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Electric dreams

With the electric car revolution just around the corner, 44’s Bryan Jones discovers how our cleverest people will use it to make our lives happier and healthier…

The year is 2047. Through the miracle of modern medicine, I’m still alive, drawing my state pension (at last) and taking the grandchildren to see Bruce Forsyth host Strictly Come Dancing’s live farewell tour. Bruce has been cryogenically preserved in the BBC’s controversial Golden Oldies programme.

We’re just bemoaning the fact that we won’t see Claudia – who’s too busy starring as milkman and father of five Tevye in a new West End revival of Fiddler on the Roof – but we’re delighted that Len (fresh from his fourth knee replacement) has agreed to return to the judging panel.

We drive past the derelict site of an old petrol station – and I’m asked to explain again if it’s really true that we used to fill cars with a dirty black slime made from fossils, which we’d burn in an engine emitting deadly fumes from an exhaust pipe. Fumes which were not only poisonous to humans, but also polluted the planet?

The little tykes look aghast as I try to justify the long-term use of the internal combustion engine. They giggle and point as we motor smoothly on in our solar-powered electric car.

Does that sound far-fetched? OK, I don’t think Claudia’s really got the vocal range to play Tevye, but that aside?

Electric vehicle revolution

Back here in 2017, we’ve been thinking about the electric vehicle revolution and how it’s impacting on two of our clients – one a giant of the automotive industry, the other in the power distribution sector.

A few years ago, they would’ve seemed strange bedfellows. But as we usher in an age where we’re witnessing the slow death of petrol, and diesel vehicles and the birth of a new electric and battery powered future, it’s clear the two will soon be natural collaborators.

New and innovative methods

The car industry, its retail network and its customers are going to be reliant on a well-planned and managed electric power generation and distribution system. Those in the energy sector will be thinking of new and innovative ways of giving motorists easy access to their products – and how to smooth out the natural peaks and troughs of plug-in car demand.

It will be interesting to see how they work together over the next few years to solve the challenges which the evolution of the electric car will present. There may not be many battery-powered vehicles around at the moment, but within ten years it’s possible we’ll have reached that tipping point where Government environmental policy and consumer desire mean we see a completely different driving landscape.

What will the future look like? What innovations will scientists, designers and entrepreneurs come up with?

Street lamps converted to double up as charging stations for electric cars in urban areas where there’s only on-street parking?

A household system of renewable energy creation through domestic water, wind and solar power generation?

Car batteries being used to feed energy back to the grid at times of peak demand?

Motorways fitted with solar panels that recharge road vehicles via the tarmac as they drive along?

New opportunities

Let’s be optimistic and hope that, rather than being a problem too difficult to solve, the coming of the electric car provides an unprecedented opportunity for the cleverest people in the world to solve one of the major questions I remember being tormented with as I was growing up – ‘What happens when the oil runs out?’.

And let’s hope the answer is that we’ll all be living in a happier, healthier place – even if Claudia isn’t still presenting Strictly.

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