Electric cars are pollution shifters: we will need huge investment in generation capacity | Letters

Household vehicle charging will be the equivalent of running an electric shower for hours on end, argues Colin Read

There seems to be little understanding of the simple fact that electric vehicles (EV) are, in the main, pollution shifters – from tailpipe to power generation facility (Ban from 2040 on diesel and petrol car sales, 26 July). The electricity generation and transmission system is already tested to its limits during a harsh winter. Only if objections disappeared to the mass building of thousands of the largest wind turbines, plus similar numbers of hectares of photovoltaic solar generation, could the pollution shifters’ argument be refuted. Even then, there would still be need for conventional or nuclear generation for when the sun doesn’t shine and wind doesn’t blow – doubling the capital requirement.

Then there is the transmission system. Its capacity is based on “averaging”. It assumes that not everyone will be using the full load available to their house at the same time. Each EV charging station takes minimum 3.3kW for around 12 hours – or 7.2kW for fast charging. It would be the equivalent of every house having an electric shower in service for many hours, all at the same time. The distribution system is simply not designed to cope with these simultaneous loads. If the government is serious about no new hydrocarbon-fuelled cars after 2040, we would need to start a programme of upgrades or replacement to the entire electricity distribution system.

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