Henry Ford once famously didn't say “you can have any colour you want as long as it's Electric...” The British government is pursuing this direction of travel and they are not for turning. We are in the middle of the biggest revolution in motoring since Henry's first Model T Ford rolled off the production line back in 1908 and it’s an electric one. But, can electric vehicles and electric travel ever be glamorous?
I thought Spain would be a good place to start my research for many reasons but mostly because it was sunny there. Sipping cocktails at the Marbella Club, a hotel exuding old world glamour and decadence, I noticed a couple of older Bentleys and a very attractive Mercedes SL500 V8 all of which fitted perfectly with the resort’s glamorous vibe. Electric cars however, were conspicuous by their absence. Maybe the Costa del Sol hadn’t seen the European memo outlining the new regulations to be enforced on all new vehicles from 2035. By this date all tailpipe CO2 emissions will need to be zero.
It appears that most of the big car manufacturers know where their future lies: Jaguar will sell only electric cars from 2025, Volvo from 2030. Ford say that all vehicles sold in Europe will be electric by 2030 and VW state that 70% of its sales will be electric by the same year. General Motors will only make electric vehicles by 2035 and even the British sports car company Lotus, loved by petrol heads globally, have stated every model will be electric by the late 2020s.
I'm sure electric motoring can and will be super glamorous in all its future incarnations. Indeed, some of the new luxury brand electric cars are stunning both in terms of looks and performance. The Pininfarina Battista electric car made by Automobili Pininfarina is simply beautiful and violently fast but at nearly two million big ones to buy, it needs to be.
But is there actually a future for the car, electric or otherwise? I’ve always loved cars and what they represent. My daughter is more worried about climate change and the other big issues facing her planet. She neither knows nor cares how a vehicle works as long as it can get her to where she needs to be as cheaply as possible.
As Generation X and the Baby Boomers (weren’t they a band from the 70s) ‘disappear’, the kids who have grown up with tech will adapt easily to this new era of electric autonomous travel. Their children will probably be living on the moon by then, being driven around by cheese powered robot cars.
Glamorous? I’m not so sure.