When I heard the government’s announcement that petrol and diesel cars are to be banned from 2040, I resorted, as I often do, to the British Pathé news archive. I found a 1967 film showing trials of a prototype electric Mini, as well as a similar experiment from Ford. Then came this rather delicious prediction, delivered in clipped tones: ‘In the next few years there is the prospect of seeing millions of them on the road.’
The hype over electric cars has been going on a long time. Had Harold Wilson been moved by it and done what Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, has just done, he would have passed a law banning petrol and diesel cars from 1990 — and the country would have been virtually immobilised when that year arrived. Why create a hostage to fortune now?