This year’s Geneva show will be particularly interesting because the long-promised electric car revolution has finally arrived. The Nissan Leaf has been on the market for 12 months, but Renault’s fleet of electric vehicles (the Fluence saloon, Kangoo van, Zoe supermini and Twizy trike) are now flowing into the showroom. GM’s Chevy Volt and Vauxhall Ampera sisters are also just about to touchdown in Europe.

And cementing the arrival of the Electric Era is the big surprise news that the Ampera has stolen the European Car of The Year title. Last year’s winner was the Nissan Leaf.

And, judging by today’s headlines, these vehicles have arrived just at the right time. Oil prices have been steadily rising since last autumn and the price of a gallon of diesel is at a record high.

Likewise, in the US, the price of a gallon of petrol is getting close to $4, what the Financial Times says is the ‘traditional panic threshold’ for US drivers. Another 20 per cent rise in the oil price, notes the FT, and we are back at the $150 per barrel level that general spells serious trouble for economic growth.