Electric dreams

Earlier this week the UK Government brought forward the deadline for a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to 2030. This is a jolly good thing.

The resulting media coverage has mainly been about whether or not it’s possible. My recent experience makes me think it is. We switched from a plug-in hybrid (Audi e-tron) to a full electric (Tesla Model 3) about three months ago. We don’t have a charging point at home for complicated reasons (the freehold of our building is currently being sold) but it’s been very easy to keep it charged up via local public charging points (often free) and the brilliant Tesla superchargers for long distance trips.

I will also say that full electric is a better experience than a hybrid. I’m no Elon Musk fanboy but Tesla are way ahead of their legacy auto sector rivals. The whole experience and business model is just better thought out than any car I’ve had previously. I’m not sure the difference can justify the market cap without them selling many millions more cars but I pity the short-sellers on that one.

It’s also made me think that the transition to zero carbon transport is going to be a lot faster than people currently imagine. When people try this generation of electric cars, they won’t go back. The uptake will also drive a huge amount of change in the wider energy system. With millions of batteries around, flexibility in the grid becomes a much greater possibility and renewables become even cheaper.

As a side note, I also think the market for electrified classics is going to grow quickly as the price of components comes down. It’s going to be much cheaper and easier to maintain an old car once you rip out the internal combustion engine and associated gubbins and replace them with the simplicity of batteries and a motor. Just check out this video on Fully Charged of a converted Ferrari.

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