While out for a family meal, I saw a glimpse into the future: in a car park in Elveden proudly stands several Tesla superchargers – charging points built specifically for Tesla’s high-performance, luxury, electric cars.
Electric vehicles, or EVs, are perceived to be the most cutting-edge technology on our roads. And with car brands experimenting with autonomous vehicles, the automotive industry is changing faster than the cars themselves.
Last year, four major cities around the world – Paris, Mexico City, Athens and Madrid – all announced plans to ban the use of diesel vehicles by 2025.
Emissions from diesel engines from our cars, buses, lorries and trains are known to cause cancers.
Air pollution is responsible for 40,000 deaths annually in this country, with a quarter of these in our capital. It is more deadly than obesity and alcoholism combined.
London’s annual pollution limit for 2017 was exceeded just five days into the year. Diesel fumes have been linked to heart and lung damage and even associated with dementia, making this a true crisis.
Banning these vehicles will be a huge benefit to people’s health in towns and cities, and will also minimise the contribution to global warming and climate change.
It will, however, vastly reduce the choice for consumers when it comes to purchasing and owning a car.
In 2015, almost half of the cars registered on the UK’s roads were diesel, with fewer than three per cent sold being electric.
Electric cars seem to be ignored when it comes to buying a car, and you can see why.
In Bury town centre, there are barely any points to charge an electric car – a couple of spaces in the multi-storey and at Waitrose.
This lack of infrastructure for EVs is a huge deterrent for those potentially thinking to purchase one, creating a vicious circle.
Without the demand, there is no need for the infrastructure, yet without it, there is no desire or motive to own such a vehicle.
An issue with electric power is that the car is only as green as the energy put in it.
Around 60 per cent of the electricity put into the National Grid is generated through burning fossil fuels, polluting the atmosphere. For a movement towards zero emissions, our energy providers also need to change.
It is projected that there is less than 40 years of oil left. This means, in our generations’ lifetimes at least, we will see the end of diesel and petrol transport – a scary thought.
Electric cars are hugely important, not just from an environmental view, but a practical one.
How will we travel around villages, towns and cities once we have exhausted (pun not intended) our oil supply.
For the sake of our health, climate and how we will sustain our lifestyles, the futuristic vision of electric cars roaming the streets ought to be right around the bend.
-- Will Sealey is a student at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds