PETER HITCHENS: Electric vehicles? They’re still dangerous, polluting lumps that kill and maim

I am beginning to loathe the new smugocracy of people driving or riding electric vehicles. I cannot stand the way that they are so pleased with themselves, and expect the rest of us to love them.

It is of course a good thing that people have begun to grasp that the petrol or diesel-driven motor car is the most ridiculous form of transport ever devised. These ugly lumps of metal, glass and rubber wreck the health of their users, spreading back problems and heart disease. Even after a century of road safety measures, they still kill and maim far too many people and always will.

A worrying number of their drivers are obviously drunk or drugged. They pump filth and noise into the air. They make the roads unusable by children on foot or on bicycles. They cause handsome cities to be wrecked to make way for them and they poison and scar the countryside. They make us depend on horrible despots, who sit on top of the oil reserves of the world.

And they are economically mad. People borrow money to buy these depreciating assets. And, having paid a fortune for them, they then leave them by the side of the road or in some hideous car park for 23 hours out of every 24.

But almost none of these problems is solved by switching to electric power. Yes, electric cars are quieter, but that only makes them more dangerous as people have come to link noise with speed. Otherwise, they continue to cause great clouds of pollution – except that it now comes from power stations instead of out of exhaust pipes.

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