By Paul Homewood
The law of unintended consequences and all that!
The potential hazards caused by electric cars on British roads are being urgently reviewed by the Government over concerns that the vehicles stop suddenly when they break down and that many cannot be towed.
Baroness Vere, a transport minister, said she was "astonished" to discover that electric vehicles tend to "stop very suddenly" when they cease to function, rather than coasting like conventional cars, and that they can take longer to be removed from motorways.
The Department for Transport is examining "short-term measures" to ensure electric cars can be removed from roads quickly when they break down, the peer revealed.
Baroness Vere disclosed details of the review during a House of Lords debate on smart motorways, which use hard shoulders as live lanes. The Sunday Telegraph has exposed serious safety concerns about the roads.
Speaking in the debate, Baroness Randerson, a Liberal Democrat transport spokesman said: "When an electric vehicle ceases to function, it stops; it does not coast in the way that other vehicles do.
"Smart motorways are supposed to be the future, but the future is electric. Those vehicles stop very suddenly. They also cannot be towed; they have to be put on a low-loader, which is a much more complex and longer process that will put rescue teams in greater danger.
"So can we have special consideration for how these new motorway layouts will operate when there are lots of electric vehicles on the road?"
Baroness Vere responded: "When I first heard this, I was absolutely astonished. Quite frankly, this is applicable not just to smart motorways but to every single road.
"We will need to be able to move electric vehicles, wherever they happen to stop or end their days … Work is under way to look at short-term measures to make sure we can get electric vehicles off to places of safety as quickly as possible, on whichever road, because that certainly would be a large drawback to the introduction of electric vehicles," she added in the debate, on Feb 13.
The concerns raised by Baroness Randerson echo a warning issued by the AA last month that the rise of electric vehicles could be incompatible with smart motorways, "due to the lack of emergency refuge areas."
Edmund King, the AA president, said: "You can’t flat tow some electric vehicles more than 800 metres, some you can’t flat tow at all. So the problem is they will take longer to get off the motorways."
The Department for Transport said it will issue an update on the review "in due course".
via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
February 23, 2020 at 05:33AM