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Justin Rowlatt’s Electric Car Fantasy

June 1, 2021

By Paul Homewood



h/t Ian Magness



Justin Rowlatt is away with the fairies today!




I know, you probably haven’t even driven one yet, let alone seriously contemplated buying one, so the prediction may sound a bit bold, but bear with me.

We are in the middle of the biggest revolution in motoring since Henry Ford’s first production line started turning back in 1913.

And it is likely to happen much more quickly than you imagine.

Many industry observers believe we have already passed the tipping point where sales of electric vehicles (EVs) will very rapidly overwhelm petrol and diesel cars.

It is certainly what the world’s big car makers think.

Jaguar plans to sell only electric cars from 2025, Volvo from 2030 and last week the British sportscar company Lotus said it would follow suit, selling only electric models from 2028.

And it isn’t just premium brands.

General Motors says it will make only electric vehicles by 2035, Ford says all vehicles sold in Europe will be electric by 2030 and VW says 70% of its sales will be electric by 2030.

This isn’t a fad, this isn’t greenwashing.

Yes, the fact many governments around the world are setting targets to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles gives impetus to the process.

But what makes the end of the internal combustion engine inevitable is a technological revolution. And technological revolutions tend to happen very quickly.

This revolution will be electric.

Look at the internet.

By my reckoning, the EV market is about where the internet was around the late 1990s or early 2000s.

Back then, there was a big buzz about this new thing with computers talking to each other.

Jeff Bezos had set up Amazon, and Google was beginning to take over from the likes of Altavista, Ask Jeeves and Yahoo. Some of the companies involved had racked up eye-popping valuations.

For those who hadn’t yet logged on it all seemed exciting and interesting but irrelevant – how useful could communicating by computer be? After all, we’ve got phones!

But the internet, like all successful new technologies, did not follow a linear path to world domination. It didn’t gradually evolve, giving us all time to plan ahead.

Its growth was explosive and disruptive, crushing existing businesses and changing the way we do almost everything. And it followed a familiar pattern, known to technologists as an S-curve. 

Justin seems to be forgetting one very important, some would say crucial, factor.

Technological revolutions only take off if they offer consumers something better than they have already got.

The internet did just that. At relatively low cost, it transformed the way people led their lives, and the way businesses operated. The added value to society of the internet is incalculable; indeed it would be nigh on impossible to imagine how much poorer our lives would all be without it.

But what on earth do electric cars offer in this respect? They are much more expensive to buy, and it is hard to see them ever being cheaper than conventional cars, particularly given the looming shortages of raw materials.

Worse still, they are far inferior for the vast majority of drivers than petrol engines, because of the intractable problems of recharging. Given a choice, very few drivers have bought EVs, even with massive subsidies amounting to £10,000 and more over the life of a car, and there is a very good reason for that.  Why should that change?

Even if all of these problems could be resolved, why would EVs offer anything better than what they currently have?

It is true, of course, that many more EVs will appear on our roads in due course. And manufacturers are already shifting their plans accordingly. But this has nothing to do with consumer choice. It will be a direct consequence of government diktat, which will leave millions of drivers worse off than before.

I am left with the impression that Justin Rowlatt, just one member of the vastly overstaffed BBC Environment Department, lives in the centre of London, and does not have the slightest idea how the rest of the country live. To him, no doubt. motor cars are a frippery, which he can do without most of the time. And not the necessity it is for most of us.

  1. JimW permalink
    June 1, 2021 9:50 pm

    Yes Paul, cars like home heating divides urban and rural.
    I comfort myself thinking of the morlocks feasting on the eloi.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 1, 2021 10:02 pm

      So all we need to do is move the time machine to the garden – whereas the Greens want to do the opposite.

  2. GeoffB permalink
    June 1, 2021 9:50 pm

    Son of Harrabin

  3. Alan Haile permalink
    June 1, 2021 9:57 pm

    I heard him do this piece on the radio this morning. One small mention of the recharging problem was all we got, and no detail on it. Until recharging from empty to full can take place in less than 5 minutes EVs will be no use to most people.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 1, 2021 10:05 pm

      Has anyone (I can’t) ever worked out what the equivalent amount of electrical energy transfer is required to equate to the amount of FF energy at the petrol pump if the majority of cars (vehicles??) on the roads were EVs?

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        June 1, 2021 11:29 pm

        About 34 KWh per gallon.

      • Sobaken permalink
        June 2, 2021 12:08 pm

        30 million EVs would consume 80 TWh per year, which is about a quarter of total annual generation

      • Ouside the Bubble permalink
        June 2, 2021 2:30 pm

        Based on my Outlander, you need about 13kWh per gallon. That’s based on 40mpg, 3miles/kWh.
        Whilst the specific energy of petrol is huge (35KWh/gal) the noisy heaty explody machine in the front does throw about 60-70% of it away.

  4. Brian Smith permalink
    June 1, 2021 10:07 pm

    Electric cars are part of a huge, integrated family of vehicles with many interchangeable parts. Electric motors will probably never be suited to the range of vehicles that internal combustion engines drive.

