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The World Bank’s Impractical Electric Car Clap-Trap

May 26, 2022

By Paul Homewood


From Net Zero Watch





At a World Bank event in April, former chief economist Lord Nicholas Stern called for a global ban on the manufacture and sale of combustion engine vehicles. At COP26, a coalition of multilateral development banks signed a joint statement announcing their intentions to ‘increase the level of private capital mobilised’ to fight climate change. Activists were infuriated that it omitted divestments from funding fossil fuels. Both the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank have faced industry pressure to stop investing in internal combustion engine vehicles by 2025. Sixty-eight percent of transport investment by the World Bank involves combustion engines. But perhaps the World Bank has not floored the accelerator on EVs yet because they recognise roadblocks keep the wheel out of reach for working families.

The UK Government insists that combustion engine vehicles will be banned from production, importing, and sale by 2030. But a global semiconductor shortage has produced a projected nine percent slump in electric vehicle sales in the UK. Motorists are modelled to save £700 on fuel for making the switch to EVs. However, road pricing and tolls have been proposed to replace Treasury revenue once fuel duty becomes obsolete. Therefore, the gap between petrol and electric car running costs may close. Electricity costs could even eclipse fuel prices, should the renewables generating electricity fail.

There are also infrastructure impediments to overcome. The ban would require 400,000 charging points to be installed across the UK by 2030, up from the only 35,000 that were in place as of last year. Many rural areas remain ‘charging blackspots’, inaccessible for EVs on long journeys. Annual installation must increase ten-fold to meet the Department for Transport’s promise that ‘drivers will never be further than thirty miles from a rapid charging station’.

Even if charger targets are met, streets could be lined with cars charging for up to twelve hours at a time. This issue will be exacerbated in cities. ‘Generation Rent’ faces housing price rises of 14.3 percent; the fastest for seventeen years. Their reliance on being packed and stacked into high-rise apartments means a third and rising of the population have no access to private off-street parking. 24.6 percent of vehicles are parked on streets overnight. A report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) modelled electric car ownership will increase traffic congestion eleven percent by 2050.  Combined with charging station scarcity, congestion could become chronic — with motorists jousting for parking and charging spaces, and charging stoppages slowing delivery times for various courier services. This constitutes quite the regression from the convenient five-minute-stop at your local petrol garage.

All of this is presuming that the cars themselves can be manufactured to meet demand. Making electric cars requires six times the minerals as combustion engine vehicles: needing thirty times as the lithium, nickel, and other metals currently in circulation. The UK must expand battery production capacity by ninety times the present amount to keep pace. But absent abundant domestic resources, Britain remains heavily dependent on our geostrategic rivals for the raw materials used in EV and battery manufacture.

Britain imports over 2200 tonnes of lithium every year. Recent sanctions on Russia affected Britain’s top import: $12 billion of annual metal imports. Nickel prices saw a short-squeeze, with prices increasing 250 percent to over $100,000 a tonne. Both metals are instrumental in EV battery manufacturing.

Meanwhile, China controls eighty percent of global annual battery production capacity, sixty percent of global graphite production, sixty five percent of nickel refining, and eighty percent of cobalt refining. This is because China’s Belt & Road Initiative has annexed more than a third of global precious metals deposits: including forty rare ore deposits in Zimbabwe, the ‘white goldrush’ of lithium under Argentinian salt-flats, and $1 trillion in lithium reserves in Afghanistan.

There is mounting evidence that the only way out of our rare metals shortage is to mine asteroids in outer space. Elon Musk’s rocket-measuring contest against Jeff Bezos and Richard Branston may be an interstellar gold rush to become Earth’s first trillionaire. But until these mad scientists invent safe passage to the stars, the rest of us will keep driving petrol cars.

But instead of abandoning infeasible commitments to the abolition of transport emissions within the next eight years eco-authoritarians use these shortages as an excuse to restrict energy consumption and abolish car ownership.

