Elec­tric dreams can come true

Sunday Herald - - EDITORIAL & LETTERS - Ken Wardrop Glas­gow

I READ your ar­ti­cles on elec­tric cars with in­ter­est, hav­ing owned one (a Nis­san Leaf) for al­most a year (Elec­tric dreams? Utopia or dystopia, News, July 30). I think I can of­fer some re­as­sur­ance. Rapid charg­ers take around 45 min­utes to re­turn the car to a 100 per cent charge. They are well dis­trib­uted along the main roads. The range is im­prov­ing all the time. Our car has a range when fully charged of around 120 miles. It has just taken us from Glas­gow to Bet­ty­hill on the north coast for a week’s hol­i­day, and back. We charged in Perth and Aviemore, then in Tain be­fore reach­ing Bet­ty­hill – where we were 12 miles from an­other rapid charger at Melvich.

On the way back we charged at Helms­dale, Ding­wall, Aviemore and Perth. What is con­ve­nient to us (as re­tired peo­ple) won’t be con­ve­nient to all, and some­one trav­el­ling long dis­tances for work wouldn’t be happy to wait 45 min­utes to recharge. But the tech­no­log­i­cal im­prove­ments you re­port will trans­form this, and there is no rea­son why most peo­ple couldn’t be us­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cles in five or 10 years, sub­ject to the Gov­ern­ment en­sur­ing the Na­tional Grid is up to meet­ing the de­mand.

The car’s si­lence is in­deed both a bless­ing and a dan­ger, but the same ap­plies to bi­cy­cles. Elec­tric ve­hi­cles of­fer des­per­ately needed cleaner air but don’t nec­es­sar­ily re­duce road con­ges­tion. Pub­lic trans­port and walk­ing/cy­cling re­main the best op­tions for mov­ing around towns.

Ar­guably the greater threat to the world lies in our un­sus­tain­able use of fos­sil fu­els. I am de­lighted the Gov­ern­ment has sig­nalled at last the di­rec­tion of travel al­though I wish they would show a greater sense of ur­gency. I look for­ward to the Gov­ern­ment play­ing its part too in en­sur­ing Na­tional Grid ca­pac­ity for the growth in elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

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