The Prime Minister’s climate spokesman was yesterday accused of backing myths that electric cars have a short range.
Allegra Stratton said she did not want to switch her ageing VW Golf diesel with an electric car yet because she needed a vehicle she could use ‘without having to make lengthy stops to recharge the battery’.
The former BBC Newsnight political editor, who is paid up to £129,000 a year as a special adviser, said: ‘I don’t fancy [an electric car] just yet.’
But critics said she was stoking misplaced ‘range anxiety’ as electric cars can commonly go for 200 miles without a recharge.
Miss Stratton, 41, who lives in London with her family, told Times Radio she might opt for an electric car if ‘the stop times for recharging improve so much that it’s half an hour’.
AA president Edmund King told The Times too many views on electric cars are ‘myth, based on hype and unwarranted range anxiety’.
He said it took just 20 minutes of rapid charge to lift electric levels from a quarter to 80 per cent.
Going electric is a key part of the Government’s climate strategy. No new petrol and diesel cars will be allowed to go on sale by 2030.
Mr King told the Times: ‘Unfortunately too many views on EVs are myth, based on hype and unwarranted range anxiety.
‘Even on a rare journey of over 200 miles the driver should stop to take a break anyway for road safety reasons, so why not combine it with a rapid charge that takes just 20 minutes to go from a quarter charge to over 80 per cent?’
Miss Stratton, 41, said her son is keen for her to go electric, but added: ‘Right now, if I had one, any of those journeys to my dad in south Scotland, my mum in Gloucestershire, my in-laws in the Lake District and my gran in north Wales, they’re all journeys that I think would be at least one quite long stop to charge.
‘And my kids are seven and four and I don’t fancy it just yet.’
She added: ‘Sometimes when you’ve got a four-year-old in the car, they’re asleep and you just want to keep going to get there because you know, if they wake up they’ll want the loo, they’ll want food, they might be feeling carsick and so on.’
She said she might opt for an electric car if ‘the stop times for recharging improve so much that it’s half an hour’.
Miss Stratton defended her dishwasher comment yesterday, suggesting it had been taken out of context and had always been a ‘microstep’ which on its own would not stop climate change.
She said: ‘If you want to halt climate change the heavy lifting, the real action, is Cop26.
‘We need real action at Cop26 on cash, coal, cars and trees, to be able to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees [celsius above pre-industrial levels].’
Going electric is a key part of the government’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2050.
No new petrol and diesel cars will be allowed to go on sale by 2030.
Members of the cabinet who have gone electric include Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who drives a Tesla 3 roadster.