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It’s up against stiff competition, but the race for electric cars could be our leaders’ maddest green mania yet, writes CHRISTOPHER BOOKER

August 24, 2017

By Paul Homewood

h/t Philip Bratby


Booker in the Mail yesterday:




The National Grid is warning us that if you are charging your electric car at home with a high-speed charger you won’t be able to boil an electric kettle at the same time, because it could blow your fuse box.

They add that you could get round this if you use a standard charger — but then it could take 19 hours to charge your car fully.

Meanwhile, if you’re thinking of driving an all-electric car from London to Edinburgh, even if you make it to a service station with high-speed chargers, you might still have to stop three or four times for an hour-long charge on the way, plus of course almost certainly endure waiting for a charging point to be free.

It is hard to know which is the maddest of the ‘green’ schemes the Government has embarked on in its drive to eliminate fossil fuels. But its mania for electric cars is surely racing to the top of the list.


The National Grid is warning us that if you are charging your electric car at home with a high-speed charger you won’t be able to boil an electric kettle at the same time, because it could blow your fuse box

The National Grid is warning us that if you are charging your electric car at home with a high-speed charger you won’t be able to boil an electric kettle at the same time, because it could blow your fuse box


Some 12 million people own diesel cars in Britain. They were bribed with tax breaks to buy them under the Blair government which insisted they were greener because they produced less carbon dioxide than petrol vehicles.

Now, those same 12 million are reeling from being told that, far from diesels being more ‘planet friendly’, they are so polluting that they could be contributing to 12,000 or more premature deaths a year. Whacking new taxes and charges to discourage their use are certain to be introduced

Worse than this diesel fiasco, the Government said last month that after 2040 the sale of diesel and petrol cars will be banned, and that the only cars we will be able to buy will be all-electric.

Despite the day-long blizzard of supportive propaganda we were treated to by the BBC when our Environment Secretary Michael Gove first sprang this on us, there are many practical reasons why all- electric cars have not so far caught on in Britain.

They still make up only 0.3 per cent of the 31.7 million cars on our roads, even though hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money have been used to bribe motorists to buy them, leading to discounts of up to £5,000 per vehicle.

It is not just the thought of being unable to boil a kettle while waiting all those hours for a car battery to charge that’s putting people off.

There is also a massive national shortage of charging points. If all cars were electric-only, we would need an additional 400,000 public charging points, at a cost of £30 billion, for all the drivers who would need to ‘refuel’ on journeys away from home.

And this investment would be needed at a time when the Government was losing the £27 billion a year it rakes in on tax on cars’ fossil fuels.

On top of this, there would be utter chaos as the switch-over to electric approaches, when pumps at petrol stations are being closed down due to falling demand for fossil fuels, just as their owners are having to lay out hundreds of thousands of pounds to install very expensive new electric charging points.

But even these formidable challenges are mere hiccups compared to the most crucial question of all: if every car in Britain is eventually going to be all-electric, where is all the massive amount of additional electricity needed to charge them to come from?

It has been estimated that the amount of additional power needed from the grid would be 50 per cent more than we currently use at peak times of day. And half the electricity we already use is still generated from those same fossil fuels the Government wants to see eliminated.

Some 12 million people own diesel cars in Britain. They were bribed with tax breaks to buy them under the Blair government which insisted they were greener because they produced less carbon dioxide than petrol vehicles

Some 12 million people own diesel cars in Britain. They were bribed with tax breaks to buy them under the Blair government which insisted they were greener because they produced less carbon dioxide than petrol vehicles

The government insists that all this extra electricity will come from ‘wind and nuclear power’, because these are ‘clean, green’ and carbon-free.

But if it were all to come from wind, this might require up to 30,000 new wind turbines, each taking six months to install, on top of the 7,500 we already have.

Yet even this would not be enough. The fatal problem with turbines, as we know, is that on our many windless or near-windless days and nights, they could not charge up any electric cars.

So what about the Government’s nuclear power stations? If these were to provide all this additional electricity — which they would have to do when the wind dropped — we would have to spend a minimum of £200 billion on building nine more nuclear plants each the size of that planned for Hinkley Point in Somerset.

