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Electric cars may make driving too expensive for middle classes, warns Vauxhall chief

May 13, 2021

By Paul Homewood

h/t Patsy Lacey


Driving could become the preserve of the rich as Britain and other countries around the world impose bans on diesel and petrol cars and embrace electrification, the boss of Vauxhall owner Stellantis has warned.

A global rush to go electric could make cars too expensive for the middle classes, said Carlos Tavares, chief executive of the world’s fifth-biggest car maker – and it may even fail to significantly reduce carbon emissions because the vehicles are so much heavier than petrol ones.

The comments are the most outspoken public criticism of electrification by any car boss and will likely cause consternation in Downing Street, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said new fossil fuel cars will be banned from 2030.

He said: “I can’t imagine a democratic society where there is no freedom of mobility because it’s only for wealthy people and all the others will use public transport.”

The pandemic has underlined the public’s dependence on cars for “personal mobility" and this should be seen as a fundamental right, Mr Tavares said.

Car manufacturers are confident about making vehicles that can meet environmental goals, he said, but added this could drive up prices. A petrol Vauxhall Corsa starts at £16,000 while the company’s cheapest electric version, the Corsa E, costs £26,400, although the price difference is narrowing. 

I am quite sure that this has been the objective of the green lobby for sometime.

The availability of affordable motor cars for the masses has totally transformed people’s lives. They are now able to go where they want, when they want, work where they want and enjoy their leisure time how they want, in a way that would have been inconceivable to most people a few decades ago.

Mr Tavares is quite correct when he says this should be seen as a fundamental right.

  1. May 13, 2021 1:53 pm

    “They are now able to go where they want, when they want, work where they want and enjoy their leisure time how they want, in a way that would have been inconceivable to most people a few decades ago.”
    On the contrary, that’s exactly what railways did, until the car came along and forced the closure of the railways.

    • Thomas Carr permalink
      May 13, 2021 2:57 pm

      Not so. The railways at their most extensive offered a limited door-to-door convenience. The universality of van driven distribution exposes the limitations of the railway,

  2. Penda100 permalink
    May 13, 2021 1:55 pm

    But according to Bloomberg “Electric vehicles will be cheaper to manufacture than cars running on petrol or diesel within the next six years, according to forecasts from BloombergNEF. Cheaper batteries and dedicated production lines will ensure that by 2026 the cost of producing electric sedans and SUVs will be lower than cars with an internal combustion engine. Smaller models will reach cost parity one year later, the report found. Earlier research from investment bank UBS suggested that the cost of making electric vehicles will be similar to conventional cars in 2024.”

    Somehow I think the guy making the cars might know more about it.

    • tomo permalink
      May 13, 2021 4:53 pm



      who believes them? They constantly spout mendacious toss on an epic scale.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      May 13, 2021 10:36 pm

      Cheaper and better batteries have been coming since at least 1982. There have been improvements, even lead acid batteries have doubled their capacity.
      The problem is batteries are a store of energy chemically, and the more energy you cram into a battery, the bigger the problem when something goes wrong; see lithium fires.
      To get an electric car that matches an IC would require around 4 times the energy in the same weight as current lithium ones. I foresee the Ministry of Defence running trials on their possible use as bombs.

  3. Bob Schweizer permalink
    May 13, 2021 2:07 pm

    There is no question that over the years people have become too reliant on cars, to the detriment of their own health, possibly the over-consumption of resources and the accumulation of the associated discarded junk. However, people must have the freedom to decide for themselves what type of car best suits their need, and not be dictated to by virtue-signalling wankers.

    • Colin MacDonald permalink
      May 13, 2021 2:57 pm

      I would agree, people are generally too lazy even to walk short distances. And what interests me is that national governments legislate to ban economical cars, ie petrol ones, while local governments allow edge of town developments which rely on cars, meanwhile taxing to death pedestrian friendly high streets. Cars meanwhile are less affordable than they appear, often bought with easy money and right now the source of the next credit bubble.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        May 13, 2021 10:05 pm

        Colin, you can also add closing streets to vehicles, building cycle lanes that site empty the vast majority of the time, replacing parking places with seats and even giant plant pots (no, really, I am not joking) so that businesses can’t be serviced, emissions tax, congestion charge, why would anyone want to try to run a business in the centre of towns or cities?

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      May 13, 2021 8:22 pm

      I grew up without electricity, mains gas, mains water and no refuse collections amongst other things now considered essentil, in a remote farmhouse in Perthshire. We could see one other inhabited house and one abandoned ruin. The nearest village with a pub, shop, primary school and Post Office was over 4miles away. My dad worked away all week and we went to scholl by school car (an old car usually) and bus.
      If I wanted to see friends or go to a local cinema (20 miles) it was a cycle ride and bus journey.

      For me anyone who thinks that lifestyle is preferable to life now should try it for acouple of years. Cycling 4 miles up hill in horizontal sleet knowing when you’ve got home you’ll have to light a fire to get warm makes you very grateful every time you get home dry and warm in a car with instant heat and have a hot meal ready in less than half an hour, it is paradise.

  4. May 13, 2021 2:18 pm

    What a pleasant surprise; someone senior in the motor industry who is happy to speak the truth. Let’s hope a few more follow his example; obviously excluding the representatives of Rolls Royce and Bentley (other luxury car marques are available).

  5. David Calder permalink
    May 13, 2021 2:19 pm

    We used to have a market economy. It was quite nice. I’d like it back. Also, electric cars are REALLY bad for human health, just not in proximity to the subsidised rich virtue signalling asses that buy them (as second or third cars).