    So while we may find EVs are successful replacements for the mum and klds to school vehicle, they will never be competitive throughout the range of conventional cars, vans, truck, lorries, tractors and specialised vehicles that depend on petrol and diesel engines.

    If the parts they share with volume cars are no longer available, the cost of a tractor, for example, will increase substantially and the same applies to all the other vehicles that currently share parts.

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      June 3, 2021 5:15 pm

      Not so sure about all the the Mums and kids. A recent “road test” by the i Newspaper had this to say about the Jaguar I-PACE.

      “It’s practical too, with plenty of space for two proper-sized adults in the back – three smaller ones if someone volunteers to sit in the middle -”

      And the price starts at only just under £70,000 and with additional tech and gadgets fitted rises to over £75,000

  5. June 1, 2021 10:37 pm

    I was in a council building today.
    The first thing we needed to do was open all the windows
    cos the heating was on full blast.

    Yes the metroliberal class who rule over us are so green and so in touch with reality ..not

  6. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    June 1, 2021 10:56 pm

    Hey don’t knock it.
    Think yourself lucky you were able to open the windows.

  7. Mack permalink
    June 1, 2021 10:56 pm

    There’s a popular meme on the internet, ‘Electrical vehicles: providing range anxiety since 1898’. Technically wrong, as I do believe a former compatriot of mine in bonnie Scotland cobbled the first one together in around 1830. However, the meme is definitely correct with regard to range anxiety if, as an EV owner, you might be inclined to wander out of the London Borough of Islington to more rural pastures more than once in a while. Still, the point is moot.

    There’s a reason why the Jocks didn’t rise to worldwide domination in the automobile industry: electricity. Very simply, electric vehicles haven’t and can’t yet perform as well as commercial ICE vehicles in almost every metric, bar acceleration from a standing start. (Henry Ford figured that one out). And, the vast majority of the great unwashed need a cheap and reliable vehicle which is quickly refuelable and can, at the drop of a hat, go long and short distances, in all weathers, at any time of year. Until such an EV exists that replicates what they have already the masses won’t be buying them voluntarily.

    • AC Osborn permalink
      June 2, 2021 9:46 am

      Yes it ws ironic that he mentioned Henry Ford, because his assembly line killed electric vehicles.

  8. ianprsy permalink
    June 1, 2021 11:12 pm

    I spent a couple of hours on the M1 the other day and was overtaken by a surprising number of tax breaks, AKA Teslas. That said, I’ve seen two references on WUWT to trends in USA where about 20% of electric car users have gone back to petrol/Diesel.

  9. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    June 1, 2021 11:24 pm

    There is not enough copper, lithium and cobalt in the world for all British cars to be electric. Nor can the British grid power them, especially with electric heat pump heating being enforced. Mr Nut Nut PM can do one!

    • MarkR permalink
      June 2, 2021 1:58 am

      Remember, the green idea is NOT that electric vehicles should or should replace ICE vehicles one for one.

      This is less of an issue about saving the planet by phasing out Internal combustion engines and more of a political/social engineering issue to remove most cars for most people, and most other vehicles.

      Those behind this have an overwhelming goal of societal change. They hate the way of life that relatively cheap car and vehicle transport provides. They wish to exterminate it. Yes, it will cost everyone more and yes, it will not support as many people as at present. That is the goal.

      In brief:
      Those of us pointing out that electrical generation can’t and won’t support all the new consumers of electricity (vehicle charging, heating, etc.) that will seemingly be needed.,
      Those of us pointing out that resources will limit vehicle production (at affordable levels at least).
      Those of us pointing out that wind power, solar power, and electric vehicles and battery production is actually ecologically damaging.
      We’re all missing the real point. The real point is to de-industrialise, to reduce vehicle numbers, to intentionally make life more expensive, less flexible, less free, and less economically sustainable for many people. The *goal* is to induce artificial and unnecessary poverty.

      • ianprsy permalink
        June 2, 2021 12:58 pm

        In which case, somebody should tell the councils allowing the building of enormous warehouses and logistic centres on greenbelt land that they’ve got it wrong.

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        June 2, 2021 1:31 pm

        And restrict car travel to the ‘chosen ones’.

    • Julian Flood permalink
      June 2, 2021 9:32 am

      ITYM Prime Minister Numbnuts,

      “Noun. (chiefly US, slang, derogatory, sometimes humorous, often as a term of address) A slow-witted, unresponsive, or inept person (usually male).”

      So we are ruled by Princess Nut Nuts and Mr Numbnuts, neither of whom could find the right end of a plug spanner. What could possibly go wrong?