But on present showing, even Hinkley Point — already billions over budget and long delayed — is unlikely to be completed before 2030 if it gets built at all. And so far there are no more nuclear power stations on the way.

In the absence of coal-fired power stations which are rapidly being phased out because, despite their economic efficiency, they are not seen as green, there is only one possible source which could be relied on for the power needed to charge all these electric cars — a fleet of new gas-fired power stations.

But these are out of the question, of course, because they use precisely those ‘CO2 polluting’ fossil fuels the Government wants to ban.

To say that Mr Gove and his colleagues are living in cloud-cuckoo land when it comes to electric cars is, frankly, a wildly generous understatement. They haven’t begun to think through the practical implications in any way whatsoever.

But it is not just the politicians. In fact, just as worrying is the most recent forecast by National Grid, the formerly state-owned company responsible for ensuring that we have electricity whenever we need it anywhere in Britain.

Its latest report talks of how by 2030 we will need 80 per cent more electrical generating ‘capacity’ than we have now, of which nearly half, it says, will come from wind farms and solar panels.

But as it well knows, thanks to the intermittency of both the wind and the sun, the actual output from both these ‘renewable’ sources is likely to be a quarter of that.

To cover itself, National Grid assumes that by 2030 we will still have enough gas-fired power stations to provide instant back-up for when wind and sun are failing.

But these would provide nothing like enough power to bridge the gap when we have no more coal-fired power stations, and more gas-fired plants have closed.

The Grid also claims, extraordinarily, that by 2030 we will also be able to import six times as much electricity as we do now, from countries such as France which is planning not only to close down many of its own nuclear power stations but also to switch to electric cars.

It was always make-believe that electric cars saved anything like the amount of CO2 claimed for them, not just because most of their electricity came from fossil fuels, but because so much more CO2 is emitted in the process of making them in the first place.

But now we are faced with the biggest fantasy of all, that we can all be forced to give up cars powered by petrol and diesel, which are the most efficient, user-friendly form of personal transport ever devised — to rely instead on electric cars for which there will often be no electricity.

This is one of the craziest single green ideas — among a vast number — that those who rule over us have had. An idea that could lead to a national catastrophe — which we can only hope will somehow be prevented from happening.

  1. HotScot permalink
    August 24, 2017 10:08 am

    All this, and yet no one has empirically demonstrated that CO2 causes global warming.

    All we have is lab experiments, theory and computer projections.

    Is it too much to ask of our politicians to actually seek sound evidence before dictating zat ve vill all drive ze electrikery vehicles!

  2. Dung permalink
    August 24, 2017 10:12 am

    I do not think we are limited now to discussing science, I think revolution or at least a new pragmatic political party is needed.

    • Derek Buxton permalink
      August 24, 2017 10:27 am

      Sounds like a plan, we no longer have a Conservative Party that is for sure. They used to win elections after Labour had ruined the Country but now they are aiding and abetting a bunch of rabid socialists. I did not vote for this, as I keep trying to tell my tory politician, of course he is only trying to get a better job.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 24, 2017 11:48 am

        Your Tory MP might just be one of the Blairite crew that Call Me Dave encouraged so won’t be interested in what you have to say. Mine is the same, not that I voted for him. I wonder how many conservatives are still actually members of the party after Dave’s insults. They are thin on the ground which is why we saw the battlebus that is the subject of the fraud inquiry in 2015 touring constituencies.

    • August 25, 2017 12:37 pm

      You are probably more right than wrong. How long before a party is created whose radical defining call will be “Save Humanity?” I think that there are large numbers of people who are simply getting fed up. But the seem to have no alternative but the radical right. I can easily envision a “Dave Humanity” party being a power broker as a partner in a minority government.

  3. Robert Fairless permalink
    August 24, 2017 10:17 am

    What a complete waste of time and money. How did we ever come to be ruled by such idiots? The diesel engine has just about reached the peak of efficiency. To ban it would be an act of commercial madness. Recent developments such as Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and AdBlue reduces exhaust emissions to water. As with global warming/CO2 such remedies are rejected or denied because of the new emerging religion.
    The sad thing is that the general public are deceived and are persuaded to pay the bill, which will inevitably amount to countless billions.

