It hasn’t been a good time for net-zero of late. In the past few days, the European Commission has been forced to roll back some of its agricultural requirements aimed at implementing the policy (even if only temporarily), and has put others on hold.
On the transport front – a sector vital to the implementation of the policy – UK sales of EVs have taken a beating with questions being asked about whether the public’s “love affair” with electric car is over – not that it ever started.
Hostile publicity continues apace, with the Telegraph’s Allister Heath writing under the headline, “The great electric car lie is a monstrous deception against the British public”.
The EVs share of the UK market, he tells us, has remained stuck at 16 percent for two years, and 10 out of 11 private buyers are still opting for combustion engines. But instead of seeking to understand the real reasons why even the environmentally conscious continue to patronise petrol-powered cars, green activists are resorting to deranged conspiracy theories.
Heath is referring to a House of Lords committee which was told that an article by Rowan Atkinson had harmed their cause: the actor disclosed that he felt “duped” by electric vehicles, and questioned the claims made by advocates.
Rightly, he disputes whether a single opinion article could alter the purchasing decisions of millions, observing that consumers are rational, and they aren’t buying electric cars because it doesn’t yet make sense. EVs are prohibitively expensive, their range too short and there aren’t enough charging points.
And it’s not only the public which is stepping back from EVs. Early in January, we heard that the rental firm Hertz was about to dump 20,000 electric vehicles from its fleet, after finding that costs of maintenance and repair were escalating. Other factors such as insurance, charging infrastructure, residual-value retention, and range anxiety, affected the decision.