    • Sobaken permalink
      June 2, 2021 12:30 pm

      Click to access S2542-4351(17)30044-2.pdf

      Latest battery chemistry uses 0.111 kg of lithium, 0.094 kg of cobalt, 0.75 kg of nickel per kWh of capacity.
      World lithium reserves are 21 million tons, cobalt – 7.1 MT, nickel – 93.9 MT. And that’s just what is identified today.
      30 million cars with 100 kWh battery each would use up 0.333 MT of Li (1.58% of reserves), 0.282 MT of Co (3.97%) and 2.25 MT of Ni (2.39%).
      People who complain about mineral scarcity sound like the Club of Rome with their limits to growth and other greenies from 50 years ago.

  10. Sam Duncan permalink
    June 1, 2021 11:37 pm

    “By my reckoning, the EV market is about where the internet was around the late 1990s or early 2000s.”

    While your response to this is spot-on, my gut feeling is that it’s roughly where consumer-grade computer communications were in the mid-1980s: a few commercial bulletin boards like Micronet, clunky and slow 1200/75 modems, and the massive BT-backed white elephant that was Prestel.

    But what it really reminds me of is the situation back then in France, which, of course, “led the way” with its state-owned Minitel… setting it back about a decade when the real, internet-led, revolution came along.

    • MarkR permalink
      June 2, 2021 2:02 am

      I think this is likely to be a very astute observation.

      It probably means that we can’t yet imagine what the real transport revolution will look like.

      This is because it will be market-driven, as all successful industrial/technological revolutions are.

      It won’t be driven by explicitly communist-style, top-down, government-driven command planning, as the whole Net Zero/EV thing is at present. It will be something that consumers and businesses want, and choose because it makes their lives easier and/or cheaper, not because of subsidies or government dictat but because they can choose in the market.

      The current communist approach (and it literally is communist in the current central/command planning model) has always failed to make people’s lives better or cheaper. It just makes people worse off and less free, and less able to adapt to real threats that come along.

      • Nick Dekker permalink
        June 2, 2021 9:33 am

        Try telling that to the chinese.

      • June 2, 2021 9:36 am

        ” Communism –has always failed to make people’s lives better”. Try telling that ti present day Chinese.

      • T Walker permalink
        June 2, 2021 10:42 am

        Nicholas – China ceased to be communist decades ago. Just totalitarian.

        There is a difference – our PM intends to go down that route if we let him.

      • June 2, 2021 4:48 pm

        Dekker, in case you hadn’t noticed China ceased to be Communist a few decades ago

  11. Peter Yarnall permalink
    June 2, 2021 12:02 am

    I drive a petrol Mazda 2 SportNav. It’s emissions are negligible and it has a full tank range of about 440 miles. I have an annual summer holiday in Bordeaux. I leave my home in Greater Manchester with a full tank. I refill north of Paris. It takes about 5 minutes, then on to Bordeaux. Surely innovation should IMPROVE on that!

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      June 2, 2021 12:46 am

      The “improvement” is that you won’t be able to travel to Bordeaux, even assuming that the
      ferries, Chunnel trains etc. switch to (renewable supplied) electricity.

      The only way I see is the idea of aluminium (possibly also zinc) air ‘battery’. The tank is
      removed and replaced inside 5 minutes and sent off to be recycled using electricity. Or else it gets dumped.
      Light weight for the range provided (claims of 1,000km. so your 440 miles may be reached).

    • MarkR permalink
      June 2, 2021 2:05 am

      Genuine market-led innovation could and would improve on that. But we’re seeing a command economy take shape. It’s nothing to do with technological progress or market innovation.

      Remember that the people behind all this despise you for taking a long range holiday like that. They despise you for doing it in a car, and would equally despise you for doing it by plane.

      They wish to prevent people having the cost effective, relatively cheap, ability to travel.

      It is societal change they want to bring about, entirely regardless of the planet. Saving the planet is a sideshow for them, merely a way to persuade the useful idiots who think that “obviously” saving the planet is important, even when nothing that is planned could or would save the planet from anything.

      • Julian Flood permalink
        June 2, 2021 9:35 am

        “Remember that the people behind all this despise you for taking a long range holiday like that. They despise you for doing it in a car, and would equally despise you for doing it by plane.”

        You peasant! Don’t you realise that such things are reserved for the nomenclatura?


    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 2, 2021 8:41 am

      I have a house an hour or so from Bordeaux. I can fill up with diesel in London and get there without having to put any more in – 600 miles. In an EV I would probably have to stop at least 5 times, adding at least 2.5 hours to the journey. That’s progress?

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        June 2, 2021 11:32 am

        That depends on who is defining ‘progress’.
        As several posters above might have phrased it, making life harder for all is a ‘feature’ of the system, not a bug!

        There is no point in complaining that this, that, or the other not-very-bright eco-nut idea won’t work or will make us all poorer. That is the object of the exercise and just because the average punter (and more so the average politician) thinks it won’t affect them doesn’t mean that it won’t.

      • Micky R permalink
        June 2, 2021 2:32 pm

        My Volvo diesel saloon of a few years ago would occasionally display a calculated range of 1000+ miles.

        The mark of a car with a decent range is where you look at the illuminated “low fuel” lamp on the dashboard and wonder what it means.

