Electric cars must be taxed to pay for more power stations 'or National Grid could fail'United Kingdom
Electric cars must be taxed to pay for more power stations or they could drain the National Grid and even contribute to power cuts, an energy firm has warned.
Analysts for Saturn Energy calculated that a fuel duty of up to 10p a mile would be required to pay for the extra demand which will be created if the Government\'s targets on renewable energy are hit.
The Climate Change Committee has said that 1.7 million electric cars should be on Britains roads by 2020.
The firm's experts said the National Grid was already struggling to provide enough power for Britain's needs and urgent modernisation was required to boost capacity to provide for the needs of any surge in the number of electric cars.
The firm also said that electricity should cost "about the same as petrol", which is certain to deter those motorists who are shifting to electric cars to try to save money on driving.
It estimated that such taxes would raise £1.7 billion a year, which, if kept exclusively for the purpose, could pay for 1 new nuclear plant, two gas-fired power stations or 10,000 new wind turbines each year.
However, it is likely the Government would put part of any such revenue into the general pot for expenditure.
Critics of electric cars have cited research which appears to show that such vehicles are only half as efficient as diesel engines , once the environmental cost of traditional power generation is taken into account.
Saturn Energy's managing director, John McShane, said: The running costs of an electric car, if you can afford one, look attractive. Two pence per mile compared with say 12p for a conventional car.
But putting a million on the road will mean having to build new power stations to keep them charged when were already concerned about power shortages.
If the electricity used to charge these cars cost about the same as petrol then that may provide the investment we need.
Nervousness in the economy is killing investment in new and renewable energy and the Government really is the only one that can spark the required investment to change this position.
He admitted that any tax would reduce the incentive for people to change to an electric car but added: We cant cut emissions without making sure that we can keep the lights on in our homes and businesses.
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