I can’t help feeling a bolt of joy at the acquisition by Gridserve of Ecotricity’s Electric Highway, the UK’s serially unreliable motorway charging network. Dale Vince, Ecotricity’s founder, deserves much praise for helping start the EV revolution 10 years ago, but the truth is he never really satisfied the customer. My own use of electric cars depends mostly on home and motorway charging so journeys have always had a fair degree of risk attached. Electric Highway’s new owner says it has already upgraded 20 sites and coverage “is going to be awesome”. It’s amazing to me that such a move has been so long in coming.
As hacks, our lives overflow with barmy press releases that joust with one another to reveal something new about what the public thinks of electric cars. Latest and oddest is from a company whose stated aim is “to speed up the mass adoption of e-mobility” yet it cites research to show two-thirds of motorists reckon 2052 would be a better date to cease sales of petrol and diesel cars than 2030, which the government has chosen. I find myself wondering where the clipboard merchants found so many Luddites, and why a forward-looking company took any notice of them. The headline didn’t say ‘Let them do it after I’m dead’ but it might as well have done.
I enjoyed a brisk half-day run out in the new hybrid Renault Arkana fastback SUV, which begins both a new campaign of electrified model launches for the brand and a much flagged assault on the car market’s thriving C-segment. I suspect I was the only attendee crusty enough to think such thoughts, but the Arkana put me in mind of the much admired, do-everything Renault 16 of the 1970s. (Yes, I went to the launch of that, too.) Reassuring to see a great marque continuing to do what it has always done well.
And another thing…