In addition to the usual anti-motorist platitudes by the cycling lobby, some have taken to advocating ride-share apps as a reason to ‘give up owning a vehicle’. These rent-only alternatives have the downside of making your means of mobility contingent on the kindness of strangers. Ride-sharing is a convenient addition to the transport economy. However, if car ownership were displaced wholesale by public transport and hire-cars, there are dire concerns for civil liberties. Say the wrong thing about the environment, and governments, or the increasing number of companies adopting environmental credit scores, can deplatform from anything except walking. Consumer choice must be a core principle of free societies — and that includes your right to buy and drive a petrol car.

EVs also render homeowners vulnerable to arbitrary power outages. Green Party Baroness Natalie Bennett has suggested that electric cars can be used a driveway backup generators, should renewables fail to meet consumer demand. The National Grid and Octopus Energy are piloting a policy which drains EV batteries of energy during generation droughts. Even if all of Britain’s cars became electric overnight, and full storage capacity could be returned to the grid without losses, it would still fall short of the deepest energy deficit by eighty-seven percent. This precedent is not only impractical: it means that the state can drain your EV’s battery flat, and enforce a travel lockdown anytime it pleases. If they can’t confiscate your car, the government can remotely deactivate your home charging point anytime they like.

Electric cars are, incontrovertibly, a great idea in theory. But those wanting everyone to drive electric won’t get anywhere fast by banning the combustion engine — all they will achieve is pricing all but a privileged few out of car ownership entirely. That would be politically suicidal; my apolitical plumber recently told me, ‘I’ve never been to a protest, but if they try to take my car, you’ll see me in the streets.’ If the World Bank and British government follow through on their plan to ban the combustion engine, they may well have riots on their hands. They must abandon the planned petrol car ban, or risk terrible consequences.

  1. May 26, 2022 10:53 am

    If the ICE ban and EV push go ahead, it will devalue an enormous amount of property, principally on urban streets where no dedicated parking is available, and placing chargers would in some cases prevent parking, making the desirability of such a property much less. The availability and affordability of alternate housing where dedicated parking, and hence charge points, is available is also out of financial reach for many. The Net Zero’ers just haven’t thought this through, or perhaps they have, and this is deliberate policy to reduce private car usage (leaving the roads clearer for those who can afford it). Whichever, there’s no doubt that this policy will backfire on them, and badly. They need to remember, when they point their ‘accusing’ finger at us plebs they want to control, the other 3 fingers are pointing back at themselves.

    • TrevorC permalink
      May 26, 2022 2:42 pm

      Where my sister lives in SE London there are already extension leads across pavements. Trip hazards and no doubt dangerous, but nobody cares, so it will become the norm.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        May 26, 2022 8:38 pm

        “Trip hazards and no doubt dangerous, but nobody cares, so it will become the norm.” I guarantee it will not. Personal injury lawyers will be all over this sort of issue like a rash. If someone trips up and injures themselves on a charging cable over a pavement they have every right to sue the shit out of the EV owner who put the cable there.

      • Realist permalink
        May 30, 2022 5:00 pm

        The courts (and insurance companies) need to be swamped with personal injury claims for the tripping hazards caused by EVs.
        The population really needs to wake up and start fighting back.

      • May 30, 2022 6:15 pm

        Not just that. I once saw someone in London cross a quiet street without looking, because she couldn’t hear any cars, and was knocked into (thankfully uninjured) by an EV! The funny side was the she berated the EV driver for her own stupidity.

  2. May 26, 2022 11:04 am

    Here’s proof that those at the top of world games are at the bottom of the intellect quotient.

  3. 2hmp permalink
    May 26, 2022 11:08 am

    It is impossible to believe that the ICE ban will occur on the date suggested as the infrastructure will not be there to support it. If Dr.Fred Singer was right the Climate Change issue will have died out by 2023 saving all the disastrous Government expenditure. This also looks to be a too op[optimistic forecast but it does seem as if some commonsense is emerging now that Carrie is out of the frame.

