The revenge of the Electric Car

Baker Electric Cars

Originally uploaded by twm1340

The feature-length documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? was one of the surprise hits of Sundance Film Festival in 2006. It told the story of a stalled attempt by General Motors to introduce “battery electric vehicles” to California in the early 1990s. By the end of it you were convinced that an evil cabal of automobile manufacturers, oil companies and the Californian government had deliberately  destroyed the potential of the of the electric car.

Thankfully, the dream of cleaner, quieter and greener electric vehicles is not quite so dead. As was in evidence last week with the announcement by the Australian Government that it was to fund a $1billion network of recharging stations right across that continent by 2012. The news followed the announcement that Paris is to invent in an ambitious electric car rental scheme, similar to its popular Velib bike rentals, while Angela Merkle was ordering hundreds of eclectric vehicles to run in Berlin.

The story behind all these welcome announcements is that Britain is already well ahead in the race. Westminster Council has already built 14 recharging stations and many more have already opened across the capital (with as many as 80 ordered before the end of the financial year). Cities like Glasgow, Sheffield and Bristol are not far behind. The leading manufacturer for the charging stations, Elektromotive of Brighton, moreover, says its orderbook is full and the future for electric cars remains very bright, despite the onset of recession.