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Electric cars and the environment

Sir – I totally agree with Paddy Johnson (letters, June 9th). Electric cars are not environmentally friendly.

We have to assume that the electricity to charge these cars comes from the least efficient form of generation, which is the largest emitter of CO2, in the case of Ireland’s fossil fuel burning power plants.

We cannot assume that the charging will come from renewable sources.

The logic here is that if the load to charge cars weren’t there, the power generation from the least efficient station would be drained first.

Let’s get to some numbers. For a single-stroke power plant (taking into account all losses from the combustion of the fuel, through generation, transmission, charging the battery and discharging to drive the car), the overall efficiency is about 25 percent (i.e. the net useful energy is about 25 percent of the input).

For comparison: a diesel car has an overall efficiency of around 40 percent and a gasoline engine of around 30 percent. The net effect is therefore that driving an electric car releases a greater amount of carbon dioxide than a gasoline or diesel car.

This approval takes place in the power plant and not where the car is used.

As long as we do not completely abolish electricity generation from fossil fuels and rely solely on renewable energies, electric cars cannot be considered environmentally friendly. – yours, etc.

BRENDAN MURPHY,

Sandy bay,

Co Dublin.

Sir – Paddy Johnson (Letters June 9) states that in relation to driving an all-electric car, “it is possible that the overall emissions reduction will be minimal”. This is true, but it doesn’t have to be. As with any new technology, we need to take the time to learn how to use it effectively.

I’ve been driving an electric car for six years. The majority of my journeys are less than 50 kilometers. I have a home charger and I rarely need a charger for the road. By charging my car at night, it is charged with wind energy, which is totally sustainable. The use of solar panels is encouraged. Now that I have added a lot to my roof, I can now, at least in summer, charge with solar energy during the day.

Adapting to this technology means changing the way we think about things and do things. One change we need to make is to allow more time. When we go slower, our cars keep going. A trip that took four hours can now take five, including the time to recharge.

The end result is safer, cleaner travel, a benefit that is certainly worth a little more of your time. – yours etc.

JUSTIN KILCULLEN,

Shankill,

Dublin 18.

Sir – Paddy Johnson (Letters, June 9) recently hypothesized several times to cast doubt on the carbon efficiency of electric cars compared to gasoline and diesel.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland states that an electric vehicle in Ireland emits 60g CO2 per kilometer driven, based on the average network emissions in 2019. In comparison, an equivalent gasoline vehicle emits 130g CO2 per kilometer.

The net reduction in emissions to overcome the extra carbon intensity in making batteries is within two years of driving (data for a Nissan Leaf on the UK grid). In addition, the CO2 emissions from electric vehicles will only decrease in the next ten years if the share of renewable energies in the grid increases.

Electric vehicles are not carbon-free, but they are far less carbon-intensive. Not to mention that gasoline cars emit nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and particulates, are noisy, are less safe, have terrible acceleration, etc.

B. in the disposal of electric car batteries. Like any valuable resource, it can and will be recycled. Renault does it. – yours etc.

NICK SCROXTON,

Black rock,

County Dublin

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