    • M Steck permalink
      May 26, 2022 8:08 pm

      Fred Singer was right but the fraud continues as officialdom climate scientists continue to adjust their terrestrial temperature datasets to show warming trends that do not exist. Until this behaviour is stopped, the grift will continue.

  4. dennisambler permalink
    May 26, 2022 11:17 am

    Lord Nicholas Stern in 2007, was appointed HSBC Special Adviser to the Group Chairman on Economic Development and Climate Change.

    “Climate change as a strategic issue”
    “Climate change is not just an environmental issue, but an economic and social one and one that has an impact on HSBC’s business strategy. To better understand the socio-economic implications of climate change, in 2007 HSBC appointed Lord Nicholas Stern, the renowned academic and former World Bank Chief Economist, as Special Adviser to the Group Chairman on Economic Development and Climate Change. Lord Stern is responsible for advising HSBC on economic development issues and the implications of climate change on the Group and its clients.”

    At that time Stern was involved in “Carbon Trading” consultancy via IdeaCarbon.

    “On June 25th, 2008, Lord Nicholas Stern launched the Carbon Ratings Agency on the London Stock Exchange, shortly after becoming Vice Chair of the Agency. Christiana Figueres played a vital role at The Carbon Ratings Agency as Vice Chair of its Ratings Committee for several years, before being recruited as head of the UNFCCC. She led the negotiations that delivered the Paris agreement, being called by the Guardian as the woman tasked with saving the world from global warming’.

    May 2021 “G7 leadership for sustainable, resilient and inclusive economic recovery and growth – An independent report requested by the UK Prime Minister for the G7”

    Report by Nicholas Stern, (supported in the writing of this report by a team at the Grantham Research Institute, which included Bob Ward, but no mention of Carrie, who is a distraction they are happy for people to pursue)

    This “independent” report for Boris Johnson, prior to the G7, had these recommendations.

    “Strengthen international tax cooperation…including through the consideration of a minimum tax rate on corporate profits of 21%.
    Accelerate the shift in the financial system by…supporting efforts to identify opportunities for green investments, and encouraging financial institutions to align their portfolios with the Paris Agreement goals.
    Act strongly to alleviate the debt constraints of low-income and vulnerable countries. This could include…reprofiling and reducing the cost of official debt, and considering the potential of debt-for-nature and debt-for-climate swaps.
    Make a collective commitment to double climate finance…to deliver on and go beyond the $100 billion per year target that is critical to the success of COP26 and adequate support for climate action by developing countries.
    Following the agreement of a new allocation of (UN) Special Drawing Rights of $650 billion, support re-allocation mechanisms…for recovery programmes in low-income and vulnerable countries, support effective vaccination and health campaigns, and promote green transitions.
    Enable the multilateral development banks (MDBs) to scale up support for a green recovery, the drive to net-zero emissions and climate adaptation/resilience…accelerated alignment with the Paris Agreement; and proactive MDB capital increases within a requirement to work better together.”

    • dennisambler permalink
      May 26, 2022 11:45 am

      Stern’s Register of Interests shows he a member of the advisory board of Generation Investment Management, Al Gore’s outfit.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      May 26, 2022 1:38 pm

      Stern is not an enviromentalist: he is a capitalist and, as such, wishes to maximise his profits on whatever opportunity comes his way. Which, as a capitalist is no bad thing, but as a faux-environmentalist is hypocrisy of the first order.

      BTW…I’m sure that sharper brains than mine can work out the possible miles per gallon of known and presumed stocks of oil versus miles per known and presumed stocks of Lithium for batteries (or whatever will replace it). I have a feeling that batteries will not outlast the billions of miles/charging rates required when compared to oil. (Assumes government gets its way to make EV monopolistic)

      • catweazle666 permalink
        May 26, 2022 2:34 pm

        And not just conventional oil and gas.