  6. Broadlands permalink
    May 13, 2021 2:31 pm

    And I doubt that much thought has been given as to what will be done with all the “gas guzzlers” by the billions when everyone is using batteries. Just leave them sitting where they ran out of fuel to rust and provide beauty on the countryside landscapes where solar panel farms are blocking out vegetation? A wonderful future is in store?

    • Sobaken permalink
      May 13, 2021 2:59 pm

      As I understand it, the ban is for new car sales only, so there will be plenty of conventional cars on the road still even if this policy comes to pass and doesn’t immediately fail. I imagine that the value of second hand fueled cars is going to increase substantially, as there will be quite a lot of people wanting to buy a car but not content with paying 26k or more for something that has a range of 150 km and takes several hours to recharge.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        May 13, 2021 3:26 pm

        The govs. won’t outlaw old cars, they will tax them off the road, ban them from towns, and throttle the supply of fuel.

        Current policy means everyone will just use tax/ULEZ/MOT exempt highly polluting ‘classic’ cars – obviously they will not let that happen.

      • May 13, 2021 3:28 pm

        It will be just like Cuba (until the green government bans petrol and diesel or makes it unaffordable for the masses).

  7. Lorde Late permalink
    May 13, 2021 2:46 pm

    For me, with no car I would be marooned at home as we have NO public transport. my nearest station would I geuss be a 1 1/2 hr walk,my nearest bus stop is around 20 min walk but when looking at the time table it appears to be visited by a bus about 3 times a week which takes around two hrs on a circlulatory route to get to my nearest town ( 15min drive),after living here for nearly 30 years I have never seen a bus. Although I have a pushbike due to infirmity I am unable to do more than 5-10 minutes.Hey Ho.

  8. Coeur de Lion permalink
    May 13, 2021 3:12 pm

    A propos of Boris Johnson’s vilely stupid EV plans, has anyone seen a statement of policy about IMPORTS? Are ICE vehicles forbidden? What does the WTO say about that? Daily Mail in February ran a piece on charging costs from public points. In my diesel Citroen ( Adblu – paying £20 p.a road tax – beat that) I get 470 miles for £52. IONITI at £0.60 per KWh x 3 charges x 30KWh = £54. Four minutes vs 9 hours!? The Nissan Leaf depreciates at £5000 a year for three years. Check it out. Then, LOOMING, is the New Battery Psychosis where the value of the Leaf falls to zero. No deal.

  9. Mr D J Fraser permalink
    May 13, 2021 3:56 pm

    I would like to recommend a web site called “Climate Discussion Nexus”, CDN.
    Here you be informed of the real facts around “climate change / global warming”.
    You will discover the lies and scaremongaring put out by the likes of Al Gore, Bill Gares, Kelly, David Attenborough, ( is it my imagination, or is he losing it in his dotage?) and the poor Swedish lassie, (have her parents been charged with child abuse yet?).
    The whole subject is one of the biggest world wide scams ever perpitrated and it’s making a few people a lot, I mean A LOT, of money.
    The problem now is that world leaders, who otherwise might not have totally believed the propaganda now feel they have to or risk being lambasted on the world stage by the priests of the religion which is climate change.
    Let’s see how many committed savers of the planet turn up in Glasgow having travelled there by airplane, those terrible destroyers of the atmosphere.
    One last point, what happens when we have no CO2 in the atmosphere?
    All rain forests,woods, fields, crops, gardens will die and then the wildlife that relies on these eco systems and who will have distroyed the planet then?
    Buffons, the lot of them!

  10. markl permalink
    May 13, 2021 4:40 pm

    It’s part of the “plan” as outlined in Agenda 21. People are naive to the execution of Agenda 21 leading to a One World Government. Conspiracy theory? It’s in Agenda 21, been there for years, for all to see. Shrink the suburbs and rural living areas into central hubs where there’s no need for private transportation because everything will be provided within walking and public transportation distance …. including work. Central planning in theory and practice.

  11. Dave Andrews permalink
    May 13, 2021 5:24 pm

    Expense is not the only problem. It has been calculated that to make all cars and vans electric by 2050 and all sales purely EV by 2035 for the UK alone would require just under twice the total world production of cobalt, nearly the entire production of neodymium, 3/4s the world production of lithium and at least half the world production of copper in 2018.(Note this does not include LGV and HGV fleets)

    Extrapolating to worldwide projected estimate of 2 billion cars in 2050 world annual production of neodymium and dysprosium would have to increase by 70%, copper output more than double, cobalt output increase at least three and a half times for the entire period to 2050 to satisfy demand.…source-challenge-of-meeting-net-zer.html

    • May 13, 2021 5:43 pm

      But even they have an alarmist opening statement: “As a major scientific research institution and authority on the natural world, the Natural History Museum supports the pressing need for a major reduction in carbon emissions to address further catastrophic consequences of climate change”

  12. cookers52 permalink
    May 13, 2021 5:48 pm

    I wouldn’t get too worried, Boris has the Medusa touch, everything he touches goes wrong.

    Politicians produce successful strategies that fail in implementation.

    Nobody has the slightest idea how to transition to a zero carbon energy system for our homes and transport.

  13. Adam Gallon permalink
    May 13, 2021 6:24 pm

    Feature,not a bug!

  14. Gamecock permalink
    May 13, 2021 8:21 pm

    ‘Electric cars may make driving too expensive for middle classes, warns Vauxhall chief’

    And your point is?

  15. Spences permalink
    May 14, 2021 12:35 pm

    Paul, have you or anyone suitably aware any knowledge of and comment upon the development of a hydrogen cartridge called PowerPaste that has been produced by the Fraunhofer Institute in Dresden? It’s being hailed as a saviour for personal transport in the current edition of Car magazine.

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