Lichfield’s MP says he wouldn’t consider getting an electric car due to “range anxiety” and slow charging concerns.

Michael Fabricant made his comments ahead of an international environment conference in Glasgow later this year.

The Conservative MP said there were still a number of reasons why drivers would not turn to electric vehicles at this stage.

“Range anxiety and slow charging times still make electric cars unattractive for many. 

“I have friends in Lichfield who own an electric car, yet for longer jorneys they still use their diesel.

“And unless I lived on the Isle of Wight, I wouldn’t consider getting an electric car just yet.

“It’s not just infrastructure and charging points – many motorists don’t want to have to stop for half an hour or far longer to recharge their vehicle when it takes just five or six minutes maximum to refill a tank of liquid fuel. 

“The Government needs to recognise this at the upcoming COP 26 International Environment Conference in Glasgow.”

Michael Fabricant MP

A target has been set for banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

Mr Fabricant said that while he felt there was still progress to be made on electric vehicle technology, he remained hopeful that date would be achievable.

Michael Fabricant

“Companies in Brisbane, Australia and in Israel are developing completely new types of battery using graphene, an allotrope of carbon, one of the most common elements on the planet. 

“Depending on the battery size and charger power, these could give electric cars a longer range than conventional vehicles and as fast a recharging time from empty.

“Current estimates suggest, however, that these batteries won’t be available for five or six years yet, but they will be a game changer – if they come about with a manufacturing price that is realistic. 

“So it is likely that the 2030 target of banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars could be achievable.

“But this will require the roll out of high powered charging stations throughout the country, a standard connector between car manufacturers, and the ability to generate sufficient electricity for the purpose.

“The provision of electric cars is the future, but politicians waving magic wands are not.  COP 26 faces many challenges and electric cars may not be as ‘green’ as people think.

“As for me, I’m hanging on to my twin turbo petrol-driven car until those battery issues have all been sorted.”

Michael Fabricant MP

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29 Comments

  1. I do not normally comment on what Mr Fabricant’s opinions are regarding a variety of topics as I have no strong stance but in this case these comments are dangerous, ignorant and show a selfish mentality.

    Yes the charging infrastructure needs to improve, so why not use that to form an opinion? Why not lobby for more investment? Electric cars are less polluting and quieter. The first and second hand market for these cars needs to improve, so why not lobby for more government subsidies or tariff changes?

    He talks of long range batters, a lot of models can do 300 miles on a charge, range is improving all the time and the average UK journey is 8.4 miles!

    Making this sort of statement a few days after the UN report, amidst some of the worst heatwaves on record, and before a key government summit on climate change is embarrassing and quite shocking.

  2. I wrote to Mr Fabricant a while ago as his constituency is one of the problems in the lack of rapid chargers in the country, there are no rapid chargers in Lichfield at all, the few 7kw ones we have are too few and not fast enough for public charging. If he (and other MP’s) took responsibility for addressing the infrastructure in their own constituencies then the whole country would have a network to be proud of. Instead he sent me a copy of an email from LDC as follows…

    I am writing in respect of your constituent regarding plans for electrical charging points in Lichfield district.

    Our emerging Local Plan to 2040 contains a Strategic Policy SP3 that requires that electrical charging points will be provided wherever new development creates a parking space:

    … Requiring proposals for all new development (including changes of use) which create new parking spaces for cars or commercial vehicles, subject to technical feasibility, to provide electric vehicle charging point(s) (EVCPs). This is to be in either in an active or passive form, with each parking space to be provided. The location and design of the EVCP must not detract from the visual appearance and character of the development or its surroundings.

    In addition as part of our master planning work for Lichfield City Centre a car parking strategy is due to be developed. Work to inform the strategy will include a review of existing provision and capacity of EVCP’s. This will then feed into recommendations for technology that should be incorporated into car parks in the short, medium and long term. Our newest car park, the Friary Car Park does have EVCP’s. The Masterplan work will also look to developing a Green Infrastructure Strategy later this year which will also address some of the other issues raised.

