The government announced yesterday that they intend to help people to buy electric cars, offering a sweetener of up to £5,000 to get more of them on the road. Electric cars have no emissions, so this should be a good thing for the UK’s carbon footprint.
However, an electric vehicle is only as green as the power station it charges from. All these cars will need to be plugged in somewhere to recharge, and that will raise the demand for electricity. If that increased demand is met with coal, then those electric cars are no more green than petrol driven versions.
A truly green car has to be run off renewable energy, and unfortunately the government has, as yet, no substantial plans for greening the grid, or developing a feed-in tarriff. As things currently stand, plans for more electric cars are only half-way to being useful.