    • Dung permalink
      August 24, 2017 10:26 am

      The problem is Robert that deceiving the public is now virtually a policy with all the currently realistic voting options.
      We are lied to about:
      Defence spending
      Overseas aid
      fossil fuels
      How badly government policy is hamstringing our economy
      Power generation
      Climate Change
      The UN
      and the list is endless.

    • NeilC permalink
      August 24, 2017 4:19 pm

      Robert, This explains what you said about SCR.

      I have a Peugeot 308 BlueHDi . Excellent performance very little emisions unless H2O or urea is now classified as greenhouse emissions and that’s taking the pi$$.

      When will the dumb idiots in government learn that even CO2 is not a problem in the real world, it does not increase temperature, otherwise how come the UK has had stable temperatures with 10% increase in CO2 for the last 20 years.

  4. Graeme No.3 permalink
    August 24, 2017 10:21 am

    It is increasingly obvious that the seat of government in the UK has moved from Westminster to Barking.

    • Dung permalink
      August 24, 2017 11:38 am

      The @seat of government@ needs a damn good kicking wherever it is but who will do it? ^.^

  5. HotScot permalink
    August 24, 2017 10:22 am


    Having read Dr Jennifer Marohasy’s latest work, in my very unscientific way, I stumbled upon this little gem which convincingly (to a layman) proposes that judging by natural global cycles, we are heading for a cold period within, perhaps, the next 10 years, which may go on into the next century. Now if Jennifer would project her work out for 50 years or so we might find a very good case, from two entirely different methods, for putting the brakes on the climate madness.

    In some ways, however, it’s fortunate that this projection predicts a significant, dramatic change over a relatively short period, well before 2040. In other ways, I would far rather the planet continued to warm, but then we’de never get the climate lunatics off our backs.

    If I have misunderstood the presentation, feel free to put me right.

    • HotScot permalink
      August 24, 2017 10:24 am


      Wrong link!!!!!

    • Dung permalink
      August 24, 2017 10:29 am

      The scientists who study the sun’s magnetic field have been warning us for years that we are approaching a ‘Solar Minimum’ which last time coincided with the Little Ice Age. Nobody can really say when but it would bne soon.

      • NeilC permalink
        August 24, 2017 4:22 pm

        A bit like climate change, nobody can say when but they know it will be soon.

      • Athelstan permalink
        August 26, 2017 8:12 am

        A very inconvenient fact, the world remains in what is geologically speaking named as an ‘ice age era’ aka the “Pleistocene” and that currently we exist in warming period ie a window between major glaciation events.

        In the past I have emphasized the very unpredictability of abrupt changes in the world’s climate happen in a matter of years – not eras…….I have said before and will stress it wiki …..portrays puts it somewhat accurately [humankind best guess]:

        Moreover, studies of seafloor sediments and ice cores from glaciers around the world, namely Greenland, indicate that climatic change is not smooth. Studies of isotopic composition of the ice cores indicate the change from warm to frigid temperatures can occur in a decade or two.[28] In addition, the ice cores show that an ice age is not uniformly cold, nor are interglacial periods uniformly warm (see also stadial). Analysis of ice cores of the entire thickness of the Greenland glacier shows that climate over the last 250,000 years has changed frequently and abruptly. The present interglacial period (the last 10,000 to 15,000 years) has been fairly stable and warm, but the previous one was interrupted by numerous frigid spells lasting hundreds of years. If the previous period was more typical than the present one, the period of stable climate in which humans flourished—inventing agriculture and thus civilization—may have been possible only because of a highly unusual period of stable temperature.[29]

        Thus to synopsize, we don’t know the trigger but when it comes as it surely will – it will be quick……… then you can build coal and gas plant and reliable energy can be ‘pumped’ into the grid coming ‘on line’ in a matter of months……………fossil fuel though supply of sufficiency may be a prob’…..Aye, it’s the only fekking way – otherwise what is known as “western civilisation” withers, freezes and will be extinct – mind you a 2000 foot thick ice sheet may also possibly have something to do with it.…………….albeit and for sure – ice sheets don’t come about ‘overnight’.

