The environment and electric cars


Sir, – With reference to your motoring article “For low-emissions driving the fully-electric car is the gold standard” (Motoring, June 5th), driving a fully electric car may reduce pollution in the local area, but it is possible that the overall emissions reduction will be minimal.

The power used to charge the electric car may, for example, be produced by a gas turbine generator burning gas or diesel (efficiency 25 per cent approximately), or gas turbine generator with a heat-recovery system (efficiency 50 per cent approximately). Although small, there will be electrical losses in the transmission of that power from the power station to the battery (transmission lines, transformers, switchgear, charger, batteries, etc).

In order to produce identical performance in an electric vehicle, more power will be required by the vehicle due to the weight of batteries carried on board, increasing pollution in generation.

The load carrying capacity of electric vehicles is reduced due to the batteries.

If all power generated on the grid was by steam turbine, nuclear, solar, wind generators, there could be an emissions reduction.

But a turbocharged diesel engine (efficiency 40 per cent approximately), connected directly to the vehicle’s transmission, might not be as comparably inefficient and high emission as people think.

Then there is the pollution problem of electric vehicles – the disposal of used batteries. – Yours, etc,



Co Clare.