  12. tomo permalink
    June 2, 2021 12:43 am

    I don’t know if it’s an synchronised / orchestrated effort (i feel it is…) but stupid EV stories, stupid windmill stories, stupid solar farm stories, stupid hydrogen stories, stupid battery stories, stupid HVDC interconnector stories, stupid tidal energy stories have simply been overflowing in my adverts and Google search suggestions in the last 4 days….

    Joe Biden’s already trying to learn his Green New Deal / Net Zero speech for Cornwall and the teleprompterwill be set up next week.

    I’ll wager nobody mentions this just down the road from the POTUS hotel.

    “A £42m wave energy facility launched 11 years ago is to be sold to an offshore wind farm company.

    Wave Hub, an undersea “socket” located off Hayle in Cornwall, is meant to transfer electricity from wave energy producers to the National Grid.

    So far no firms have used the facility for that purpose.

    Owner Cornwall Council said it would be sold for an undisclosed sum to Swedish firm Hexicon in a deal expected to be completed at the end of May.

    Wave Hub, forecast to be a “world class facility”, was financed by the South West of England Regional Development Agency (£12.5m), the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme (£20m) and the UK government (£9.5m).

    The site, 10 miles (16km) north of St Ives and Carbis Bay, is linked to the mainland via an undersea cable, but no power has been transferred through it.

    Ownership was transferred to Cornwall Council in 2017 and the authority said it “received around £14m to cover ongoing operations, support for the marine renewables sector and decommissioning costs”.”

    A £42,000,000 extension cable that has never been used … Hexicon likely found it as a 99p listing on Fleabay

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      June 2, 2021 12:51 am

      I know how you feel as I often found it necessary to go to the fourth or fifth page in Google to
      avoid the waffle.
      Switch to DuckDuckGo rather than Google. (There are other choices).

      • tom0mason permalink
        June 2, 2021 11:26 am

        You might also wish to try .
        After a year of trialing it I found it quite impressive, especially it’s ‘advanced search’ option.

    • June 2, 2021 6:51 am

      I remember Wave Hub being launched to great fanfare on the local news, and saying to myself “Another white elephant – I wonder how long before it is abandoned at great cost to the taxpayer?”

      • HotScot permalink
        June 2, 2021 10:36 am

        Phillip – That’s already happened. As mentioned by tomo, the “undisclosed” sum is “undisclosed” because it’s unmentionable. The wind farm will doubtless decommission it for scrap and use a nice accounting tactic to claim millions back from the Taxpayer to bolster their wind energy profits whilst hiking up consumer electricity prices.

        So in fact, the Taxpayer will pay twice for the useless piece of junk you rightly described as a white elephant, only it’s a white elephant, squared.

  13. markl permalink
    June 2, 2021 3:41 am

    Notice how even the manufacturers are making claims 5 to 10 years away? Sound familiar? Virtue signaling has no time constraints.

  14. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    June 2, 2021 5:30 am

    Did not notice in the article or comments that EVs will have to start paying for roads and related infrastructure as they gain users. Who is not already tired of them being subsidized?”

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 2, 2021 8:46 am

      And as many current users will be driven off the roads, EV users are going to have to pay far more. The lack of economies of scale is going to devastate the middle classes who think they will be able to afford all this nonsense. They – and most politicians – don’t understand how things are made cheap by having everyone afford to use stuff.

    • HotScot permalink
      June 2, 2021 10:49 am

      Nancy & John Hultquist – If carried through and not ‘delayed’ as most other things this government does are, the second hand ICE market will boom and the business to be in will be used car sales and scrap yards.

      The government will then bemoan the fact their Net Zero strategy has less acceptance than their coerced vaccination program. The public will of course be blamed for ‘EV Resistance’ and more Taxpayers money will be poured into the media to hammer home that for the sake of everyone else, we should be driving EV’s.

      Our government is already rowing back on their criminal endeavour to make selling a non compliant Net Zero house illegal. They will, as usual, concoct a trick to make it essentially uneconomical to sell a non compliant house, as they will, by choking off petrol and diesel supplies, to make driving a non EV impossible.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        June 2, 2021 12:06 pm

        Not to mention a booming market in manufacturing pattern parts to keep the old vehicles running such as some classic car/motorcycle groups do already.

      • Penda100 permalink
        June 2, 2021 3:02 pm

        They don’t need to make the sale of non-compliant houses illegal, just lean on the mortgage providers to stop giving mortgages. (because the house is non-compliant, the risk of a FUTURE government making it illegal to sell them, or requisitioning them for site value as they are non-compliant, increases the risk of non-repayment, so better not lend). This has basically the same effect as making sales illegal but the blame passes to the hated financial services industry.

  15. Ben Vorlich permalink
    June 2, 2021 6:59 am

    I can never hear or see the name Justin Rowlatt without thinking whatever happened to the ” Ethical Man” launched with a huge fanfare on the BBC over a decade ago and which faded into obscurity.
    What was the result anyone know?