        Think on and shoot – aiming at Westminster.

  6. kevin bell permalink
    August 24, 2017 10:34 am

    the solution is blindingly obvious, why is there no mention of fuel cells? All the required hydrogen can be made from the abundant gas reserves using nuclear fuel. The existing petrol stations can be used and 300+ miles per tank is already achievable. Why doesn’t Booker promote this rather?

    • A C Osborn permalink
      August 24, 2017 1:58 pm

      What Nuclear Energy?

    • Ian Miller permalink
      August 24, 2017 7:49 pm

      Booker doesn’t promote your fuel cell technology which provides 300+miles, because most cars using petrol/Diesel have a 600 mile range. Q.E.D.

      • kevin bell permalink
        August 25, 2017 11:39 am

        Yes the current fuel cell range is 300+, but it’s early days. More importantly refueling time can be even quicker than petrol, a crucial factor surely??

  7. August 24, 2017 10:34 am

    It is very difficult to determine the relative madness of the many green manias. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest level of madness, every green idea so far in the UK is in the 9 or 10 category:
    Wind power: 10
    Solar power: 10
    Tidal power: 10
    Wave power: 10
    Anaerobic digesters: 10
    Banning diesel and petrol cars: 10
    Battery banks: 10
    Diesel STOR: 10
    Green investment bank: 10

    On second thoughts, I cannot think of one less than 10, which makes it difficult to rank them.

    • CheshireRed permalink
      August 24, 2017 10:38 am

      Show that list to any government minister and they’d say ‘yep, I agree. 10 out of 10’.

    • colin smith permalink
      August 24, 2017 10:59 am

      Can’t you rate at least one as 11?
      Just to break the monotony!

      • Nigel S permalink
        August 24, 2017 3:26 pm

        That “extra push over the cliff” probably the best place for EVs too.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      August 24, 2017 2:00 pm

      You forgot one (or 2) Burning Biomass and converting perfectly good Coal To Biomass burning.

      • David Chesney permalink
        August 24, 2017 5:46 pm

        That’s an 11

  8. rwoollaston permalink
    August 24, 2017 11:12 am

    Another excellent piece by Mr Booker.

    The National Grid will be rubbing their hands with glee as they are being transformed from a private enterprise that has to compete and optimise costs in order to generate profit, to one which (like Drax) simply chases subsidies for whatever mad scheme the govt dreams up next.

    I saw a video a few weeks ago (posted here?) of a talk given in the USA by a bigwig in our nuclear industry who claimed that, in the future, around 1/3 of our energy would come from nuclear, 1/3 from renewables, and 1/3 from CCS (carbon capture and storage!) I think I saw Alice bemusedly watching as this vision of an alternative reality was revealed.

    Finally, Mr Booker misses one important tax gain from electric vehicles – the extra VAT on coffee consumed while they are being charged at service stations.

  9. Peter Donaldson permalink
    August 24, 2017 11:25 am

    Electric vehicles are surely the first step to autonomous taxis that will provide all personal transportation in the future. The aim must be to get rid of private car ownership and all the problems our lords and masters see that they cause.
    The future is not cars, it’s pods, electric because combustion engines would be unsuitable for driverless taxis. Who would own them I do not know but there would be far fewer of them and issues like all the charging problems would be much reduced. In fact such vehicles would help solve a host of problems for government.
    Our rulers and the chosen ones would presumably still have cars.

    • HotScot permalink
      August 24, 2017 3:17 pm

      Peter Donaldson

      Uber will own them of course, or at least lease them.

  10. August 24, 2017 11:30 am

    I love Mr. Booker’s statement which absolutely wraps up the situation:
    “To say that Mr Gove and his colleagues are living in cloud-cuckoo land when it comes to electric cars is, frankly, a wildly generous understatement. They haven’t begun to think through the practical implications in any way whatsoever.”

    Leave a couple of blanks and you can fill in any government bureaucracy:
    “To say that ____________ and his colleagues are living in cloud-cuckoo land when it comes to ________________is, frankly, a wildly generous understatement. They haven’t begun to think through the practical implications in any way whatsoever.”

