I can picture it now: Blokes all across London lacing up their trainers, hopping in their electric Mini Coopers (replete with Union Jack motifs) and motoring about town. They virtue-signal in the afternoon and share a right proper chuckle as they motor past the defunct petrol stations. Then they head home for tea.
That was the vision laid out in London by the UK Department of Transportation on Wednesday. In their Air Quality Plan For Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) In UK (2017), Britain reaffirmed its 2011 commitment to eliminating “conventional car and van sales … by 2040,” and again advocated “for almost every car and van on the road to be a zero emission vehicle by 2050.” In the release, the U.K. also pledged £2.7 billion towards the endeavor, designating “nearly” £100 million of those funds towards improving charging infrastructure throughout the country. Another £1.2 billion is earmarked for funding the government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.
You heard that right; they’re spending £1.2 billion on cycling and walking. That’s their plan to save the planet. Only government could rationalize appropriating “£50 million to provide a further 1.3 million children with cycling proficiency training.” Hmm, I'm thinking about taking my 5-year-old's training wheels off next week — anyone know where I can take him for proficiency training?
£100 Million for charging station infrastructure is probably more than enough though, right? Well no, not exactly.
According to Zap-Map, a service that guides electric vehicle users to charge points, there are 4,572 charging stations in the U.K. as of July 2017. If every penny of that £100 million is funneled into public charging locations, which cost between £38,000 to £76,000 each, you’re looking at an additional 1,300 to 2,600 new charging stations, bringing the grand total to roughly between 5,900 and 7,200. In the year 2000, the Toyota Prius was released, reviving the popularity of electric vehicles. That same year, there were 13,107 petrol stations in the United Kingdom. British drivers will need an even greater number of charge stations to keep their Nissan Leafs running. Gasoline takes two minutes to pump, but the fastest charging stations can’t fill your battery in under thirty.
There are also inconsistencies with the type of charge provided for EVs. Most charging stations in the U.K. are of the ironically named Fast variety (three to four hours for a complete charge), but there are also Slow, Rapid AC and Rapid DC style chargers, all of which require different amounts of time to power you up again. Finally, add in the inevitable scarcity of charging ports in rural areas and you have some extremely challenging infrastructure issues to work through.
Ok, so maybe there are some hiccups in implementation, but at least they’re saving the planet from carbon emissions right?
Again, not so fast.
Electric vehicles in many cases are just as dirty, or dirtier than traditional vehicles. Electricity isn't sourced from unicorn smiles and fairy dust. Energy has to be produced and harnessed. The most common and efficient way to produce electricity is by burning coal. The use of natural gas, which serves as another prominent, but less effective source of energy, also releases CO2, but at about half the rate of coal.
In the U.K., 52% of the electrical supply comes from natural gas and coal. What's the proposed solution to this problem? Well … they’re working hard to figure that out. Odd then, that as The Guardian reported earlier this year, the U.K. has cut subsidies for renewable energy programs, to the extent that wind farm investment is expected to drop 95% between now and 2020. How do they plan to reduce coal and gas usage if they also choose not to invest in renewable energy? Maybe they plan to build more nuclear plants. Or maybe they’ll just nick Tony Stark’s arc reactor.
Other countries have even grander plans. India has pledged to stop selling archaic gas guzzling cars by 2030. Of course, the leftists all swoon. India is so committed to the health of our planet! Why can’t we all be more like India? Well, it turns out 67% of Indian electricity comes from carbon fuels sources (coal, gas and diesel) and 59.1% of that is coal.
This is exactly the madness Trump extricated us from in announcing our withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords. Even if leftists believe global climate change is settled science (it’s not), they continue to offer solutions that take billions of dollars out of people’s pockets to subsidize renewable energy industries that can't survive on their own because they’re unprofitable. The solutions the Left offers, both in the U.K. and the U.S., hurt our economy and they accomplish very little in reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gases output.
I hope U.K. bureaucrats feel great about themselves, and the unearned moral superiority that will be the only product of their all-EVs policy measures.
Tyler Dahnke is a father, husband and wine enthusiast who's doing his best to make sense of today's insane political landscape. You can follow him on Twitter at @tylerdahnke.