Andy Sharman:

Fear of running out of battery has not held back the smartphone market. But it has crippled electric cars.

Now, however, some carmakers are increasingly confident that their electric vehicles are close to overcoming the dreaded “range anxiety”.

“Batteries are moving forward very, very quickly,” says Vincent Carré, electric car sales and marketing director for Renault, whose electric models include the Zoe compact vehicle, which has a range of about 120 miles.

“All of what you call range anxiety . . . is already behind us because we know that within a few years we will double the range of the cars, and after [that] we will again add 30 or 40 per cent [more range] before 2020.”

This implies an average Renault range of more 200 miles — the point at which it is generally accepted that electric vehicles become a viable mass market proposition.