With the axe being taken to the country’s spending, it’s no surprise that the coalition government is reversing on the promises of its predecessor to underpin the electric car industry with grants and tax breaks.

The huge investment in electric tech has been spurred by the great CO2 panic. And electric cars don’t emit CO2, do they? Well, not locally. But that’s not strictly relevant because CO2 is not locally harmful.

Research carried out by BMW and the Technical University of Munich suggests that where in Europe you recharge your electric car makes a huge difference to its overall CO2 emissions, depending on how the electricity is generated.

Recharge in hydroelectric-intensive Norway and the CO2 emitted when fully charging a battery is nearly zero. Charge up in nuclear power-friendly France and the CO2 is between 35 and 50g/km; charge via a coal-fired power station and the CO2 equivalent is around 130g/km.

Across Europe, the average CO2 emitted when recharging an electric car was calculated to be between 90 and 130g/km.

So why bother, when you can buy a car today that easily beats those figures?

Advocates of electric vehicles say they expect the rising price of oil over the next decade to start to balance out the purchase and running costs of electric and fossil fuel-powered cars.

But who is going to pay a premium for an electric car with a short range? And how long will governments continue to subsidise the production and purchase of electric cars?

The even more stringent fuel economy regulations currently being written into EU law could, ultimately, undermine the whole electric car adventure.