Electric and steam powered cars had a period of popularity in the late 19th and early 20th century when they were first developed. But this period was cut short by the growth of the oil industry and the increased production of gas powered motor vehicles at the beginning of the 1920s which had a speed and range advantage over electric cars.
However, with environment and clean air issues a real concern, the shift today seems to be once more towards using electric powered cars.
In the UK, the Government released a strategy in July 2018 named ‘Road to Zero’, that aims to see at least half of all new cars be ultra-low emission by 2030, and all new cars and vans to be zero-emission by 2040.
Norway is leading the way in encouraging the adoption of electric car technology. Norway’s policies incentivise people to buy electric cars. They offer free parking, access to a high-occupancy vehicle lane, tax deductions, and reduced upfront costs, with no taxes imposed on the companies selling them.
Why are other countries not offering similar incentives for electric car ownership to their own citizens? The answer is that it is very hard to break away from the fossil fuel business. Norway still regularly exports petrol to make money for their electric business.
The best-selling electric cars according to Car Magazine UK are made by Nissan, Hyundai, BMW and Tesla. These companies are complying with the UK’s regulations and producing cheaper, better and more reliable electric cars than ever before. This is due to a significant improvement in the technology of electric motors. In contrast, internal combustion engine motors have not seen any major technological advances in the past two decades.
Peterborough has the highest percentage of electric vehicles in the country. The latest Department of Transport statistics show that the number of registered electric vehicles increased by 21% last year, one of the biggest jumps in the country. There are currently 10,022 electric cars registered, up from just 49 in 2013. This shows the incredible progress the electric car industry has made in such a short time.
Charging points in and around Peterborough have also increased: there are now 28 in a seven mile radius around the city centre.
For Oundle drivers the closest charging station is more than six miles away at the A1 services.
Residents who have converted early still have to run a cable from their house for the time being.
Peterborough’s 10,022 electric cars only make up about 4.5% of the total cars in the city, showing that the UK still has a lot of progress to make to fulfil their ‘Road to Zero’ aims.
It is almost certain that electric cars are the future. However, the electricity that powers them is still derived mostly from fossil fuels. The real challenge will be a move away from oil entirely. For now, though, countries, including the UK, have many policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which offer promise for a safer, cleaner world.