OK – I must admit that I have no special psychic abilities and it’s possible that if old Winston was alive today, he may like some aspects of electric vehicles.
After all, they are fast, quiet and don’t give off smelly gasses out of the tailpipe.
In fact, they don’t have a tailpipe, which is a big plus when it comes to maintenance.
They also don’t have engine oil or filters.
Neither do they have air filters, fuel filters, radiators, cam belts or any of those other disposable items which add to the maintenance bills for a petrol or diesel engine car or truck.
Of course, the batteries will wear out eventually but how that stacks up against the servicing costs of a petrol or diesel motor, particularly a high end vehicle like a BMW or Mercedes is not yet clear.
There is, however, one thing that would have put Churchill off a modern electric car, and it’s not the lack of an ashtray.
When he was in charge of the British Admiralty, Churchill made a decision which revolutionised the British Navy.
He converted the entire British Navy fleet to run on oil instead of coal.
This was no small undertaking because at that time, coal was plentiful in the UK and its empire, whilst supplies of oil were not.
Despite this, oil had a couple of major advantages over coal.
Firstly, it is a very dense fuel, meaning you only needed about half the amount of it for the same cruising distance.
Secondly, and far more crucially, you don’t need a shovel to move oil around. Fuel oil can be transported quickly through a pipe using either gravity or a pump.
This meant that refuelling was quick and easy and most importantly, it could be done at sea.
Warships tend to be at their most vulnerable coming in and out of harbour, so not needing to come in to refuel revolutionised the capabilities of the British Navy.
Fast forward to 2023 and electric vehicles have exactly the same problems as the old coal powered warships.
Firstly, batteries are far less ‘energy dense’ than fuel oils like petrol and diesel. This means that EVs need to cart a massively heavy battery around with them.
Secondly, slow refuelling time is a handicap that is unlikely to be fixed anytime soon.
In fact, I think a modern EV charging station would make a portside coal loader look like a formula one pitstop.
Whilst a petrol or diesel engined vehicle can nip into the gas station, fill up and be on its way in less than five minutes, an electric vehicle takes forever.
For people who own their own home and never do long trips, this isn’t an issue.
Unfortunately, if you live in a flat and need to do long journeys, it is a huge disadvantage.
If, like me, you get impatient queueing at the gas station waiting for people to fill up with petrol, then probably don’t buy a Tesla.
And, while we are on the subject of ships and shipping, there is another issue. Many, if not most cars these days are manufactured in one country and then sold in another.
In many cases, they are transported to their new destination by ship.
For years, this hasn’t been an issue because petrol and diesel cars are not prone to spontaneously combust.
Just a few days ago, however, a giant car carrying ship with 3,000 petrol and diesel cars on board as well as 25 electric cars just burst into flames.
One crew member was killed, and several others have been injured. The authorities are trying to prevent the ship from sinking as this would be an environmental, as well as a financial, disaster.
We don’t know yet for sure, but if I were a gambling man, I’d be betting on the fire not starting in one of the 3000 internal combustion engine powered vehicles on board.
I’m no mathematical genius but if our elites continue the push to embrace these “environmentally friendly” electric cars and ships are carrying 3000 of them at a time, instead of just 25, I think the odds of this happening more often will increase.
It would be strangely ironic if Lloyds of London, the famous ship insurers, were the ones to ring the bell on this technology.
Wise old Winston is probably looking down on us with a wry smile and a glint in his eye which says, “I told you so.”