        Consider the trillions of tons of coal accessible using steerable drilling techniques and in situ gasification, producing great quantities of syngas.

        And then there is methane, huge quantities of which are available in permafrost and ocean floor hydrate deposits, which – intriguingly – can be extracted by replacing the methane in the deposits with CO2.

        There is no chance of fossil fuels running out for a thousand years, lithium, cobalt, neodymium etc. on the other hand…

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    May 26, 2022 11:30 am

    “Electric cars are, incontrovertibly, a great idea in theory. ”

    Well that’s a controvertible statement!

  6. marlene permalink
    May 26, 2022 11:33 am

     “Electric cars are, incontrovertibly, a great idea in theory. But those wanting everyone to drive electric won’t get anywhere fast by banning the combustion engine — all they will achieve is pricing all but a privileged few out of car ownership entirely.”  This was the real plan all along.  

    • tamimisledus permalink
      May 26, 2022 12:32 pm

      Are you assuming that they are capable of “real” planning or indeed of any planning at….

  7. Cheshire Red permalink
    May 26, 2022 11:58 am

    There’s zero chance of an overall (ie new and used) ICE ban, as the economic and personal impacts would be genuinely disastrous. No government would survive. A ban on just new ICE is a different thing, although that will also be unviable whilst charging points are rare and charging times are long.

    Our country is built on the use of the car as private transport. Loony Greens won’t change that in the time it takes to see ICE vehicles expire naturally over a normal vehicle lifetime, so we’ll be using ICE for another 30-40 years, maybe more.

    The right thing is to allow innovation to solve these issues (if there is an issue) but since when do politico’s use logic and reason to do the right thing?

    • tamimisledus permalink
      May 26, 2022 12:40 pm

      By a combination of muddling through, combined with drive and occasional sheer inspiration, over a period of one hundred plus years, the world has created a viable transport structure.
      Now green activists (and far too many politicians and thought leaders) who can only muddle through (at best) are under the illusion that the world can change over within less than twenty years.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        May 26, 2022 1:45 pm

        This is not unlike, based on Stevenson’s steam railway invention, the goverment of the day ordering the slaughter of all horses as a means of transport.

    • May 26, 2022 2:10 pm

      Look at Cuba for a normal vehicle lifetime of nearly three score years and ten ?

    • May 26, 2022 4:17 pm

      I would tend to agree. To ban domestic ICE vehicles would likely decimate the whole parts and servicing business, as well as the mfrs, putting thousands of jobs at risk. The govt’s hair-brained scheme, all over a non-issue (CO2), is doomed to fail, but how much damage will have already been done! Note this is a global issue not just the UK, so even if the UK govt reversed direction but the rest of Europe continued, I doubt whether the motor mfrs would be able to produce ICE cars just for the UK market.

  8. tamimisledus permalink
    May 26, 2022 12:44 pm

    But always remember that all motor manufacturers (not just Tesla) are fully behind the move to EVs, and they care even less than the proponents of the move away from fossil fuels about the consequences to the general population, so long as they can make their profits.

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      May 26, 2022 12:56 pm

      Motor manufacturers are fully behind the move to EVs because it is the law. You are not advocating them breaking the law, are you?

      And, by the way, if they don’t make their profits, they go into administration, or bankrupt, and jobs are lost, the community loses secondary jobs, etc.

      The reason the law is there is because the public voted in a government that thinks they are saving the Planet. They think that because the BBC have told everyone there’s no other option.

      • Realist permalink
        May 30, 2022 5:05 pm

        The public did NOT vote for “saving the planet” and all sorts of other bans. The public DID vote for what they thought was a Tory government and the wihdrawal from the EU

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      May 26, 2022 4:48 pm

      Makes no sense. You don’t make any money if you can’t sell your products. Car manufacturers have been forced by government bans to stop making ICE cars and shift to EVs if they want to stay in business. We were quite happy with BMW, Audi, Toyota so blaming them now is silly. This is all about governments forcing their agendas on both the public and businesses.

