By Pippa Hough, Assistant Content Developer
The Science Museum’s Dana Centre was very pleased to host Nice and Serious last Wednesday night to screen the documentary Revenge of the Electric Car. For those who didn’t make it, you missed a fascinating insight into the burgeoning electric car market. We followed Nissan, GM, Tesla and Greg ‘Gadget’ Abbott, as they try to corner the market in electric vehicles (EVs), while staving off bankruptcy and, in the case of Greg, fire and a factory full of poisonous dust.
After the film we had an absorbing discussion with the Director, Chris Paine (from his garage in California!), and Clemens Lorf, a researcher from Imperial College on electric car batteries.
The big questions the audience wanted Chris and Clemens to answer? When and how will EVs become the norm on our roads?
The Bersey taxi, London's oldest electric taxi, which appeared on the city’s streets in 1897
Clemens, Chris and nearly everyone interviewed in the film agreed; EVs and renewable technologies, will only become a normal part of our lives when they make economic sense. There will never be enough eco-minded people with disposable income willing to buy an electric car instead of a cheaper petrol model to keep the industry afloat.
With rising oil prices and advances in technology bringing down manufacturing costs, the scales are beginning to tip in favour of EVs. As our societies become increasingly urbanised, owning an EV for driving around a city can be a very practical option. Most of your journeys are well within the battery’s capacity, and in a city you’re never too far from a charging station.
Our traditional notions of car ownership are evolving as companies like ZipCar allow members to rent vehicles with no notice, for a few hours at a time – ‘usership’ over ownership. These companies are increasing our access to electric vehicles by making them an affordable alternative.
The tipping point for a future full of electric cars is getting closer as the big car companies continue to take EVs seriously – but we’re not quite there yet…
This Green Wednesdays event is part of our Climate Changing programme, which is supported by Shell, Siemens, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and The Garfield Weston Foundation.