Farmers and rural communities have reacted with fear to the Government’s ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2040.
Though the decision does not affect agricultural machinery or all-terrain vehicles such as quad bikes, forcing drivers to switch to electric cars will require the installation of charging infrastructure across the countryside – which has so far been patchy.
Huge swathes of the Lake District, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Devon have no charging points at all. Scotland and Wales are also poorly connected outside of the big cities.
Clare Wenner, head of transport at the Renewable Energy Association, told Farmers Guardian she could not say if the right infrastructure would be in place by 2040.
“Whether there will be enough and whether it will be sufficient to give people the confidence they need, I do not know”, she said.
Some Twitter users have already drawn parallels with the poor delivery of rural broadband and questioned how the Government could be trusted to install rural charge points.
Rob Dyson, a Northumberland hill farmer, pointed out his local area is not even connected to mains electricity.
“We are at the mouth of the upper part of the valleys and none of the farms there have mains electricity”, he said.
If he wanted to install a charge point at home, he would face a series of hurdles, including having to apply for planning permission for mains electricity.
Currently, most electric vehicles can be driven for about 1-200 miles, with some models reaching 300 miles before needing to be charged.
It is possible for electric cars to be fully charged in 30 minutes at a rapid charge point, but 82 per cent of current charge points take 3-4 hours for a full recharge.
The fear of running out of charge is so great, many rural users report experiencing ‘range anxiety’ when travelling – having to map out charging stations and plan activities for charging times when on road trips.
Concerns have also been raised about how the extra electricity needed to power the cars will be generated, as it would require the equivalent of almost 10 more power stations.
Ms Wenner said: “There is an enormous amount of electricity needed and I know National Grid are pretty concerned about it. Some will have to go on efficiencies rather than extra production.
“This is the theory, but of course it only takes one computer crash to go belly up.”