  9. Gerry, England permalink
    May 26, 2022 12:58 pm

    If people are not able to get around then whole swathes of things will close down as they will no longer be viable. For example, I am visiting the Heathfield agricultural show on Saturday that will be an hour’s drive for me. There is no train station in Heathfield. There is one in Uckfield that will just leave you about 9 miles away from the show. If there is a bus service – a big IF out in the country – it could be hourly, which would match the hourly train service and so good luck getting to the show much before midday.

  10. john cheshire permalink
    May 26, 2022 1:13 pm

    Could it be that the rats in power don’t want universal entitlement to private transport? That could explain why they are trying to shut down the motor industry, limiting ownership of a vehicle to their own sordid club members.

    • 4 Eyes permalink
      May 27, 2022 12:42 am

      Sordid. Best word I have heard recently to describe elites like the WEF attendees.

  11. Ben Vorlich permalink
    May 26, 2022 1:15 pm

    I have had a hybrid loan car as my own car has been waiting for a spare part under warranty for 9 weeks, no doubt due to supply chain and Covid issues.
    I get about 65mpg in general use, driving round Derby and trips to Scotland. It’s all very impressive technology but I’m not convinced that it actually makes sense to have a dual engine vehicle with the additional cost to make it terms of resources. My son runs a “sinker” diesel Citroen Xantia which gets over 50mpg on a 30 year old car. I can;t help thinking that investment in ICE technology would achieve more overall savings than hybrid technology

    • TrevorC permalink
      May 26, 2022 2:39 pm

      New hybrid cars will be banned by 2035. Then its full EVs only.

      • May 26, 2022 4:30 pm

        …when the RAC, AA, etc. will simply shut up shop, or become purely a relay service for all those EVs with flat batteries.

    • May 26, 2022 4:25 pm

      And just think of how much the battery replacement will cost! I heard of one hybrid owner recently complaining the battery cost several times the 2nd hand value of the car, and no doubt, you can’t run these things without the battery.

  12. Coeur de Lion permalink
    May 26, 2022 1:15 pm

    Poor sad old man. Has he ever been to Dover? Or like me the ferry port at Portsmouth or down the N10 between Poitiers and Angouleme which as a dual untolled road has a roaring torrent of huge twelve wheel artics coming up from Spain with goodies for Paris. American road freight? All run on BATTERIES? I’d fall about laughing if I could’ve found some humour in all this drivel

  13. jimlemaistre permalink
    May 26, 2022 1:44 pm

    Madness at every turn ! . . . Electric vehicles drain 31% MORE energy from the world for every kilometer driven . . . OHM’s Law ! . . . Basic high school Science . . . No pollution where you drive them, correct. However 31% more energy, from whatever source, is needed because of what is lost as HEAT delivering and storing that electricity to run EV’s. Quakery ! 4 % of global energy comes from those ‘magic’ renewables . . . give your head a shake.

    40% of Electric Cars run on Coal
    66% of Electric Cars run on Fossil Fuels
    79% of Electric Cars run on Non-renewable Electricity

    Then, you waste 31% of what was produced just to charge that dam battery in that EV !

    Electric Vehicles are By Far The Worst Transportation System ever developed
    For causing excess ‘Man-Made Pollution’ on Planet Earth . . .
    I learned this 40 years ago in University !

    The ‘Emissions Free’ status given to Electric Cars is the belief in
    Santa Clause, The Easter Bunny and The Tooth Fairy . . . All rolled into One !

  14. A+man+of+no+rank permalink
    May 26, 2022 3:13 pm

    Wonder if the venerable Lord Nic. could turn his attention to the toxic (very toxic) hydrogen cyanide gas which appears when these magical EVs burst into flames. Suggest he tries living in one of these high-rise flats with a collection of chargers in the basement. Put another way, how many more Grenfell Towers would he like?

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      May 26, 2022 4:57 pm

      Don’t forget the carbon monoxide that is also produced and is toxic to humans.