    And this, boys and girls, is why Donald Trump was elected. It is obvious that we have to come back for more bites of Congress next year, however there is much progress with EPA and bringing back industry and corporations. President Trump has accomplished a lot by simply cutting out volumes of onerous regulations which had hamstrung businesses.

  11. Don B permalink
    August 24, 2017 11:43 am

    Here is a novel idea for providing all of that electricity: Britain could build coal power plants as 62 countries are doing. As I recall, Britain was going to be an example to the world and other countries would follow its lead; another failed theory.

    “Over all, 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries, according to Urgewald’s tally, which uses data from the Global Coal Plant Tracker portal. The new plants would expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent.”

  12. keith permalink
    August 24, 2017 12:53 pm

    I think a good start would be that Gove and all the idiot ministers and climate change civil servants set an example and immediately change over to electric cars and stop using their petrol/diesel ones just like the Environment Minister in Germany who is using a Tesla in her campaigning. Oh, I forgot she gave up the Tesla and went back to a diesel car as the limited range of the Tesla was found to be in practical.

  13. Dermot Flaherty permalink
    August 24, 2017 1:17 pm

    Here is a letter I sent to the Telegraph yesterday in response to today’s letter from Therese Coffey (Environment) in which she cherry picks numbers from the FES 2017 report.
    SIR – Therese Coffey’s letter nicely illustrates the dangers of a vision without a credible plan to achieve it.
    Her claim that the proposed all-electric car nirvana will only mean an 8% increase on today’s peak demand is extremely misleading.
    The National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios 2017 document covers 4 scenarios for energy production and use out to 2050 and the 8% figure comes from the hugely optimistic Two Degrees scenario which assumes an average GDP growth rate of 2.1% for a start along with 50% of EVs being shared autonomous vehicles, etc.
    But there are three other scenarios described and indeed a fifth hidden away in Section 5.3 called High Electric Vehicles which sounds far more realistic and would create an increase in peak demand of some 50%.
    I urge all interested readers to download and read the FES 2017 and consider its assumptions about our future.
    I assume that most people were happy with the plan for the Elizabeth Tower refurbishment until someone noticed the detail that Big Ben would be silenced for four years.
    We see the highest economic growth of all the scenarios.
    There is a collective ambition to decarbonise the economy. High taxes are levied on those who continue to use carbon intensive options, such as conventional gas for heating. Policy and incentives are in place to reduce demand and increase renewable generation. This ensures progression towards the long-term green ambition.
    Society is very conscious of its carbon footprint and is actively trying to reduce carbon
    emissions. Consumer demand for new green technologies is high and they are happy to
    spend money on home energy management systems, low carbon heating and insulation.
    There is also a drive to make transport greener.
    Technology and investment are focused on low carbon generation, with the highest levels
    from sources such as solar, wind and nuclear generation. Investment in gas innovation
    continues as we look to produce more biomethane as well as other green gases.

    For a start, this scenario assumes an average GDP growth rate of 2.1% when the OBR in Dec 2016 projected growth of less that 2% up to 2021 and with all the Brexit uncertainty, who would put their money on the Two degrees growth rate PLUS the enormous social changes implied ?

    And that is the whole point.
    Anyone can arm-wave and make sweeping statements about driverless cars being shared, etc. in a magic land where we all get behind green initiatives no matter what the cost etc. but until people start to understand what this really means to them starting from now (increased power bills to pay for all the renewable subsidies for starters) we'll nod this through until one winter the lights go out.

    It is really hard to know how to get any of our elected representatives to take a serious look at what is being proposed by the Climate Change blob which seems to have taken over from the CofE as the official religion of the country.

  14. Dermot Flaherty permalink
    August 24, 2017 1:22 pm

    Not certain what went wrong with the above post.
    My DT letter ended with my comment about Big Ben and then the section in italics should have been prefaced by a sentence saying – Here is a description of the Two Degrees scenario (FES 2017 Page 15) –
    But I am certain you all get the drift.

    • August 24, 2017 1:45 pm

      Thank you for your efforts. We should all do more of this type of thing. Just so people are aware that there is an alternative viewpoint, something other than the usual rigid green phalanx of everyone agreeing on “necessary” actions that in reality are anything but.