  16. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 2, 2021 8:47 am

    So the proof we all love EVs is that the government has banned manufacturers from making alternatives?

    Pravda would have rejected this nonsense.

  17. James Neill permalink
    June 2, 2021 8:48 am

    I have just tried to find out where Justin Rowlatt lives. There is quite a lot of information about him but not where he lives. I can find nothing on that count which is interesting. His sister Cordelia has some involvement with Extinction Rebellion and faced a court case. The following link makes interesting reading:-

  18. George Lawson permalink
    June 2, 2021 8:50 am

    As usual, the electric car advocates ignore the number of downsides of enforced changing to EVs. To start with, if on average fully charged EVs travel only half the distance of a petrol driven car on a full tank, then the EVs waiting to refuel at recharging stations will be double that of a current petrol station, added to which is the additional time that an EV takes to be recharged over a petrol car. this in turn will lead to impatient drivers risking going on to the next recharging point. This will then lead to many vehicles running out of power and suddenly and dangerously stopping on the road. EVs cannot be towed or pushed out of danger, and presumably have to be craned on to the back of a breakdown vehicle which may take an hour to arrive. We all know what the dangers are of a vehicle suddenly stopping on a motorway when you’re travelling at 70 miles an hour, so there is sure to be a considerable increase in pile ups, injuries and deaths when EVs become mandatory. All not helped by the huge increase in weight of EVs over traditional vehicles. Finally, as breakdown vehicles will be operating in any of the motorway lanes, tail backs and delays are certain to follow. All this also ignores totally the millions of vehicles that park overnight on the roadside whose owners live remotely from their vehicles and do not have access to their own charging point.
    Perhaps Mr Rowlett can give us answers to these questions.

    • dave permalink
      June 2, 2021 8:59 am

      “…answers to these questions.”.

      According to the American Geosciences Institute, Communist China controls 97% of the world output of the rare earth elements, which are necessary for all these things to work.

      So, here is a question: Where is kowtowing school?

    • Gamecock permalink
      June 2, 2021 11:24 am

      “then the EVs waiting to refuel at recharging stations will be double that of a current petrol station, added to which is the additional time that an EV takes to be recharged over a petrol car.”

      There is no reason to believe current petrol stations will convert to electric charging stations. What is the business model for a recharging station? It is a grand assumption to think that all the existing petrol stations will convert. Few will.

      A charging car takes up about 200 square feet. Existing petrol stations are on prime real estate. Usually prime retail property. Having someone take up that much property for an hour so you can make a few pennies on the electricity they buy just isn’t going to work.

      Some offer it now. As a novelty, or because government makes them. You can’t make a business of it.

  19. Mike Jackson permalink
    June 2, 2021 8:50 am

    Justin Rowlatt is away with the fairies today! … Do you not mean ”away with the fairies AGAIN”?!

    Have you seen this …. Not for the faint-hearted.

    No prizes for guessing where the “report” is from.

  20. June 2, 2021 8:55 am

    According to Rowlatt, the price of batteries is “nudging” $100/kWh. I thought I had better fact-check that, but the interweb throws up a lot of fan sites whose numbers I just don’t trust.

    Anyone know an authoritative site where I can find the true figure?

  21. nessimmersion permalink
    June 2, 2021 9:55 am

    I’ve seen elsewhere that:
    “the amount of gas used in domestic heating is 26 million tons of oil equivalent per year, which just happens to also be the total consumption of electrical energy in the UK. So, to phase out gas heating, the electricity generating capacity of the UK will have to double, without using fossil fuels, as replacing gas burned in boilers with gas burned in power stations would be a pointless and extremely expensive exercise. Not only that, but the whole distribution network right down to the feeds to the meters will have to be uprated to carry the additional load. Needless to say, there is no announcement from the government about starting either of these upgrades.”

    Car fuel consumption is about the same as heating, so the electrical grid capacity will have to treble to do the no gas for central heating and no fuel for car transport simultaneously.

    • Penda100 permalink
      June 2, 2021 3:06 pm

      Or the numbers pf consumers has to half.

  22. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 2, 2021 10:20 am

    The BBC is still pushing the cleansed air lie (in UK).

    This graphic goes way past incompetent/dishonest.

    Why the period 15th Feb-24th March 2020? This does not cover the lockdown, it ends at the start of the first lockdown!


    Regardless, you cannot determine the effect of something by comparing an average of previous years, you need to see the situation immediately before/during/after and take into account other factors like weather. Then if there is still a good correlation there may possibly be a link.

    We looked at the DEFRA air quality monitoring data for numerous places and PMs actually got worse during lockdown generally. The DEFRA site has trouble graphing so far back but some work OK e.g. Belfast – if you isolate the PM2.5 plot there is absolutely no obvious correlation to the lockdown.

    The BBC is beyond help.

    • Julian Flood permalink
      June 2, 2021 11:10 am

      If you employ arts graduates you get arts graduate science.


