August 3, 2008

Electric Dreams


I SAW something on the internet recently about yet another electric car.

The electric car has been set to take over from the petrol driven monsters we use ever since I can remember.

This particular variant on the theme has a sister model, which is an electric van. You can charge either of them from the mains overnight.

It goes at up to 55 mph and has a range of three yards . . . the length of the power cable.

No, that's unfair. It is slightly further than that, 50 miles plus, but even so.

My heart sank for the people behind this project when I saw they were going to produce it in Wales.

I like Wales, having spent many happy years there.

That's why I can remember the last great electric car project that was to revolutionise our lives. Supposedly creating jobs in the unemployment blackspot of Merthyr Tydfil, this was to be built in the town's former Hoover factory.

It was, of course, the Sinclair C5. As a golf buggy, it kind of made sense. Open to the elements, it looked rather like a motorised shoe and sales sank to, well, nothing.

At least this new electric car has a market, and I wish them luck. But until the electric car can "do" acceleration, can you imagine using it around the North? It's quite a haul up the A1 into Newcastle as it is without being stuck behind something that looks like a cross between the Reliant Robin and a ecologically-friendly Trabant.

And if you still have to charge it up using electricity generated by power stations, surely you are only changing the source of the pollution?

We're told that, by 2020, we will have deserted the petrol car completely. Well maybe. When I was growing up in the 1950s I was given a book which was full of pictures of what life would be like in the year 2000.

Everyone had a lovely detached house, and parked in front of each was a small personal . . . hovercraft. Jetpacks, anyone?

YOU can hear Alan on Magic 1170 on MW and DAB Digital radio throughout Teesside, County Durham and North Yorkshire, 6am to 10am Monday to Friday. You can also email him at [email protected]

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