    • August 24, 2017 7:06 pm

      I’ve fired off a letter as well!

  15. Mike Jackson permalink
    August 24, 2017 3:59 pm

    But as it well knows, thanks to the intermittency of both the wind and the sun, the actual output from both these ‘renewable’ sources is likely to be a quarter of that.

    And even this misses the point because hardly anybody — and certainly not any politician that I know — understands what this means. It’s not a matter of wind farms only operating at 25% of their rated capacity; it’s that because of the limited range of wind speeds they can be operated at they might well be operating at all only 30% or 40% of the time.

    Building three times as many turbines (even assuming it were practicable to do it) would not make a blind bit of difference when it’s the “wrong sort of wind”!

    And the first minister or civil servant who says “but the wind is always blowing somewhere” should be fired forthwith!

    • dave permalink
      August 25, 2017 9:34 am

      “…the wind is always blowing somewhere…”

      Indeed, it is blowing a hooly off the coast of Texas. Funnily enough, they do not seeem to be best pleased.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 26, 2017 10:59 pm

      Indeed he should. Here’s what it looks like across essentially the whole of Europe:

      Spiky and gappy. Lots of storage and backup required to make it usable.

  16. Bitter&Twisted permalink
    August 24, 2017 5:05 pm

    And Gove is supposed to be “intelligent”!
    English, Oxford: so “uniquely qualified to pontificate on energy policy.
    This is batsh!t crazy.
    I can only think he is screw1ng the fragrant Barreness Worthless- another English graduate who gifted us the Climate Change Act, under Millibrain.

  17. Alaskan Sea permalink
    August 24, 2017 6:06 pm

    When the power cuts start people still won’t see the light!

  18. August 24, 2017 6:23 pm

    On BBC Radio 4 this evening, there was an item about India being 100% EV by 2030 to benefit the highly polluted cities (and showing the way to countries like the UK). Unsurprisingly, nobody asked where all the electricity to charge these millions of vehicles was going to come from. Even though the cost of EVs was about 4 times that of diesel cars, everybody interviewed thought it would be easy to meet the target and export the new technology to the west. We are not the only country governed by idiots.

    • Ian Miller permalink
      August 24, 2017 7:58 pm

      I understand the Indian Energy Minister is of the view that eradication of poverty is paramount and will be provided for by Coal Fired Power Stations.
      This suggests Radio 4 propaganda is up to no-good again.

  19. John F. Hultquist permalink
    August 25, 2017 12:21 am

    The legacy refueling station does not work with EVs.
    Home and work parking will have to include plugins and there will need to be spaces near apartment buildings and the like. Restaurants, retail stores, and many other places where people stop for 30 minutes to an hour will need plugins. Going to a beach or a cabin to get away from “civilization” will require some fail-safe means of getting a recharge.
    Without all this “stuff” most of us will need 2 autos – one to accomplish activities, and one to play games with while looking green.
    I envision a very slow roll-out of all the necessary things, with no guess as to the ultimate situation. Further, it will not be soon (2030), and may never be (something new may come along).

    • August 25, 2017 11:25 am

      I STILL want to see the aerials of the LA Freeways littered with the little dead cars.

  20. August 25, 2017 5:11 am

    Reblogged this on Wolsten.

  21. Coeur de Lion permalink
    August 25, 2017 9:31 pm

    Don’t worry. It will never happen.

  22. tom0mason permalink
    August 25, 2017 11:08 pm

    Virtue signalers of the world unite you have nothing to lose!*

    (* Much of your freedom of choice, money, accommodation, independent use of personal transport, heating and cooling, and on-demand energy use, excepted.)

  23. August 26, 2017 11:41 am

    “Could be contributing to 12,000 or more premature deaths a year”.

    This is propaganda.

    None of my GP friends are aware of any individual whose health has been compromised by diesel fumes.

    If we assume the majority of these very ill people – say 10,000 – are attending NHS hospitals – there are 168 NHS trusts in Britain – that’s 60 people per hospital. Where are these diesel-incapacitated people?

    Figment of the policians’ imagination, I suggest.

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