumed will be proportional to distance traveled.

      Theres no way this huge revenue will not be collected.

  • Ken

    Where are they going to put all petrol and diesel can’t just switch off oils petrol Wells who’s going to get wealthy from electric only supplies and what’s going to happen to billions of battery comes off after few years dispose where and massive cist of replacing new batteries which costs penny’s to make? No body is even thinking on that road?

    • John D

      Ken… Don’t worry about oil wells they can be shut off, OPEC regularly throttle back or completely shut off entire oil fields to manipulate oil prices. Secondly there will still be a huge market for petrochems to manufacture things as basic as plastic. Oil itself is not going to disappear anytime soon.

      I’m not going to get worried about people not getting rich because of lack of oil sales. There will still be a lot of fat cats making money from the supply of electricity

      On the subject of batteries… They are getting better all the time. Expected lifespan now between 6- 10 years and improving.
      Batteries don’t cost pennies to make, they are quite difficult to manufacture, however Costs are rapidly decreasing at 15% per year. Batteries are now cost less than half what they were 7 years ago and this will continue.
      At the end of their life there will be a big recycling process which be economically viable. The batteries are definitely not going to end up in landfill, theres so much valuable material in them to recover/reprocess

  • Chris Jones

    Glad I won’t be about! Stop smoking! Don’t drink! And now drive a dodgem car. What next.?What a miserable future.Dont know how us old folk have managed to make it with smog fog and nicotine.What a load of crap.!!

  • William Pierce

    I will happen! Most car makers are concentrating on the development of car batteries. The first cars were electric. They were only superceded by petrol cars in the early 1900’s when the dynamo was invented to recharge their batteries. I have designed a device called an A-BRU which will recharge an electric car battery whilst it is driven. Once I have raised enough money to develop it, (Imagine a Renault Twizzy with unlimited milage and a price cheaper than most petrol and diesel today) it will happen as engineering is mathamatical and not hi-tec. Oil petrol & diesel will become obselete. The oil will then only be used for making plastics and clothing. The A-BRU would also make it possible to develop rail & underground trains, without the need for electrified rails or overhead cables. Other spinoffs would be invalid and golf buggies. The savings on National Energy use will be collosal.

  • David

    Utter nonsense. I tow a 2 tonnes caravan on a regular basis. Nothing other than a Diesel engine can cope with it, an electric car could not even pull it for a couple of miles.

    • John D

      Guess its unlucky for you then.

      Tough luck, you won’t be pulling a 2 tonne box around and blocking up the country lanes for other road users.

      Great I look forward to the days when there’s no slow moving caravans congesting the roads in future

  • Penny Simpson

    Worst case analysis: I think we are all going to be locked down in our homes and starve as we will be unable to go anywhere other than round to the local corner shop, assuming they have received their deliveries from electric-run vans and lorries.

  • John Whitaker

    So if fuel will no longer be available on the forecourt, were will the petrol heads get their fuel from? A chemist??!! (Pre 1900 days?) AND where will the government at the time get their extra tax revenue from???

  • Shaun

    Interesting … and the government to ban all EU tourists driving from Europe; leave your car at dover car-park please.

    And no more continental lorries / deliveries either.

    … like that’ll happen.

    … unless they are forced to then offload the transfer to uk haulage firms.

    … but at an increased cost for the consumer.

    And of course by then (2040-50), the vast majority of everyone who has commented, well you’ll all be dead (me included more than likely). So, for all the, ah … heated debate, it matters not as you won’t see it (a nice blue planet for all & need to something now, asides).

  • Peter Merritt

    That’s all well and good phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles, but what about military vehicles , personnel carriers , aircraft and tanks ,anyone seen an electric tank? I followed a personel army vehicle about a month ago and when it changed down or up a gear the black filth that came out of the top exhaust system was unbelievable it was a one vehicle pollution machine , and What about delivery vehicles , lorries vans , then we have ocean going ships bringing goods to this country , the lists goes on and on , needs a lot of thought before this is going to come to fruition.
    Peter Merritt

  • Dell Ha

    if it takes 30 minutes quick charge instead of five minutes to fill a tank imaging the queues leading down the road waiting to be charged up //going to be the joke of the century

  • Dell Ha

    why isnt the queens car and the politicians cars all electric yet // no excuse for them / they should practice what they preach