    • tom0mason permalink
      June 2, 2021 12:48 pm

      Also MrGrimNasty the PM2.5 (2.5 micrometres diameter, or one 400th of a millimetre) may not be the problem they think. From and I note that the most PM2.5 polluted regions of the world are desert areas and fine salt particle from the sea spray.
      In cities the particulate matter in the air tends to have heavy metals, ammonia, and sulfur bearing products in them. So maybe it is the chemical make-up of the particles and not their size that is the real problem with the heavy metals, ammonia and sulfur causing all the damage.
      Also have a look at where real people in real polluted city live, and can improve their diabetic lot by exercising outside.

      IMO, in cities and industrial ares, particulates in the P10 (10 micrometres ) range and above can cause worse health problems as this has the potential of putting more harmful chemical into your system.

      • tom0mason permalink
        June 2, 2021 1:12 pm

        And this study ( — FREE) goes a bit further in trying to tease out what these PM10 and PM2.5 are doing.

        According to the published literature, we surmise that particulate matter (PM) concentration, individually, may be less important than components in explaining health effects. PM 2.5 (aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 µm) had similar cytotoxicity (e.g., cell viability reduction, oxidative damage, inflammatory effects and genetic toxicity) on different types of cells.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        June 2, 2021 1:33 pm

        Most of the recent ‘research’ into all the supposed harm and the fraudulent estimated deaths due to PMs comes from advocacy/political ‘scientism’ published papers.

        It was a strategy devised by the climate cabal as another front to attack CO2 when they though that the climate change argument was too intangible and not ‘winning’, so they came up with the idea of emotional blackmail – you are poisoning your neighbour’s child etc.

        WUWT and other sources have exposed various documents. So it’s no surprise that some real science disagrees with the degree of harm. The climate cabal came up with the idea of PM harm first, and then started producing the papers to support it.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      June 2, 2021 3:48 pm

      As Mr.GN points out the UK’s air is already clean by any historical standard, and getting cleaner steadily at little extra cost.

      Birmingham Council have just implemented their pollution charging for vehicles in the central area of the city: it needs a lawyer to decide whether you can claim indulgences or must pay.
      Of course this all assumes that the air quality is actually going to be improved and is not affected by surrounding areas: both highly improbable.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        June 3, 2021 9:07 am

        I saw a politician launching it on BBC news, talk about muddled. The scheme will supposedly clean the air but so many cars are compliant or exempt, only a small faction of traffic will be affected! He made/it makes no sense whatsoever.

  23. Ray Sanders permalink
    June 2, 2021 10:25 am

    Whilst this may seem slightly off topic, it does raise interesting points about the way issues are being discussed and/or raised in the media. EVs are being pushed by an unquestioning media, dissenting views are always challenged and genuine open discussion is refused.
    Nicholas Wade ( a scientist) has published a report on the origins of Covid 19 in the Journal of the Atomic Scientists – a journal that discusses ALL alleged potential threats to civilisation including nuclear war, climate change pandemics etc.

    The report is long and detailed but very well worth a read.
    In questioning just why the majority of the media has not investigated the Lab escape theory of the virus he states the following:

    “Another reason, perhaps, is the migration of much of the media toward the left of the political spectrum. Because President Trump said the virus had escaped from a Wuhan lab, editors gave the idea little credence. They joined the virologists in regarding lab escape as a dismissible conspiracy theory. During the Trump administration, they had no trouble in rejecting the position of the intelligence services that lab escape could not be ruled out. But when Avril Haines, President Biden’s director of national intelligence, said the same thing, she too was largely ignored. This is not to argue that editors should have endorsed the lab escape scenario, merely that they should have explored the possibility fully and fairly.”

    Basically science journalists have become a bunch of partisan lefties effectively sponsored to project an “acceptable” viewpoint. As the article also extensively questions the honesty of various scientists and scientific foundations, one really does have to wonder quite who you can actually trust these days.

    • June 3, 2021 9:25 am

      Ray, the Wade article was one of the three I discussed at length at Cliscep.

      Message Found on a Derelict Planet

      As you note the Wade article is compelling. From it I made a bullet-point list of evidence for the lab-leak theory that probably had 20 items. In contrast there is very little evidence for the natural emergence theory, yet I have been amazed at how slow the media have been to admit that he might have a point. Yesterday’s bbc said:

      The Wuhan lab theory

      Dr Fauci and his colleagues took notice, in the early days, of the theory that Covid-19 may have leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

      The controversial claim was dismissed by experts last year, who said it was “extremely unlikely”. No evidence to support it has emerged.

      Note that last: “No evidence to support it has emerged.” The question is, for the BBC, what would constitute “evidence”?

  24. June 2, 2021 10:59 am

    The phrase “tipping point” gives it away I think. That’s the language of the climatistas.

  25. Anders Valland permalink
    June 2, 2021 11:44 am

    I happen to own an electric car. It is a brand new DS3, with a range of 320 km on a dry summers day. Magnificent vehicle, and it covers all my daily needs and more. I also live in Norway, where EVs are given every financial break possible. We pay no VAT and no import tax, half road tax (it used to be zero), half cost on toll roads and public parking (and free in some areas).

