Monday, March 28, 2011


I suspect that electric cars will become a bit like Apple computers over the next few years with a small but significant niche market in the affluent liberal classes, particularly those associated with media and the arts. They will appear disproportionately in films and TV dramas - just as the desktop of choice in these has been a Macintosh followed by MacBooks and more recently iPads and iPhones - lending an air of futurism and coolness which the viewer will find alluring while making hard-headed arguments against actually going out and buying one. It is actually more because of the cost of Apple computers than any well reasoned argument about the merits of different operating systems or available software that prevents most people from owning them as proven by the much greater popularity of iPods which are cheap enough for the masses. Mea Culpa on this.

The same will be true for EV's and the intensity and passion of both support and attack will (like Apple) create a cult attraction depending on which celebrities are for and against and how we perceive their image. Governments would do well to avoid appearing to push anybody into owning EV's other than just helping to build the infrastructure in which they can operate. Feeling bullied into behaving in a certain way, whether it is for our health (mums at school fences handing out chips) or the environment (microchips in wheelie bins) will galvanise resistance. This is important because, unlike the choice of computer, the time period for the switch over to non-oil burning vehicles is going to affect everybody. Just as the lengthy time to reduce smoking allowed many more deaths and more suffering so a long swansong for the internal combustion engine will do untold damage.