Now let’s plug in 10 million cars

Regrettably, Britain stayed in the dark both about and on my birthday.

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind… Or perhaps not.

That the country was ignorant of so momentous an event is understandable. That more than a million Britons were plunged into darkness by a National Grid failure is worrying.

Boris Johnson has ordered an investigation into the power outages, and until it has been completed one shouldn’t venture too many guesses.

However, troglodytes who love to find fault with renewable energy will gloat because the blackout was made worse by Hornsea Wind Farm cutting off from the grid.

Yet this will in no way dampen my enthusiasm for saving the planet (aka the Earth) from global warming. We’re in the midst of this cataclysm, caused by aerosol sprays, hydrocarbons and Margaret Thatcher.

The goal of saving the planet is so noble that I’m prepared to freeze in the dark if that would help. However, some people don’t share my selfless commitment to this cause. They bitch about their lives being disrupted, as if spending a few pleasant hours stranded in traffic jams or on tube trains has ever hurt anybody.

They forget that it’s largely because of their selfishness that National Grid failed in the first place. Those egoists don’t think twice about the consequences of their actions.

They callously turn on their chandeliers at mealtimes, ignoring the romantic appeal of a candlelit supper. They sybaritically take public transport to work, even though they could score a double whammy by walking.

The exercise they’d get by a brisk 10-mile walk would improve their health and reduce pressure on the NHS, whereas National Grid wouldn’t have to overstrain its every sinew wheeling them around.

And as to people who drive to work, or for that matter anywhere else, don’t get me started on this. Leeches! Hedonists! Global warming deniers! Criminals! Sorry, I can’t remain dispassionate when this subject comes up.

Oh well, until our next government criminalises self-interest, I suppose cars will be with us for a while. However, in common with all other planet-savers, I look forward to the time when all our cars will be electric.

This is what our government wants, and whatever our government wants has to be good and just. Especially since that commitment is shared by our high nobility, such as the Duchess of Sussex. So we can confidently look forward to the near future, when all 32.5 million cars in the UK will be replaced by their electric equivalents.

However, playing not so much devil’s advocate as the devil himself, one may mischievously juxtapose this coming bliss with the seams at which National Grid is creaking. This yields a chastening question: where’s the extra energy going to come from?

I don’t know exactly how much more energy will be needed. But, in round numbers, it has to be an awful lot.

Hence, if National Grid is at the end of its tether now, it’ll have to be boosted tremendously to cope with millions of cars recharging their batteries at the same time.

Where will the boost come from? I know it’ll have to come from somewhere because surely our wise government must have considered all the ramifications of its policy.

Let’s see. Nuclear is out because it’s deadly – even though there has never been a single fatal accident at a nuclear power station anywhere in the West. But facts shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with a noble principle and anyway, there’s always a first time.

Coal, oil and gas are the work of the devil because they, along with aerosols and Margaret Thatcher, are responsible for destroying the planet in the first place. So they’re out as well.

That leaves the sun and the wind as the clear winners. Scientists, those who work for neither governments nor the UN and therefore have no vested interest in saving the planet, doubt that those turbines and panels can do the job even if they densely cover every square inch of Britain.

But even those hirelings to capitalists and planet-rapists can’t deny that wind and solar energy is friendly to the environment, making its efficacy a moot and subversive point.

So let’s hear it for electric cars and Elon Musk – they are our near future. Also in our near future is a vastly increased mining of lithium, cobalt, nickel and other rare metals involved in the production of those zillions of car batteries.

Most of the world’s supply of such metals comes from places where the miners are slaves or as near as damn. But we planet-savers are blessed with a sufficiently elastic conscience to look on the bright side: those Congo miners may be digging themselves into a premature grave for a pound a week, but without those cobalt mines they’d die of hunger even sooner.

Then of course there’s the polluting effect of all the extra mining, which makes global warming deniers question the net effect on the planet. Naysayers! Virtue must be impervious to actuarial calculations – it has to do with high morality, not low arithmetic.

However, undeterred by my wrath, those enemies of the planet keep piling on questions. Mercifully, answers are always close at hand.

Q. What happens to those who can’t afford the expensive Elon Musk products? A. Patience. In due course, they’ll become cheaper.

Q. What if some of us can’t afford the £7,000 cost of replacing a car battery? A. Patience. The cost is bound to come down.

Q. What will happen to those tens of millions of discarded batteries full of acid? Won’t disposing of them hurt the environment? A. Patience. Our government will think of something.

So you see, patience is the answer to every doubt, provided one’s heart is in the right place and one’s head isn’t.

9 thoughts on “Now let’s plug in 10 million cars”

  1. An ex client of mine, a very distinguished, retired chemistry professor, used to get very agitated on the subject of electric vehicles – declaring the whole industry a giant con trick which actually increases pollution.

    According to him, the pollution generated by modern exhaust emissions is negligible – mainly minute traces of inert hydrocarbons and water vapour. The overwhelming cause of pollution generated by all vehicles are the airborne particulates resulting from brake, tyre and road wear – the brown layer of smog you see over Los Angeles when you fly into LAX is exactly that; and, given that electric vehicles tend to be heavier for a given class, they are more polluting, per vehicle, than those powered by the internal combustion engine.

    This, of course, is before we even get to the damaging effects of the infrastructure required to manufacture, service and support these vehicles that this piece refers to.

  2. “We’re in the midst of this cataclysm, caused by aerosol sprays, hydrocarbons and Margaret Thatcher.”

    Don’t forget Don. And GW Bush before him. Barack Obama however was good.

  3. All those aerosol sprays will destroy the ozone layer. By at least 2010 we will only be able to go outside in the direct rays of the sun if we are wearing a space suit and special goggles. You wait and see. That year must be marked on your calendar. And it is all settled science. All the scientists agree. It is not even to be questioned or argued.

  4. I was just discussing this last night with my wife. I made most of the same points. Elon Musk says we will soon have all electric cars – no gasoline engines. Interesting. I live in Orange county (2.5M cars), adjacent to Los Angeles county (7.5M cars), where we already have rolling brownouts/blackouts during the hot summer months. Where will we get the electricity to charge 10M car batteries every night?

    To the rescue comes good ol’ Elon, whose new roadster boasts of a 620 mile range. Perfect! That’s two weeks of driving for me. Oh, I just noticed the $250,000 price tag. Well, if I save $500 per month on gasoline and engine maintenance, I will realize that $250,000 in savings in just 500 months! Oh, but I’ll need 3 of them for myself, my wife and my 4 children.

    One more point that nobody ever raises: the direct heat from charging. Ever touch your cell phone or any other battery while it is charging? They get quite warm. Add the heat from 10M car batteries being charged in the L.A. area each night, and we will definitely experience anthropogenic global warming!

    Bert mentioned Barack O’bama (our lovely Irish president). His plan, while president, was to make electricity too expensive for the average consumer, thus forcing innovation. Every time my 85 year old mother complained about her bill, I chastised her for not providing a cheaper alternative!

  5. To paraphrase Mrs. Beaton: first, find a million electric cars. Until then, I shall keep pressing the snooze button whenever someone talks about it. A million cars is a pathetically low target. There was going to be a ‘Peoples’ Car’ for every German family but we put a stop to that for quite a long time.

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