    The Council made a climate change pledge in December 2019 and at present is carrying out work to assess the baseline for carbon emissions for the district as a whole , as part of the Local plan work mentioned above, and for the council’s own operations before developing a decarbonisation plan. Some initiatives have already been put in place , such as switching all our Energy contracts to green energy.

    I hope this gives assurance to your constituent that Lichfield District Council are working to address these very important issues.

  3. Well, what does this tell us about the Tories that we didn’t already know? Whilst there are concerns about electric cars, to come out with this stuff straight after the recent climate report indicates strongly that politicians of his ilk don’t intend to do much about saving the planet. Until of course there is money to be made from it. Coupled with the crass comments his leader has been making, it doesn’t bode well for the upcoming climate conference, when I fully expect the usual meaningless fudge to be the result. What will it take to get these people to take our climate crisis seriously?

  4. Well, I’m about to start commuting between Lichfield and Stoke on a daily basis, and I’m in the process of buying an electric car for that commute. We’re getting a used 2018 EV with 150 miles of ‘real’ range on a single charge, which makes it perfectly reasonable for daily commuting (more recent makes of the same car will do over 200 miles; which will be more than enough for many of us). There are otherwise very few journeys we’ll ever need to make that we can’t use a train for. In the exceptionally rare cases where we can’t take a train and need to exceed our range, we’ll just factor in those 30 minute fast charges – which isn’t really that much more than a motorway service station toilet and snack break might take anyway.

    There are meanwhile government grants that make installation of a home charger affordable, and a 7KW home charger will charge in 4 hours; that gets around the problem of Lichfield’s lack of fast chargers so long as I charge from home – and I’ll meanwhile be leading the installation of chargers at my new workplace for both staff and visitors. Though of course if we had an MP willing to lobby for more fast charging points in his constituency with the same enthusiasm that he lobbies for better lifts at Trent Valley Station and the joys of cathedral choral music (not that I’d belittle either), it might help.

    I suspect the real challenge for many is that the initial cost of an EV is much higher than a petrol/diesel car, especially if you buy the battery outright (rather than lease it). There’s no point in denying that this will be an issue for many financially hard-pressed households. But if that initial outlay can be overcome, then the overall running costs after the initial purchase are much lower.

    Short version: Writing as one of his constituents, I’m not remotely convinced by Mr Fabricant’s arguments, which I regret I find both ill-informed and selfish – not to mention profoundly regrettable given the urgency of the issues facing the COP 26 participants.

  5. I don’t often agree with Fabricant as I don’t consider him to be a good MP.
    We were serious about going electric but after doing the research we don’t think we are ready for electric yet. May be OK for local roads. Wouldn’t risk it much further.

  6. Electric vehicles? No thank you very much. I’m getting myself a big brand new dirty and very noisy diesel guzzling Harley Davidson. You’ll all be able to head me coming in your little toy battery cars.

  7. I’ll throw my wig into the ring and say that the overriding factor that would prevent me from buying an EV is the price. A Renault Zoe is £28K and a Renault Clio is £13K. In 2010 the Government declared petrol cars to be dirty and persuaded people to scrap them and buy a diesel. 12 years later it’s still going strong, having covered 186000 miles. How many miles can an EV travel before the batteries begin to wear out and the range suffers?

  8. For anyone looking a bank of four x 11kw EV chargers have just been installed last week at Trent Business Centre next to Topps Tiles these are available to the public to drive in an charge up.

  9. Fossil fuel powered cars are dead technology rapidly approaching the end of viability. Electric cars are here, they are the future of cars. But the future of cars should also be less cars. The future of transport needs to include more, better, cheaper to use, public transport and more schemes to make cycling an attractive and viable solution to local travel. And walking for very local travel. Lichfield is a small city, if you’re ablebodied don’t drive a mile and a half in to the centre to do some shopping, walk. Cars are a terribly inefficient way of moving one or two people around.

  10. A colleague bought an electric car, pre-pandemic. A year later, he had sold it. His reasoning was that the range quoted had, it seemed, been the maker’s ‘ideal’ figure (as optimistic as their mpg figures for normally-fuelled cars) and he found that the car’s actual, shorter, range diminished rapidly during commuting in winter, when lights, wipers and heater were in use.
    Add to this the apparent difficulties should an EV break down, the lack of available chargers – see the council gobbledygook above – and, for the first time in my life, I find myself agreeing with our MP.
    It may be, of course, that the EV is overtaken by other technology – as it was in the last century – or by the un-environmental nature of battery production and disposal.

