Electric car problems on smart motorways – government official ‘absolutely astonished’

Posted: February 23, 2020 by oldbrew in government, Politics, Travel

M42 ‘smart’ motorway [image credit: Snowmanradio @ Wikipedia]

Hansard (the Official Report) is the edited verbatim report of proceedings of both the House of Commons and (in this instance) the House of Lords.

These extracts from a very recent debate highlight serious EV safety issues which seem to have been ignored to date:

Lord Snape:

My Lords, like previous speakers I thank the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, for introducing this debate. It is apparent that smart motorways have few friends—other than perhaps in the Department for Transport.

Those of us who have used them are aware of the dangers and see from time to time the awesome consequences of all four lanes of traffic being in use at exactly the same time.

Baroness Randerson:

Finally, I raise the issue of electric vehicles. 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 de Vere (a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Transport):

I note the comments from the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, about electric vehicles.

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. I assure her that I will now look into it with great gusto, provided I keep my job.

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.

[emphasis added]

  1. Chaswarnertoo says:

    Electric ( coal powered ) cars are for the same stupid people who accept ‘smart’ meters. When do the lynchings start?

  2. cognog2 says:

    What happens when an EV gets immersed in a flood?

  3. stewgreen says:

    Is the Lords premise true ?
    I doubt it cos how would vehicles get a design safety certificate ?
    When an ICE breaks down
    As long as the brakes are off then the non-drive wheels do freewheel
    Likewise for the drive wheels if you can be in neutral gear they will coast.

    For an EV : As long as the brakes are off then the non-drive wheels do freewheel
    What about the drive wheels is there no way they can be in neutral disconnected to the motor so they will coast ?
    Recovery drivers say the drive wheels do stick so slipperyjims must be used under them.

  4. stewgreen says:

    On Twitter EV fanboys are bitter that their religion is being challenged.
    In typical wokemob style they respond by being hatey.
    : eg. “Twisting a story to pander to their troglodyte readership,
    no change there.”

  5. Gamecock says:

    “but the future is electric.”

    Citation needed.

  6. ivan says:

    but the future is electric

    It would be if and only if we dump the unreliable renewables and invest in coal or nuclear power stations.

    We also need the government to repeal the Climate Change Act (2008) and all the green rules and regulations stemming from it.

  7. JB says:

    Not having a coast function in the controller of an electric vehicle is an engineering SNAFU. It requires some arbitration between coasting and regenerative braking, but it can be done.

  8. oldbrew says:

    “Twisting a story to pander to their troglodyte readership, no change there.”

    Bitter and twisted, much? The post consists entirely of a few extracts of ‘the edited verbatim report of proceedings’ of the House of Lords. Edited by Hansard, that is.
    – – –
    Let’s also point out that EVs are mostly useless for towing, as Car Buyer explains: ‘Why can’t many electric cars tow a trailer?’

    Car too heavy due to battery weight, towing can ‘dramatically’ reduce range, etc.

    The RAC says:
    Before any new car is launched, it has to pass through homologation. This is a process of testing that allows the relevant authorities to ensure it meets all the requirements to be registered and driven on the road.

    Manufacturers of most electric cars haven’t sought type approval from the European authorities to declare them fit for towing.
    . . .
    The only battery electric vehicle (BEV) currently on the market that can tow a trailer is the Tesla Model X.
    [bold added]


    Random UK quote for new Model X: £87,190.

  9. George Beacham says:

    Their is no proof that diesel cars and petrol cars damages anything it is a money making scam just so you can put more buses on our road and trains I hope you can justify the amount of job loses in this country

  10. oldbrew says:

    ‘Whatcar’ magazine confirms the House of Lords debate…

    There are additional issues with electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, if they run out of charge or suffer other problems. Patrol staff need extra knowledge of electronics to work on them, and many car makers state that they can’t be towed because it could damage their motors; they need to be lifted up completely if they need transporting. [bold added]


    So it appears the great majority of them can’t, or shouldn’t, tow or be towed. Check the warranty 🤔

  11. Mr Peter Price says:

    Smart motorways are dangerous. Full stop. Get rid of them NOW, Before more lives are lost on them.

  12. Neil Hampshire says:

    Prof Richard Herrington, Head of Earth Sciences at Natural History Museum,
    wrote to the Climate Change Committee.

    To meet the UK electric vehicle targets we would need :-

    • just under TWO TIMES the current total annual WORLD cobalt production
    • three quarters the world’s lithium production
    • the entire world production of neodymium

    Where can we find all these resources?

  13. Curious George says:

    @Neil: Targets should be bold and attractive, just like Soviet-style five-year plans. If there is an unexpected problem, that’s an excellent excuse for not fulfilling the plan.

  14. oldbrew says:

    Baroness de Vere: “that certainly would be a large drawback to the introduction of electric vehicles.”

    Hello? They’re already here 🙄

    The Nissan LEAF has been in production in the UK since 2013 for European markets

  15. oldbrew says:

    Traffic priority for inefficient vehicles – you know it makes [no] sense 🤣


    Buy an expensive BEV and wait longer at the traffic lights. Brilliant!

  16. dennisambler says:

    “What happens when an EV gets immersed in a flood?”

    What happens when charging points are submerged in a flood? Could be quite shocking. Presumably tow trucks will still be diesel….otherwise imagine AA/RAC etc cruising around all day, sorry can’t come to you for an hour, I’m re-charging.

  17. TomO says:


    I’ve seen an immobile Tesla Model S defeat a workshop full of accredited technicians who had to gingerly deploy a fork lift 🙂

  18. Gamecock says:

    Arrange usual reception, please.


  19. oldbrew says:

    Green Car Reports says:
    Has your electric car stopped working? Flatbed it, don’t tow it


  20. phil salmon says:

    Is there a website or other resource that shows where all the “smart motorway” death traps are located? It would be good (for one’s life expectancy) to plan travel avoiding them completely. Hopefully this could be a preference setting on satnav systems.

    The genius who dreamed up “smart motorways” is up there with the chemical firm that developed zuklon crystals in Europe in the early 1940’s.

  21. oldbrew says:

    Smart motorways map


    Mainly on routes to/from/around London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds (M1,M6,M25,M42,M60,M62) – plus some other bits.

  22. Gamecock says:

    My internet can’t find “zuklon.”

    “chemical firm that developed zuklon crystals in Europe in the early 1940’s.”

    There was a Zyklon B developed in the early 1920s, but you couldn’t possibly mash that up so badly.

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