I remember reading a couple of years ago that the National Grid was struggling to keep the lights on, as it is. So Mr Gove’s lightbulb moment of banning all new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 didn’t seem to be the most electrifying idea he’s ever had.
Actually, hold hard…it is electrifying. Electrifying for vehicles, anyway. Yes, sounds good in theory, to do away with dirty petrol and diesel, and we’ll all drive electric cars.
But there are two problems with that at the moment. First: the range of most electric cars is pathetic. A couple of trips to the shops and you’ve got to plug it in like a mobile phone. Secondly, just how does Mr Gove think the National Grid will cope when the nation’s drivers all recharge their batteries?
Of course, technology could come on in leaps and bounds in the next 22 years and resolve those issues. For instance, Tesla are now producing electric cars with a far longer range, even though they’re still much more expensive than traditional vehicles. So, hopefully by 2040 long range electric cars will be available at a reasonable price tag.
And maybe, just maybe, cheaper and cleaner electricity could be on tap. Maybe we’ll all be meandering our way between millions of wind turbines. Isn’t it the eventual aim that we’ll never be more than ten feet away from a wind turbine, in the same way we’re said to never be more than six feet from a rat at the moment?
And here’s where I spy a real glimmer of sanity in Mr Gove’s wider proposals – and the idea I could really take to: our local councils could be ordered to rip up their ridiculous speed bumps, which almost double the amount of harmful gases cars pump out in their immediate locality by causing drivers to constantly slow down and speed up. So every cloud has a silver lining.