But that’s just fine because parked outside your house is your sleek electric car that not only now travels just as far as your old petrol motor did, you can ‘fill’ it in the same time, mainly from your domestic electricity supply or that of any hotel or restaurant, or indeed your place of business or the house of any friend at which you may park. So you barely need to visit those service stations at all. What’s more it will all be lovely, clean electricity generated in noisome an entirely environmentally friendly way from exclusively renewable sources. All is well with your world and, indeed, the world.
Or is it? Allow me to paint you another picture. It’s January 1st, 2040 and all hell has broken loose. The government has stuck to its plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars despite the fact there is nothing like the infrastructure to support it. It took 23 years just to build a reasonably rapid train line from London to Manchester and 30 to dig a hole under the English Channel so why on earth did anyone think it would be able to transform entirely both the amount of electricity this country generates and the way in which it is generated in such a short period of time?
Electricity bills have gone through the roof not just because the government now finds itself £20 billion short of tax revenue, only a fraction of which was ever spent on roads, but also because the price of extracting clean energy always was and remains more expensive than doing it the dirty way. And we can’t get enough of the stuff without burning fossil fuels in obsolete power stations which rather defeats the point. In the meantime the much promised breakthrough in battery technology for which the industry has been searching since literally the 19th century has not materialised, nor will cars go anything like as far on a single charge as did petrol cars before the ban, leading to enormous queues at charging stations and the share price of Starbucks heading through the roof. And, of course, all our lovely old classic cars are now worthless ornaments.