Of 30m cars on the road in Britain, only 250,000 are electric – but the number is going up fast. In July, new figures showed sales had risen 50% in a month; they are expected to outsell petrol and diesel models by 2025. And new petrol and diesel vehicles are due to be banned completely by 2030.
That’s unambiguously good news for the environment – and yet many drivers are sceptical of going electric, worrying about underpowered engines and an inadequate charging network. Are those fears justified? What’s the chat like at the service station plug-in points? And why did that gull have to relieve itself on a loaned Skoda Enyaq just before the photographer showed up? Sam Wollaston sought the answers to all these questions on a road trip from Land’s End to John o’Groats, and joined Rachel Humphreys to reflect on what he learned along the way.
Rachel is also joined by Tom Standage, author of a book on the history of human transportation, to explain the surprising history of electric cars – which were briefly the bestselling vehicles in America in 1897. He explains what stalled their progress, what secured petrol’s supremacy, and what the future could hold.
You can read Sam’s feature, Leading the charge! Can I make it from Land’s End to John o’Groats in an electric car?, here. You can read an extract from Tom’s book, A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel to the Car to What Comes Next, here, and buy it here.
Archive: Something Got Me Started, by Simply Red – WMG (East West Records; Together in Electric Dreams, by Giorgio Moroder and Philip Oakey – Virgin Records; Baker Street, by Gerry Rafferty – WMG (PLG UK)