Time to face up to the electric car revolution | Letters

We should beware of myths about electric vehicles, says David Bricknell; but John Richards still worries about the environmental impact of their batteries

Your editorial perpetuates a number of myths about electric vehicles (Car drivers are heading into a future far from their dreams, 7 August). You say “Tesla has just started selling its first electric car aimed squarely at the middle classes”, reinforcing the views recently posted online by fossil fuel lobby groups that EVs are only for the rich while being subsidised by the poorer. The Tesla 3 is directly cost competitive with similar cars with internal combustion engines and cheaper when including running costs, and there is now a growing second-hand market.

You say Tesla sales are “a remarkable figure for a machine with a fairly short range and a very limited number of specialised charging stations”. The Tesla 3 has an EPA rated range of 310 miles – this is not a “fairly short range”.

“Electrical cars would of course pollute far less than fossil fuel-driven ones; instead of oil reserves, the rarest materials for batteries would make undeserving despots and their dynasties fantastically rich,” you say. EV batteries use lithium, graphite, aluminium, and copper and, depending on the battery type, nickel, cobalt and manganese. Lithium may be “mined” in Cornwall in the near future – which “despots” do you have in mind?

“Cars that were as silent as bicycles would still be as dangerous as they are now to anyone they hit without audible warning.” In the UK, the Transport Research Laboratory found no correlation between pedestrian collisions and EVs. Introducing noise-makers on cars would take us back to the red flag (Locomotive Act of 1865) that did so much to stifle the growing car industry.
David Bricknell
(Author of Electric Vehicles and the BMW i3), Acton Turville, Gloucestershire

• Many people seem to be in a state of denial about the coming electric car revolution. Your Terrawatch on the same day as your editorial shows how rare earth minerals may be mined out in 15-20 years. An electric car battery contains 38kg of copper, 11kg of cobalt, and 11kg of nickel. Half a million electric/hybrid cars on UK roads is one thing, 20 million quite another. 500 million worldwide something else. There will be 10 billion people on this planet by 2070, and everybody wants a BMW. People seem to think it will all work out somehow. I am deeply pessimistic about the future of this planet.
John Richards
Oxford

• So 45 million people need to change so that two million or so people who come here for two weeks understand speed limits (Britain, it’s time to let go of your miles, Letters, 3 August)? Then these visitors should not go to the US where gallons, imperial measurement etc are still and will always be used. I thought we were leaving the EU to retain our identity?
Michael Ulliott
Romford

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