Electric and Hybrid Electric Cars

Part of Olympic Games: Doping – in Westminster Hall at 4:56 pm on 6th July 2016.

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Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow Conservative, Taunton Deane 4:56 pm, 6th July 2016

I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising that matter because I was about to move on to it. It is such an important point and other people have already referred to it. In Taunton Deane, for example, I was involved in the launch of the first ever charging point. That was in 2012 and it was at Hestercombe Gardens, which is now an internationally famous landscape and gardening site. The person launching that charging point was Michael Eavis himself, from Glastonbury, and he was driving the very first all-electric car; he was trialling it.

Although that was a great start, there is a dearth of charging points in my constituency. There are some at the park-and-rides and I think there is one at an electric bike shop, but sadly that is it. How can we expect people to buy these cars if they are uncertain about whether they can get from A to B? For example, on Friday, I am venturing to Dorset to talk about ancient trees, but how can I set off in an electric car if I do not know whether I will get back or not because I cannot charge it up on the way? In these rural areas, there are no charging points.

This is a really big issue, but I am delighted that my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton and Honiton has raised it today. As a result of my raising it with the leader of my council, he has realised that it is a big issue and he is now feeding it into the new district centre plans and future transport strategy to ensure that the council addresses the issue, because it is really important.

I will end with a few upbeat facts about electric and hybrid cars. I went to the test of the car in New Palace Yard the other day and it was absolutely fascinating. I thought the car was quite trendy and state-of-the-art. I could see myself in it; it was rather lovely.

A lot of these models are well-built and designed to last; they are not throwaway culture, like a lot of our other cars. They are all about miles, so they have less impact on the environment, consideration of which I am particularly keen to encourage. Many of the models are designed to be built locally, so we could have them built in our own constituencies. They are not exactly kit cars, but we could bring back the industry and make it local. In our brave new post-EU world, perhaps we will have to think about that, rather than being quite so tied to the German car industry. There could be great mileage in that idea.