    As I said, my EV covers all my daily needs. Under current covid-situation I would have to recharge it once every second week. In a normal working situation I would maybe recharge every 4-5 days. I have 11 kW charging at home. I would use the car for some longer drives, up to 250 km from home. Fast-charging along the road would add about 20-30 minutes to a 3-hour drive.

    In winter time, cut those number by maybe 1/3.

    I have a hybrid VW Passat GTE for longer drives and hauling a trailer.

    As long as you have a reasonable ability to charge at home, most people will benefit from an EV. And the local environment does.

    I am not arguing they are better with regard to climate, or in an overall energy perspective. In Norway we have surplus renewable electric energy from our large hydropower dams (even though we have also sold it at a premium to gullible European consumers). For all countries with high GHG emissions in their electricity mix, the emissions are moved from the car to a central location with a possible upside on cleaning.

    EVs are good in some settings, and today we get more and more affordable options with decent range. You really don’t need much beyond 450-500 km, and you would seldom drive beyond 200-250 km without needing a 20-30 minute break anyway.

    • Simon Derricutt permalink
      June 2, 2021 1:26 pm

      Anders – for where you live, and your uses, and the advantages that Norway allows for EV use, I can see why you’ve chosen to own one. Norway is however an edge case, since it is rich in Hydro-electric power and also makes a load of money from selling oil that allows its government to subsidise EVs substantially. In your situations I’d do the same. However, you also have a second car for the situations where the EV won’t do the job, and again I think you’ve made a good choice.

      I’d rather like an EV myself, but I can only afford to have one car, thus the one I do have needs to cope with as many needs as I can afford. Occasionally (though not recently) I need to do an airport run to pick up or deliver visitors, thus needing to do around 250km in any weather (and in rain, at night, and in cold weather the EV range goes down). Thus at a minimum I’d need maybe an “official” range of 450km given the dearth of charging points out here in the sticks or in the airport car-parks.

      An EV would cover my normal uses pretty well, since current yearly travel is less than 2000km. However, charging it at home would need care, given that my house is limited to 4kW maximum draw. There’s also a problem in Winter, since on cold days the cost of electricity goes up to around 5x the normal cost and 10 times the overnight low-tariff cost. Last time I did the calculations I figured that an EV would cost me around 10x the cost per km than my old ICE-based car, largely through the depreciation and the electricity costs, since I don’t do much long-distance these days.

      The irony here is that the amount of extra mining needed to produce an EV means that even with HEP, as you have, you won’t break even on CO2 produced until the EV has done somewhat over 50,000km. If you fast-charge on the longer trips, then the battery may not last that long anyway. The extra weight of an EV (at least one with acceptable range) means it needs wider tyres and they’ll wear out a bit faster and cause more road-wear too, and currently the batteries are not recyclable economically (though that will be solved once it becomes more necessary as raw materials get more expensive). Still, overall (like Drax power station burning wood-chips from the USA) it has echoes of “we had to destroy the village to save it”.

      • Anders Valland permalink
        June 4, 2021 10:50 am

        Simon Derricutt I understand your arguments and agree. Norway is a very special case. As I said, I have one EV and a hybrid for doing what the EV can’t. Having two cars in a family is quite common in Norway.

        We did look at the possibility of going all-in on EV, having one short range and one long range car. With the introduction of cars such as Skoda Enyaq this actually becomes possible. Now I just need to find the money….

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      June 2, 2021 1:40 pm

      Anders forgive me, but of course you think it’s brilliant – you are not personally footing the full cost and you are rich enough to own another car.

      You have just confirmed the fact that a forced transition to EVs is daft and that they are inferior and more expensive.

      And that doesn’t even begin to deal with the issue of whether they are really ‘greener’.

      • Anders Valland permalink
        June 4, 2021 10:42 am

        MrGrimNasty, I am footing the bill since the reduced costs of EVs show up in increased taxes elsewhere – the State needs its income.

        I agree they are more expensive. I agree they don’t make more or less sense in a GHG or overall energy use perspective. I uphold that they actually give lower emissions to air and thus are good for the local environment.

        Norway is a special case since we use electricity for 70% of all our energy use. We do this because we can, and our electricity costs 1/2-1/4 of typical EU prices.

        I wanted to shift the arguments to what is real from what is not. With a decent range you don’t need to recharge often. That is the same as for petrol or diesel, you don’t go to the station every day. In Norway everyone charges at home beacuse we can. I do appreciate that this is not the case in the EU. What happens in Norway is that since everyone charges at home, very few use the fast charge commercial stations. Thus such stations can be operated in our cities, which by the way are small in a European perspective, but not outside cities – at least not without heavy subsidies.

        In Europe, with the much weaker electricity grids, the situation will be different. Commercial stations will be crucial. But the point remains, you need to recharge seldom as long as the range is large enough.

