Electric cars on the political agenda

Today (16th April) the UK Government announce early plans to “drive” motorists towards electric cars, by potentially offering grant of up to £5000 towards the purchase of an electric car.  The Times newspaper commented on this by suggesting it would be around two years before any vehicle could be produced to meet the requirements of the grant. (full story)

Having driven a Peugeot 106 electric car about two years ago, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the experience.  However, it had a very limited range of around 50 miles and a top speed of about 40mph.  This was fine for driving around the local village, but a somewhat scary prospect of a major A road.  The vehicle finally was taken off the road, due to a battery failure and now sits in the work car park as a reminder of what could have been.  Whilst I’m sure technology has improved since my experience, it did get me thinking about this and whether the Government it right to put money in to this.  Shouldn’t we be looking to reduce our car miles, full stop?  Would this money be better spent on public transport, or green education?  On one hand, this looks more like a defeat as this could be seen as an admission of failure to get us (myself included) out of our cars.  But of course the other side of the coin is, if we could change our lifestyles, then doing something is better than nothing. 

Is it a coincidence, that the day after announcing several new nuclear power sites, we get this electric vehicle announcement?  Are we simply reducing our oil dependency for natural security sakes?  Surely, if everyone started driving electric cars, buses and vans, the need to increase power generation would come to the fore.