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article imageOp-Ed: Electric cars — The next generation

By Alexander Baron     Apr 6, 2012 in Environment
Sales of the new electric cars have been disappointing, but all that could change with the next generation, and a bit more enthusiasm from the government.
Electric cars or more accurately electric vehicles are not exactly a new phenomenon. Anyone remember the old milk floats? And what is a fork lift truck if not an electric vehicle? One does not though usually associate electric vehicles with commuting, shopping or the school run. All that could change in Britain soon, and hopefully the rest of the world, because the new generation is here. Britain's Car of the Year 2012 is an electric car, the General Motors creation Volt/Ampera.
The Nissan Leaf retails here for a shade under £26,000, and that includes a £5,000 government grant. What can be done to bring down the price? Since Henry Ford invented the production line, cars and all motor vehicles have benefited from economies of scale, so the logical thing would be for government - local as well as national - to put its money where its mouth is with regard to these green and eco-friendly policies we all hear so much about. Apart from specialist vehicles like police cars and ambulances, there is no reason why all official vehicles should not run on electricity or hydrogen.
With a tanker drivers' strike looming, diminishing oil reserves and constant instability in the Middle East, it makes sense for Britain and indeed for almost every other country in the world to change direction.
There is another innovation that has just been introduced with electric cars; instead of buying one with a battery, the driver hires a battery. According to the BBC news this morning, this can add a thousand pounds to the cost, but the up side is that instead of charging up the battery, he can drive into a special garage, out comes the old battery and in goes a new one, more like changing jackets than tyres.
Here is what purports to be the definitive guide to electric vehicles now in production. There are a lot more than you think, and with a bit of encouragement from forward thinking politicians, there could be even more.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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