back to article Brown pledges to make Britain's drivers greener

Gordon Brown wants the UK to become a “world leader" in producing and exporting electric cars. If that isn't enough come 22 April – Budget Day – the government will also announce that it will enter talks with power companies about setting up a nationwide network of e-car charging posts. And e-car trials will begin in cities …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    With Prescott leading the way with two Jaguars?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sense, or lack of.

    As cars account for less than 10% of CO2 emissions, even using dodgy government stats. Why is a small country like the UK wasting time on this?

    Especially if you take into account the CO2 involved in developing new electric cars and the endless meetings etc.

    We'll end up spending 100 million tonnes of CO2 to save 100 tonnes! OK, not real figures but you see the point.

  3. Scott Wichall
    Gates Horns


    "we wonder if this means sticking Whitehall Mandarins in a fleet a G-Wizzes. We hope so as surely that can only be beneficial to our democracy"

    It will be beneficial if we then drive a fleet of trucks over said G-wizzes populated with the Whitehall Mandarins.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    What about those of us who DONT live in the city?

    Are they going to put EV charging posts in the rural areas too?

    Brown and all his little cronies (actually not just Brown - Phony Bliar was even worse) seem to forget that not everyone lives in the city and that some people do actually need 4x4s and pickups - not just for picking up those precious little darlings from school!

  5. Mark Daniels

    Joined up thinking..... ?

    Now, here is a thought....

    Rather than pumping money into forgeign companies int he hope they will build stuff here, why not promote UK companies and push them into the space.

    Now, I know there are not that many UK auto comapnies left, but LDV, for example could turn their hand toewards light commercials and buses.

    BEA have enough experoence of 'electronics' to make an impact, the west mid's has a planopy of small suppliers who wil leap the chance of makung some new kit, why are we pushing everybody else and not takingwhat is a slightly Victorian view and saying : build and buy British ?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Electricity - the "green" energy

    How much longer are we going to have to put up with this false idea that because a car is electrically powered, it has no envrionmentally damaging footprint? Where the f**k do these arseholes think electricity comes from? The 15% target for renewables doesn't take into account the massive increase in generation that would be required to fuel the millions of electric vehicles that they'd like to see.

    Those that claim that electric cars are 100% environmentally friendly because "they don't have any toxic emissions" are either totally naive or deliberately trying to mislead for their own agendas.

    Let's see some (independently researched) facts about exactly what the environmental impact is of electric vehicles.

  7. Yorkshirepudding
    Thumb Down

    Diesel FTW

    i already drive an effecient small engined diesel car so no no electric tomfoolery thanks

  8. Liam


    OK, so if we all switch over to EVs how will the already crumbling power grid cope?

    It can fail when everyone wants a cuppa at half time during big football games, imagine how bad it will be at 5:30pm when everyone plugs in their cars to charge overnight?

    surely EV is useless tech.... dont they understand where electricity comes from???

    Lets get hydrogen fuel cell cars going!

    Plus, all this is just for big cities! Meaning, yet again, those of us in small towns are subsidising Londoners/Mancs/Brummies even more!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Power-less Brown

    Even if you suspend disbelief for long enough, and assume this is successful, where is the electricity going to come from? The current(!) crumbling infrastructure is already inadequate and we are already sleepwalking into blackouts that no amount of windmills will cure.

    How does subsidising foreign car manufacturers turn Britain into a world-leading anything exactly? Could it be that this is just softening us up for more tax hikes on 'gas guzzlers' - ie cars - in the budget? Shurely some mistake...

  10. greg

    wtf, sod making them greener

    We need to teach 80% of them how to drive first!!

    Motorway driving should be a mandatory part of the driving test... fed up of middle lane hogs and people who cant keep a constant speed.

  11. Rob

    Stunned by Brown's stupidity

    He's definately grabbing at straws now, what exactly will make Nissan want to build their cars over here? Is Brown going to suddenly lower the minimum wage so that Nissan pay their workers less to compete with other countries low-cost workforce.