  11. Yet again, our MP puts his head above the parapet to comment, and yet again he makes no sense. This opinion of “hanging onto my diesel for convenience” is just so arrogant and selfish. For most people, cost is the barrier to an electric car but, Mr Fabricant has no such concerns – and STILL he dismisses them – all on the basis of convenience. In the same week that a report from scientists claimed we are teetering on the brink of CATASTROPHE – how can a British MP set this kind of example? Who actually votes for this??

  12. Clearly Mr Fabricant has no idea about EVs and is trotting out the usual old and tired arguments about range anxiety blah blah blah If he bothered to even spend some time researching he will see that the latest generation of EVs having increasing range and if he is really worried about range could buy himself plug in hybrid which would avoid him worrying about running out of charge. Diesel is probably the worst fuel to be running at the moment. But when was the last time anybody actually heard him address global warming or actually stating what he is doing to change to address it? As usual says do as I say not as I do… hypocrite

  13. I’ve had an i3 REX and Passat GTE estate as company cars. Both plug in hybrids with different approaches and EV range (i3 65-85 miles/Passat 19-26miles) and load capacity to for different uses. I did 83k in 3 years (120 miles a day) in the i3. With only 14% of that using petrol. That’s despite its range being 85 in summer 65 in winter. Charging at work and in public car parks, is better than using rapids as you just leave the car while you go about your business. Also did a trip camping to Le Mans in France. The Passat did 36k in 2 years with 75% of that on electric despite a 25 mile range and 50 miles a day as there was charging in Coventry on street parking.
    Now EVs are available with near 300 mile range and charging in 18 minutes (Ioniq 5, Tesla 3)
    Ps the Passat can tow 1600kg. Really useful for someone with short commutes and ocassional long trips. It might be expensive on list price but was cheaper for me to lease and fuel than the 2.0Tdi.
    I do understand the price needs to come down for everyone to adopt… and it will before 2030. 2023 is the year when battery prices should see EVs cost comparable to fossil cars to buy and run. 2025 for them to be comparable just on purchase price.
    In the mean time used Outlanders can be picked up for less than 10k now.

  14. Mr. Fabricant simply doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about. That being the case,aybe Mr. Fabricant should inform himself a bit better first.

  15. My concern is the failure to recognise the pollution and problems caused by building electric cars. They still have to be manufactured use rare resources that have to be mind and charging points put in place by workmen using diesel or petrol work vehicles.

  16. John, why do you assume charging points are put in place by workmen using petrol or diesel work vehicles? And even if they are, why does that matter? It’s unavoidable that fossil fuels will be used in the course of putting in place infrastructure to remove our dependence on them.
    There are legitimate concerns around the environmental and human rights issues created where the resources to create batteries are mined. But there is with oil and gas too. Which is why we have to look at using those resources to best effect. Better public transport infrastructure would reduce the need for car ownership.

  17. Well, MF will hang onto his twin turbo petrol car, the Tory alleged environmental spokesperson Allegra Stratton doesn’t fancy giving up her diesel car just yet, and Boris the buffoon expressed dismissive opinions on wind turbines just a few years ago. Do we really expect anything meaningful to come out of the much heralded climate conference? Or will I have to continue breathing in exhaust fumes while cycling? It really is time to get rid of this bunch of idiots.

  18. I frequently drive in my electric car from Lichfield to my boat in North Wales. No range problem at all, though I do need to use the charging point at the marina before setting off on my return.
    And yes, it is a sailing boat, though not yet with electric auxiliary power. Perhaps Mr Fabricant would like a boat trip?

  19. Great post by @Simon, I’ve learned more from that than an hour of web research. Personally, I’m not ready for full EV yet but all things being equal my next car will be hybrid and I’ll use the electric option as much as I possibly can.

    I don’t actually disagree with the article, it was ok until the final sentence re. the twin-turbo. Dear oh dear.

