Petrol stations could die out in the near future as motorists will be able to generate all the power they need for their vehicles from solar panels on their homes, according to claims by a scientist reported by The Telegraph.

Keith Barnham, emeritus professor of physics at Imperial College, said he and his colleagues were already producing solar panels that were three times as efficient as current models.

Speaking at the Hay Festival, he said: “Could we have an electric car powered entirely by sunlight? Yes we could.

“A typical (solar panel) system will generate enough electricity for typical mileage in a year.

“Free fuel for life from your rooftop. Even the most fervent opponents of electric cars like Jeremy Clarkson couldn’t argue with that.

“We need to spread the word that we have got the technology already. We just need to use it.”