  15. ThinkingScientist permalink
    May 26, 2022 3:40 pm

    Me, I am buying a 3.0 L diesel Toyota Hilux or an Ineos Grenadier just before the ban comes in, to replace my Landrover Discovery 4.

    I suspect I won’t be alone, especially in the countryside and carvan and boat towing community.

  16. A+man+of+no+rank permalink
    May 26, 2022 3:56 pm

    Wonder if the venerable Lord Nic. could turn his attention to the toxic (very toxic) hydrogen cyanide gas which appears when these magical EVs burst into flames. Suggest he tries living in one of these high-rise flats with a collection of chargers in the basement. Put another way, how many more Grenfell Towers would he be happy with?

    • catweazle666 permalink
      May 26, 2022 4:11 pm

      There are already problems with conventional cars due to the proclivity of the plastic body components to emit hydrogen fluoride when burned, fire services have to be conversant with large volumes of Health and Safety data to handle such fires.

  17. Robert Christopher permalink
    May 26, 2022 3:57 pm

    “Electric cars are, incontrovertibly, a great idea in theory.”

    Not if you know the theory 🙂

    • jimlemaistre permalink
      May 26, 2022 4:20 pm

      Will Electric Cars be the primary mode of Transportation for the 21st Century ? . . . Here is a lesson from 40 years ago that stands to this day . . . OHM’s Law RULES !

      Some things NEVER change . . .

      • catweazle666 permalink
        May 26, 2022 5:30 pm

        The problem Jim is that we are dealing with people who are so scientifically illiterate that they can’t understand why legislating that a kettle can get more than a kilowatt of heat out of a kilowatt of electricity, as the EU intended doing a few years ago, can’t possibly work because it contravenes the laws of thermodynamics.

        That’s no problem to them as they can’t understand the difference between physical laws and man-made laws, they think they can just repeal them and rewrite them to fit their silly plans.

      • jimlemaistre permalink
        May 26, 2022 5:35 pm

        Exactly . . . Physics . . . Duh . . . What’s that ?

  18. 2hmp permalink
    May 26, 2022 4:30 pm

    Is there anybody in this Government who realises that blaming CO2 is a complete fallacy ? If there is not, then the country is doomed to unsustainable electrification. I know at least 3 MPs who are a fully briefed on the facts but they presumably cannot get a look in at the meeting of the green revolution Cabinet.

  19. Peter MacFarlane permalink
    May 26, 2022 7:21 pm

    “But those wanting everyone to drive electric…”

    You’re missing the point. They don’t want everyone to drive electric – they don’t want everyone to drive at all. Private transport will, in their future, be for those and such as those only. You already know who they’ll be. The rest of us can walk or take the bus, if there is one.

    All these problems you correctly point out, are features not bugs.

  20. David Wojick permalink
    May 26, 2022 7:29 pm

    Stern may get the Nobel in Econ. It is that bad.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      May 26, 2022 8:35 pm

      It is well said that economics was invented to make astrology appear respectable.

  21. May 26, 2022 10:29 pm

    Meanwhile wars distract, war machines are fortified and the US Navy produces as much green house gases as the rest of the US economy. But it does not stop there. Electric cars only appear ecological because their ecological impact is not captured.

  22. Richard Greene permalink
    May 27, 2022 10:17 pm

    I’d read this excellent article elsewhere.
    I remembered the word claptrap, which will be used
    for the next COP meeting report. The COP name
    will no longer be used because leftists hate cops.

    New name for 2022 = CLAP
    C limate
    L iars
    A nnual
    P arty

    The CLAP report will be called
    the CLAPtrap Report

    My only serious comment is wondering why
    this article says “by Paul Homewood”,
    who is a great climate science writer,
    but this seemed to be a cut and paste article.

  23. Brian William Allan permalink
    May 29, 2022 9:18 pm

    Yup, you’ll have take my car from my cold dead hands!

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