WHO can you complain to if your new car doesn’t live up to expectations?

For most people the answer would be the car dealership, the manufacturer, or if they fob you off then you might take it up with the ombudsman.

Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman has gone a step further and taken concerns about her Sunderland-built electric car to Parliament. “Systematic mis-selling” is the charge she laid before them. Charging is the crux of her argument.

The most common reason why people don’t buy electric cars is what is known as "range anxiety" - fears that a fully charged battery-powered vehicle cannot take you as far as one with a full tank of petrol, and that there are fewer charging points than filling stations, and concerns that manufacturers overstate the distance electric cars can go between charges. 

It is unorthodox for an MP to use the House of Commons as a forum to complain about their new motor but Ms Goodman has raised an important issue about whether we can trust all carmakers and dealers. 

Nissan exerts a powerful influence across the North-East and to hear a local MP publicly challenge them is a rare thing indeed, but no business should be above scrutiny, not even the region’s biggest private employer. 

Manufacturers say factors such as the speed you drive and whether you have the heater on full blast will influence how quickly all cars run out of juice. This is true but in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal it is important for motorists to know that cars live up to the impressive figures quoted in the sales pitch. They cannot take our trust in them for granted.