Our solar panels occupy only a third of our roof area. Even so, on a summer day they produce about the same power our Volkswagen electric car draws as it charges from a plug in the garage.
So, to the extent that we top up during the day, we are literally driving on sunshine: nil use of resources, nil pollution, and, in the context of your article (Battery cars may eat up more than Hinkley Point’s capacity by 2030, 13 July), nil load on national power generation infrastructure. Going for a drive in serene, effortless near-silence, knowing that it hasn’t cost anybody anything, is quite simply wonderful.
The rapid increase in the number of distributed solar power installations is producing an unmanageable peak on sunny days. But our experience illustrates that there is an excellent match between renewable energy and electric vehicles. Electric cars are big batteries on wheels, storing far more power than they need for journeys. They could be made to play a dynamic part in balancing the uneven generation inherent in many forms of renewable energy.
James and Lesley Willis
• Zoe Williams suggests (Is a car maker about to save the planet? 10 July) that “the goal has to be an electric car powered by renewable energy”. A seemingly admirable aim but one that implies that the only problem is atmospheric pollution. Unfortunately, the motor car also encourages sprawl, making our cities less compact and sustainable and resulting in healthy travel alternatives (walking, cycling, public transport) becoming more difficult. It divides communities, both by splitting them with transport corridors and by isolating users in their car bubbles. It maims and kills, which may become more of an issue, as electric cars are quieter. It requires road space that is increasingly not available, causing issues from congestion and excessive travel time to access and pavement parking. And, given that a high percentage of pollution in the life-cycle of a car is in its production, how much is actually avoided?
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