I noticed on a recent trip ‘up the hill’. In the car park at the biblioteca there are a number of electric Car charging points. Gran Alacant has moved into the 21st Century

I don’t know about you, but I like the sound of a noisy V6 or V8 roaring down the street. But of course we are being told how evil they all are. In fact Petrol and diesel is singularly responsible for every ill Man has suffered since we stood upright.

Times change, of course they always do. Every advert for cars now is an advert for a hybrid or fully electric vehicle.

Jaguar go fully electric by 2025, the complete ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles in the UK by 2030. But honestly will they, and indeed do they work?

Now I’m a naturally suspicious individual. Particularly when business is trying to sell me some world saving item.

My first problem is how reliable are electric cars? 

I know when I buy a car they come with government fuel consumption figures but I also know that unless I’m free wheeling it with the wind behind me, I’m rarely if ever going to achieve them. But I know in my World destroying petrol car I can refuel just about anywhere and takes about 5 minutes. If I suddenly see the fuel low light I need not panic there will be a petrol station around the corner.

Now if that same thing happened in my all-electric car on the way to wherever, panic will truly set in. My 400KM range is suddenly 250km and I’m in the middle of the campo, where electricity is used to power an occasional light bulb not 21st century tech. 

If I am lucky enough to find a charging point ill also need a bed and breakfast!

Are electric cars cheaper to run? 

They are definitely more expensive to buy. At the moment you cannot argue that to fill up on electricity is a lot cheaper than filling up on Petrol or Diesel. But will that always be true?

No chance! Currently 57.95p of every litre sold is the flat rate fuel duty. Add to that 20% VAT and another 20% on the total fuel price (yes VAT added twice) means the government stand to lose billions if we move away from these fossil fuels. So either we will be charged a significant cost for the electricity, or more likely in my opinion, road charging will be universally introduced. So don’t make cost the sole reason for your purchase.

Ecologically sound then? 

Well currently most batteries are made in China (surprise) and Japan and of course the electricity they use is not made by fairies, so somewhere CO2 is being pumped into the atmosphere to produce the electricity for your car. 

The batteries are made of rare earth elements like lithium nickel and cobalt and all need mining.

99% of the batteries running your petrol car are recycled. Whereas in lithium ion batteries only 5% of the lithium is being collected with the remainder either burnt or heading for landfill.

So my conclusion? 

We are being sold to very aggressively. Companies marketing departments are huge. They don’t care about the environment; they care about sales and money. I personally will not touch an electric car until I can be certain of refuelling stations as commonplace as petrol stations. And that the time needed to fully refuel is within 15 minutes, and that the electricity is truly green.

So if you want to save the planet consider the following given that making new cars either traditional or electric is producing waste:

1. More than 70% of all land rovers ever made are still on the road. 

2. Back in 2017 Porsche produced it 1 millionth 911. At that time 700,000 were still on the road.

This months “Reasons to be cheerful part 3” (Courtesy Ian Dury and the Blockheads!)

Any UK visitor (still everything crossed) can now potentially reclaim the VAT ( IVA here) on the goods you buy. A visitor is defined as someone who permanently lives outside the EU. Your passport is sufficient proof.

You have to initially pay the full price. You will get the refund when you have complied with the formalities and can show proof of export. 

How do I go about this?

• When you are in the shop, ask the shop assistant in advance whether they provide this service.

• Ask the shop assistant what threshold applies to the purchase in order to be eligible for a refund.

• At the check-out, the shop assistant will ask you to provide proof that you are a visitor to the EU. You will need to show your passport or other identity document proving your residence outside the EU.

• The shop assistant will ask you to fill in a form with the necessary details. You may be asked to show your ticket as proof you are leaving the EU within the required time. The shop assistant will fill in the shop’s part of the form.

• Make sure you understand exactly what you need to do and how you receive the refund. In some cases, the shop itself will refund you. In other cases, the shop will use a third party to organise the refunds on its behalf.

• Make sure you understand whether the shop takes an administrative fee for this service (which will be later deducted from the refunded amount) and if so what is the fee.

• You will receive an invoice for the goods. You must show the invoice, the refund form, the goods and any other necessary documents to the customs officers of the last EU country you leave. The customs officers must stamp the form as proof of export. Without the stamp, you will not obtain the refund.

• You must then follow the steps explained at your refund document or by the shop assistant. You can claim your VAT refund in bigger airports immediately, otherwise you will have to send the refund form to the address given in the shop.

Be aware there is generally a minimum purchase of 175 euros. So next time you buy a suit or a designer jacket, maybe get it from Corte ingles and take it home.