They are seen as an antidote to the wave of pollution clouding Britain’s biggest cities. Within the next few years, it is hoped that a fleet of electric cars will clear the air by driving diesel and petrol engines off urban streets. However, analysis has found that the burgeoning fleet of plug-in vehicles may create a new headache of its own. Switching all cars to ultra-low emissions may place a massive strain on the power network because of the additional resources needed to recharge batteries, research suggests. Figures produced by Transport for London (TfL) suggest that switching to an all-electric vehicle fleet in the capital would demand five times the amount of power needed to run the entire London Underground network. The analysis, seen by The Times, says that moving to an electric or hydrogen vehicle fleet “has implications for London’s energy supply system”. At the maximum level of uptake in the city green cars would demand between seven and eight gigawatt-hours per year. Experts said this was equivalent to the output of more than two nuclear power stations similar to that being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Extrapolated nationally, it would require the equivalent of 20 new nuclear power stations nationwide. The conclusions will prompt new questions over Britain’s strategy to take conventional vehicles off the road in favour of a low-emission fleet, in order to drastically cut carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions.
Times 11th Feb 2017 read more »