  20. “West Midlands overtakes London in UK’s electric car charger revolution”

    ‘The West Midlands has overtaken London as the region with the fastest-growing network of electric car chargers, thanks to a push by Coventry to rapidly move away from petrol and diesel cars.

    The number of electric car chargers in the West Midlands rose by a fifth between April and July, according to data from Zap-Map and the Department for Transport. That compared with growth of 12.6% in the east of England.

    London still attracted the most new charge points in absolute terms, with 309 additions, but the West Midlands, which has a much smaller population, was close behind, with 272.’

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/aug/13/west-midlands-overtakes-london-uk-electric-car-charger-revolution-coventry

    That’s the metropolitan county rather than the broader region, and it seems to be driven by Coventry; but it does show what’s possible with a little effort and goodwill. Perhaps Mr Fabricant and Lichfield District Council’s leadership should both have a word with Andy Street? They’re all from the same party, after all.

  21. Simon you drove someone else’s electric car so did not buy them. They are too expensive for the average man in the street especially the retired ones. When they come down to a realistic price perhaps but the Tesla 3 with a 250 mile range has a starting price of ,£45,000

  22. @ ML: Using the cost of a Tesla as an argument against buying an electric vehicle is a bit like using the price of a Jaguar as an argument against buying a Volkswagen Polo.

    EVs are more expensive, yes. As I noted in my first post in the thread, ‘I suspect the real challenge for many is that the initial cost of an EV is much higher than a petrol/diesel car, especially if you buy the battery outright’. But a Tesla isn’t representative. Our used three-year-old EV cost us £12,000 without the battery, £16,000 with the battery included. A brand new entry-level Renault Zoe with a range of c.240 miles can be had for under £25,000.

    There’s no doubt that the cost of EVs can be a barrier; but there’s also no need to use a new Tesla as the main point of comparison. There are considerably cheaper entry-level options, both used and new.

  23. Shure I would have liked to see your milk float performing on the M25 yesterday when it took 2 hours to travel about 25 miles without passing a service station. I had half a tank of diesel so no problem

  24. Though you’ve perhaps missed the point of my last post (or, if we’re giving you the benefit of the doubt, have engaged in some deliberate – if not particularly effective – deflection), I assure you that it would have been absolutely fine in the described circumstances on the M25, ML; though thank you for your concern. As it happens, slower speeds use less power, and regenerative braking and deceleration help to optimise EV driving range; so getting stuck in slow-moving stop-start traffic is actually _better_ for range. You might find the following summary guide from Renault’s website useful:

    “How do traffic jams affect my driving range?

    When you start your E-Tech electric vehicle, you hear and feel nothing. The same goes when you are stuck in a traffic jam.

    The electric motor only uses energy when you accelerate. When stationary, the only consumption is from any auxiliaries that are on, such as the heating or air conditioning.

    In heavy traffic, you are constantly stopping, starting and decelerating. This is actually good for your electric motors as it recovers energy during deceleration and braking (compared to most diesel or petrol engines).”

    https://www.renault.co.uk/engines-innovation/ze-use.html

    Forgive me, but when the above is combined with calling an electric vehicle a ‘milk float’ – and this immediately after using a new Tesla as the base measure for how much an electric vehicle costs – I can’t help shake a nagging feeling that this might not be your core area of expertise.

  25. Shure do not believe everything you read, advertising and manufacturer’s guff are there to fool the guillable, I know how electric motors work and there fallibility. I was an aero engineer at one time looking after electric motors on machine tools and printing presses in a different time. What expertise can you bring to the equation

  26. I’ll bear Mr Fabricant’s comments in mind next time I am in resus watching my asthmatic daughter struggling to keep breathing. Asthma has a number of triggers, but pollution from petrol and diesel vehicles is certainly an important one.

    My family are currently looking at which electric car to buy. Thank you to those of you who have put some very useful information on here. My impression is that price will be the main factor putting many people off switching, but obviously this doesn’t figure too highly with our out-of-touch, millionaire MP. Meanwhile, reliable public transport and better provision for pedestrians and cyclists don’t seem to come too high on his agenda either…

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