    Personally I'd like to see Brown and all his NuLabia lackies to plug themselves into these new charging points, arse first.

  12. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)


    99% of the drivers I encounter the middle lane are folk doing 70 and going past others who're doing 60 in the left-hand lane.

    70 too slow? Go faster in the right-hand lane and risk a NIP.

    As for those twits who zig-zag back and forth from left to centre lanes as they encounter slower traffic, what part of 'lane discipline' don't they understand?

    But I'm with you on the inconstant speed lot.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    @ Liam hmmm

    And the hydrogen for the fuel cells comes from...electricity of course! A fuel cell is just an alternative kind of battery unfortunately.

    So this is an ill-conceived, unworkable, expensive, stupid idea that you can't help feeling is hiding something nasty that's in store for us - just another day at the downing street ministry for truth.

  14. Paul Barnfather

    Re: Electricity - the "green" energy

    If you're talking about the environmental (i.e. CO2) impact of driving a fossil fuel car vs. driving an electric car then the figures come out at...{tada.wav}...guess what?

    "About the same."

    It's no big deal either way, given the current mix of electricity generation in this country.

    The mysterious *attraction* of EVs to the policy wonks is that, once you've got people used to driving different cars, they can generate the 'leccy from nuclear, wind and CCS coal. All of which substantially reduces the CO2.

    It's kinda hard to make that kind of change if we're all still running around on diesel. Biofuel was the last Great White Hope and look where that got us...

  15. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    A big wind turbine for every 4 square km?

    Combining the amount of fuel used in the UK for road transport in 2008-9 with the energy densities of petrol, diesel and LPG, I get a power use of 50GW. You would need over 35000 of the largest wind turbines in the world to generate that much power. (I assumed 25% load factor, which is optimistic considering that they are so close together and most would not be windy locartions).

  16. Codge

    @ Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware

    What about the 100% arseholes who drive in the middle (overtaking) lane, on an empty motorway, causing me to move from the left to outside lane to pass them.


    And don't get me started on mobile phone use, map reading, or make-up application whilst driving.


  17. ian

    Lucas, Prince of Darkness

    Let me be the first to welcome our inoperable automotive overloads ^H^H^H^H^H lords.

  18. Paul Barnfather
    Thumb Up

    Re: A big wind turbine for every 4 square km?

    Your power requirement looks somewhere near. Total UK transport energy consumption in 2007 = 60 million Toe (

    1 Toe = 42GJ, so that works out at a transport total of 80GW energy from fuel.

    Only just over 1% is currently electric (rail), so ignore that.

    Assume fossil fuel vehicles ~30% efficient (fuel -> motion). So there's 24GW of "motion energy" needed. I have no idea what real-world efficiency of EVs is - no combustion losses, so guess at 80% (generated electricity -> motion).

    So to power the UK's entire transport from electricity would need another 30GW.

  19. Dougal

    Behind the times

    Brown needs some new advisors. Speaking as someone who drove real electric cars ten years ago and nothing much has changed since then, they are hopeless in the real world. Very slow (dangerously) and/or low range with exceedingly high costs when battery replacement time comes round, sooner than expected. Rather than speaking to Nissan, perhaps they've been listening to GM about their Volt, or rather their PR attempt to pretend they're green while the company collapses in a pile of unsold V8 pickups.

    Me, I'll stick to my lovely 3litre flat 6 ........ ummmmmmmmm and don't get me started on those freakin hybrids!!

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Please put the PM in one of those mobile caskets

    So the PM puts in his thumb, and pulls out a plum, and says'what a good boy am i'

    and everyone around him says 'mate, just use the bog roll next time, eh?'

    Seriously...use solar to produce hydrogen and store it compressed for the fuel cells. What's so blinking hard about understanding that? We all know the current infrastructure cannot possibly handle a large number of 'leccy cars plugged in anywhere at one time...most likely not even if they take turns cycling on/off during the night.

