Electric vehicles and the environment

 

Sir, – In his letter of October 18th, Fergal Dalton advises, “Don’t go electric if you drive long distances.”

I certainly concur. Having driven to Letterkenny from Cootehill, I had great difficulty finding a charging point that actually worked.

Electric cars are great but we still have not got an adequate network of facilities for them. – Yours, etc,

ROBERT A SHARPE,

Cootehill,

Co Cavan.

Sir, – Chris Cummins (Letters, October 19th) asserts that the contribution of renewables to electricity consumption has not dropped below 25 per cent in the past six years. According to figures from the SEAI, the contribution of renewables from April through August this year (2021) averaged at 24 per cent, declining to just 12 per cent in July.

Wind, our primary source of renewable energy, is highly variable. Recent figures are below the rates achieved in previous years and no doubt the associated contribution of renewable energy will increase over the winter months to raise the annual average.

Nevertheless it is clear that we are still some way short of achieving the stable and sustained 25 per cent to 30 per cent that would make electric cars more beneficial than their petrol twins all year round.

More challenging still, for a large electric vehicle, like Donal Skehan’s Land Rover Discovery Sport Plug-in-Hybrid (2093kg) to consume less fossil fuel energy than a light petrol car, such as a Toyota Aygo (840kg), a far greater contribution of renewables – in the order of 60 per cent – would be required.

The key lesson is that environmentally conscious consumers should opt for small, light vehicles (preferably electric) to maximise sustainability. Smaller vehicles are also capable of making more efficient use of available road and parking capacity.

Motor taxation rates, a key incentive for change, have never taken account of vehicle size or weight in Ireland, as they have in countries such as Japan. Perhaps this is something to be considered? – Yours, etc,

JOHN THOMPSON,

Phibsboro,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – Never mind the environmental merits of electric over petrol powered SUVs. In the suburbs of Dublin it is still mostly a matter of 3,000kg of steel being needed to move 60kg of entitlement. – Yours, etc,

RODNEY DEVITT,

Sandymount,

Dublin 4.