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Are Electric Cars the Future?

06 March 2012

A forthcoming public lecture at Cardiff University will discuss whether electric cars are the future of sustainable motoring to celebrate National Science and Engineering Week.

The lecture, delivered by leading automotive academic Dr Paul Nieuwenhuis, will consider the societal, environmental and business implications of all cars being electric in the future.

The lecture will address some of the limitations associated with this scenario, such as the need for increased electricity supply to charge the vehicles and how to overcome so called ‘range anxiety’ – the fear that a vehicle has insufficient range (or charge) to reach its destination.

As well as these limitations, the lecture will discuss whether it’s possible for the current economic model of buying a new car to be radically transformed because electric vehicles are more expensive to buy but are cheaper to run in the long-term.

Dr Nieuwenhuis said: "The technology of cars has taken a natural path over the last one hundred years from mechanical to electrical. We therefore need to consider whether it’s inevitable that all cars will be electric in the future, and if so, how to overcome some of the issues this situation presents."

The lecture is hosted by the ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) and supported by ENEVATE as part of National Science & Engineering Week which is coordinated by the British Science Association.

Dr Nieuwenhuis is an Associate Member of BRASS, lecturer at Cardiff Business School and Co-director of the Centre for Automotive Industry Research (CAIR). His research interests are in sustainable personal mobility and automobility relating to sustainable production and consumption of cars, industrial ecology, alternative fuels and localisation. He has also developed the concept of Micro Factory Retailing with Dr Peter Wells, a fellow BRASS Associate Member, which is one of the flagship research projects within BRASS.

The lecture will take place at 5.30pm on Tuesday 13th March in the Small Chemistry Lecture Theatre, Main Building, Cardiff University. There will be a drinks reception before the lecture in the VJ Gallery at 5pm.

For more information and to register your attendance please email

Notes to Editors

  1. The Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) is an ESRC funded interdisciplinary research centre based at Cardiff University combining expertise from the Business School, the Law School and the School of City and Regional Planning. The centre pursues high quality, interdisciplinary social science research and engagement with research users to create knowledge and tools that will promote more sustainable stakeholder relationships amongst and within businesses, society and the environment.
  2. National Science & Engineering Week (NSEW) is a ten-day programme of science, engineering and technology events and activities across the UK aimed at people of all ages. In 2012 it will run from 9–18 March and the theme will be 'Our World in Motion'. National Science & Engineering Week is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and led by the British Science Association. The programme also works in partnership with EngineeringUK. For more information, please visit
  3. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s total budget for 2011/12 is £203 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes. More at

Further information

Catrin Palfrey

Communications Officer


T: 02920 870026 or BRASS: 02920 876562