Electric cars have become the next big thing in Germany, partly in response to the problem of Peak Oil. There’s a huge amount of money going into a new infrastructure, and much investment in advertising about PR about how these are the eco-friendly, low impact future of personal transport.

Like Hydrogen was a few years ago.

Anyway, I came across this web page from a German power company which makes a few interesting statements, such as:

“Did you know that…

…The total CO2 output of an E-car from energy production to using the energy in driving, is 50% better than a normal car, on average?

… E-cars have already reached a range of 150km (Just under 100 miles) and in the near future will soon reach 350km?

And the the jewel in the crown:

… Even if 25 percent of the German car fleet was E-cars, electricity consumption in Germany would only increase by 4%?

That’s a selection fromn this page (In German)

That 4% somehow stuck out. It looks a bit like a “€0.99” price tag, designed to look less than it is, and to reassure us that all is well: it’s business as usual and we only need to get an electric car to join the magical expedition to electrically powered Nirvarna, and don’t look too closely or you may notice that we’re not even taking buses or large goods vehicles into account. And this is only one in four cars, so what will the other three use?

But lets follow the rabbit hole. How much is 4% of German energy usage? Based on this English language report, which uses figures from 2007, German power demand is an average of 122.3 gigawatts. A 4% increase on that is a mere 4.892 gigawatts giving a total demand of just under 127.2 gigawatts if we swap 1 in 4 cars to pure electricity. Great, let’s all go and get an electric car.

Except that on page 27 of the same report, something else crops up. What with phasing out nuclear, shutting down aging power stations, the inevitable delay in building new power stations and a possible shortage of skills and parts to make these power stations come on stream, Germany is going to have a shortfall of 45-50 gigawatts in the next ten years. Add the 4.8 gigawatts for those extra electric cars and…

Not so good then.

So why is our Government pouring billions into keeping this unpleasant, antisocial, and downright dangerous transport form going? Because Germany has too many big powerful car companies to let it die.