    @AC - 14:23 - So this is an ill-conceived, unworkable, expensive, stupid idea

    An unfortunately entirely correct analysis.

    @Scott Wichall - It will be beneficial if we then drive a fleet of trucks over said G-wizzes populated with the Whitehall Mandarins

    My second good laugh of the day. How apropos..

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Okay ...

    Which minister has shares in electric car tech companies?

  22. Dr. Mouse

    @Tony Smith

    RE: "As for those twits who zig-zag back and forth from left to centre lanes as they encounter slower traffic, what part of 'lane discipline' don't they understand?"

    I'm not sure what you mean by this. The rule is stay to the left unless you are overtaking. Therefore, in normal circumstances (where you are driving a car, so are legally allowed to go faster than the wagons) you WILL 'zig-zag'. You will drive in the left hand lane until you are approaching a slower vehicle, pull out into the middle lane, overtake, and pull back in.

    I may have misunderstood your comment, though...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "exporting electric cars"

    Good thing we'll be exporting them, becouse in 10 years time we wont have the power to charge them unless we build a host of cheap gas fired powerstations today.

  24. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Most of us view Government Ministers...

    ... as greedy bastards with their snouts in the trough for whatever they can get.

    Of course if they were given a "fleet" of electric cars, no doubt they'd still be demanding milage allowances for the flash motors they drive to and from their constituencies because the electric cars "wouldn't be up to the job".

    PS @ Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware

    Highway code paragraph 264: Lane discipline

    "You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past. "

    Which part of "Lane discipline" don't you understand?

  25. Duncan Jeffery
    Black Helicopters

    free lunch?

    Have there been any studies on what the impact will be of 'harvesting' wind power? I would have thought with the slightly chaotic nature of the climate there maybe some unforeseen outcomes of reducing this natural resource. Guess the greenies will drop that one on us later once we have burnt all our other bridges - that is if they don't admit what a load of boll0x they are talking already

  26. Anonymous Coward

    @Mark Daniels

    "Rather than pumping money into forgeign companies int he hope they will build stuff here, why not promote UK companies and push them into the space."

    Based on history, pushing for UK companies to get involved in car manufacturing seems like a losing proposition...

  27. Alan L


    News commentator goes:

    "Drivers are warned to avoid the e-car charging point on Da-Da Road as it is expected to be out of action for another few days. Drivers speculated that the disruption occurred soon after a male dog urinated on the power module. Some drivers at the time commented that sizzling dog gonadz flew through the air about the time that the recharging unit gave a bright blew flash and loud banging noise. The dog was seen running away with its tail between its legs"

  28. Nigel Wright

    It never ceases to amaze me..

    ..that we allow these idiots to remain in charge.

    As most commentators on here seem to observe, electric cars are not green. Generation of electricity is not green. The internal combustion engine has so far prevailed because it is the best, most convenient and power efficient mode of transport.

    Can you imagine how badly an electric car would perform when saddled with all the modern driving aid, crash protection zones etc we have these days? Not to mention a ton of batteries on board.

    As most people I know seem unable to use/manage the use of rechargeable batteries I don't think rechargeable cars are gonna work!

  29. OFI
    Thumb Down


    So are these things as pictured still being classed as Quadrocycles as the G-Wizz was?

    In order to bypass all of the safety features and crash tests car manufacturers have worked for years towards..

    Compromising safety just to LOOK like you are doing something for the environment ;-) Lol @ the 100% clean idea..

    Battery powered cars are a stupid old idea, so probably just about the right thing for our government to be interested in..

  30. jason

    Classic example of how Govt Project work

    What happens is they have the initial brainstorming (ahem) session and the flipchart has the word - PROS listed in big letters and underlined.

    Then the session begins but no one writes up the word CONS on another flipchart.

    Four hours later, copious cups of tea, coffee and fine sandwiches (all supplied by UK Taxpayer) they decide its a great idea and much self congratulating takes place.

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