  26. Ben Vorlich permalink
    June 2, 2021 11:45 am

    I found Justin Rowlatt’s “Ethical Man” blog here
    It makes interesting reading after over a decade.
    First paragraphs
    “London, UK – The most amazing thing I have found in the more than 3 years I’ve been reporting on climate change for the BBC is how unafraid most people seem about it.

    Yet global warming is widely reckoned to be the most serious threat mankind has ever faced. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that unless we make dramatic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures could rise by six degrees centigrade this century alone. That is enough to destroy many of the ecosystems that mankind depends on for food and water, the stuff of life itself.”

    “How did we reach this conclusion?

    Our family did everything we could think of to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions – got rid of the car, stopped flying, turned down the thermostat, changed what we eat. Yet we only managed to cut our total emissions by just 20%.

    Which is where the question about democracy comes in. Will people ever vote for politicians who will force us to make the sacrifices necessary to bring this transformation about?”

    • Thomas Carr permalink
      June 2, 2021 12:35 pm

      There’s a hook in “widely reckoned” above. That in itself is the pivot for the rest of the column.
      Problem is that no such wide reckoning seems to exist. Collapse of stout party. WPB for the blog.

  27. June 2, 2021 12:41 pm

    Hybrids may delay the largely unwanted switch to expensive electric cars for some, but…

    However, it [a hybrid] also brings some specific challenges:

    — When the combustion engine kicks in when the hybrid car is already travelling at speed, it introduces a heavy load on cold start, increasing the risk of engine wear.
    — Because the operation time of the combustion engine is short it is more prone to moisture and acid formation.
    — Under-usage of the combustion engine can lead to fretting wear.
    — Short journeys during which only the electric motor is used, increase the risk of water accumulation in the combustion engine.

  28. June 2, 2021 1:52 pm

    If your job description is “saving the planet”, the sky’s the limit.

  29. cookers52 permalink
    June 2, 2021 2:42 pm

    Seen it all before, in 1970’s Turin and Milan the taxis and buses all used methane because oil was in short supply.

  30. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 2, 2021 3:28 pm

    A ‘cheap’ e-car, <£20K after subsidy.
    Range? 115 miles! Even the 0-60 is slow.

    Surely such a car is of such poor utility the only trips you would use it for would be ones better done by foot/bike/public transport anyway?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 2, 2021 7:46 pm

      A glorified mobility scooter.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      June 3, 2021 9:03 am

      Am I being stalked for stories? Or coincidence? LOL

      Interesting if the $20K loss is true, that puts the true cost of a car with a range of little more than 100 miles at about £37k – that’s build back better? Progress? Green?

  31. Vernon E permalink
    June 2, 2021 4:01 pm

    Yesterday’s DT carried a fake news (aka downright lies) article claiming that the costs of EV’s balance out in three years. But it was based on running costs alone. The biggest single item of an average motorist’s annual costs is depreciation, ignored. Can anyone say what the depreciation of an EV is over four years? I assume that no one is going to buy after that because of the ptential liability of replacing a £7000+ battery. Incidentally, what warranties come with EVs, especially the batteries?

  32. 186no permalink
    June 2, 2021 4:27 pm

    I am no scientist but am I correct or deluded if I think that the current Euro 6 Diesel can, depending on the engine size, produce less CO2 than an equivalent powered petrol engine but slightly more NOX; my rhetorical question is why are Governments not forcing petrochemical businesses to remove the NOX from diesel and not allowing a like for like replacement (after all they did it with lead) completely without reducing other efficiency measures , power or mpg. I know that CO2 is no polluter if “others” take a different and perverse view, so the potentially worse polluter is petrol engined cars – again depending on engine size etc – on a like for like basis. OK, I know this is slightly simplistic, but it seems to my non scientific mind that the woke demonisation of diesel is a shot in the foot. Unless there are massive technological advances in batteries, grid and “reliable” power not reliant on wind and solar, these Marxist apparatchiks might well succeed in conning the gullible?

    • Stuart Brown permalink
      June 2, 2021 6:38 pm

      I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood where the NOx comes from. There is essentially no nitrogen in diesel, no more than in petrol. But there is a lot of nitrogen in the air, and at the higher combustion temperatures in a diesel engine it reacts with oxygen. Hence NOx.

  33. Daz permalink
    June 2, 2021 4:46 pm

    Check out the resale value of a six year old ” electric ” car , that is just beginning to enter the equation , after six years old they are classed as beaters , with suspect batteries that cost well above $6000 , so as a rule of thumb that is taken from the value of the car , once they reach ten years old the batteries are beyond suspect , , buyer beware !

  34. 2hmp permalink
    June 2, 2021 6:31 pm

    The future of electric cars is not about the cars but about the fuel, its storage, and its provision. We are a million miles away from sorting that out whatever government subsidies are offered.

  35. 2hmp permalink
    June 2, 2021 6:34 pm

    The future of electric cars is nothing about the cars but about the fuel, its provision and it storage. Anything else the Government can bribe electric car drivers.

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