I am trying, in between rehearsals and make up and struggling to remember my lines, to polish up my arguments regarding the future or autonomous transportation, cars, electric cars, battery cars, hydrogen, peak oil, CO2, SOX and NOX, traffic jams and all the bonkers arguments associated with these topics.
Next month I am taking part in a debate in the hallowed halls of the Oxford Union. This training ground for the future political elite can be quite intimidating; it is laid out in exactly the same way as the houses of Parliament. Two rows of opposing benches with a big table in the middle and a raised chair for the chairperson.
I’ve taken part in these events previously, but only ever the end of term ‘comedy’ debates. Great fun and not in the least serious.
The one I’m doing next month, organised by the Oxford University Engineering Society and is titled, "This House Believes That Electric Cars are the Future of Transport"
I will be arguing for the motion obviously, alongside my good friend Nick Carpenter from Delta Motorsports who actually builds ground breaking electric sports cars, alongside Prof Nigel Brandon from Imperial College and Dr Mike Richardson from Jaguar Land Rover, neither of whom I have met.
We are faced with a formidable crew of academics; Dr Richard Pearson from Lotus, Prof. Peter Dobson, big pro-diesel chap, Prof Richard Stone, Professor of Engineering at Oxford and Prof. Nick Collings from Cambridge.
The opposition are all big internal combustion specialists, I think I’ve met Prof Richard Stone before, they all look like lovely chaps and I’m sure this debate will be fascinating.
I kind of wish I could just watch it and not take part, there’s no point denying it, I feel out of my depth. I was expelled from school aged 16 (just) and missed out on a huge lump of specialized education. As many kind tweeters have said, I have experience on my side and I accept that. Other than Nick Carpenter I will be the only person debating who’s driven electric cars 10’s of thousands of miles (and never run out of juice) but that said, it’s still a fairly daunting prospect.
I am hoping my passion for the subject, and the simple truth that the fuels we use now with such carefree abandon are going to become prohibitively expensive, even in my lifetime means that we have to do something rather rapidly.