Let’s tell Government where to plug their electric car plan
Once upon a Christmas, some 25 to 30 years ago, a young boy who grew up to have his bald head plastered on the top of a newspaper column received a present from Santa of an electric-powered remote-control car.
Oh, how delighted he was that December morning as he plugged his new toy in to charge up, before traipsing around after it in the sitting room and up and down the hall, steering it around obstacles like wrapping paper and little brothers. The ‘beauty’ of it was that it didn’t need any batteries that the all-seeing and all-knowing Santa always seemed to forget, and so weeks if not months of model motoring fun seemed assured - until the downside of it became obvious too.
Yup, you could charge it up all right, but it very quickly went flat. Give it about fifteen minutes, and instead of speeding like Lewis Hamilton, it crawled like an ould one in a Micra. Five minutes later, and all you could do was pretend you were in a car park. And so you had to give it another hour charging up before you could drive for a further fifteen minutes. The novelty quickly wore off, and the toy was despatched to the attic, along with the broken Action Men and the jigsaws with the pieces missing.
But now a similar experience awaits many of us each and every day, but for real this time, if the greens we have in government get their way with their latest wacko plan. Basically, they want 250,000 of us to be driving electric cars in just twelve year’s time - no matter how crap they are.
And oh boy, are they crap - a fact that the woman they wheeled out as a supposed shining example to us all didn’t even try to deny.
That woman was Gene Feighery, a Green Party councillor in Dun Laoghaire despite the fact that not a single person has ever, ever voted for her as she was merely co-opted onto the council after her predecessor resigned due to the work being too much for her - why try get elected in the first place if you’re not up to the job?
Ms Feighery has bought something called a Mega City plug-in car (sounds like some- thing that skangers with red jumpers would shout about in a cheap TV ad), and told us how delighted she was that it even ’looks like a real car’.
It doesn’t go like one, though. Top speed is just 80 km/h, or 50 mph, so you’d be only slightly better off yourself than those ould ones in the Micras. It goes even slower uphill, she says. You only get about 80 kilometers (again, about 50 miles) out of a single charge, so if you’ve any sort of commute to work at all, you’ll have to pull in on your way home to change the batteries. Oh, and you’d better wrap up well while driving, because according to Ms Feighery, the heater doesn’t work very well. Maybe the dealers will throw in a free scarf and pair of gloves to try get round that one.
But even if the cold doesn’t bother you, and even if you’re a city dweller so things like the limited speed and range aren’t much of a handicap, questions still remain - the biggest one being where or how are you supposed to plug the damn things in?
At home, by draping an extension cable out your sitting room window? What if you live in an apartment, with an undergound parking space? Have you to go looking for a 100-metre cable reel to feed power from your third floor home to your Mega City car in the basement? And how is all this extra electricity going to be generated anyway? Don’t we still depend on fossil fuels in most of our generating stations, so is the whole plan not just a little counter-productive?
Still, if it were just another wacko pie-inthe-sky plan, it wouldn’t be so bad as we could just laugh it off and wait for it to be forgotten about. But €1 million has already been given to some crowd called Sustainable Energy Ireland for research into how to get the plan the work. A task force has also been set up, probably not leaving much change out of another million by the time they’re finished. And that’s all on top of another plan recently announced to make up to €400,000 available in tax allowances for people who want to buy a bike to commute to work, instead of driving.
Put all that together, and you’ve got almost €2.5 million to be flittered through. This from a Government that couldn’t afford €10 million for the cervical cancer vaccine for young girls. Let’s tell them where to plug in their electric car plan, and where the money would be better spent
You’ll get about half-way home in your electric car before having to charge it up again. Just try not to go up too many hills on the way.