Electric vehicles are not perfect but they’re a lot better than the cars that they will replace - Yorkshire Post Letters
Richard Watson (Letters, August 22) suggests that it is better to run an old diesel car rather than scrap it. Unfortunately he underestimates how polluting his 21-year-old VW Passat is.
The car journal Auto Express calculates that only 10 per cent of a car’s CO2 emissions over its lifetime come from its manufacture, 5 per cent from disposal and 85 per cent from burning fuel.
Looking at car-emissions.com, the emissions from a 2002 VW Passat Diesel average 224g/km and Mr Watson’s mileage averages out at 16,190 miles or 25,904 km per year. That’s 5.8 tonnes of CO2 emitted each year, greater than the 5.6 tonnes of CO2 released during a petrol or diesel car’s manufacture on average.
If you replace a petrol or diesel car with an EV, it will recover its manufacturing emissions and those of the battery and the mining of components in 16,000 miles. Maybe the best option for drivers of old diesel cars (if they can afford it), is to replace it with an at least two-year-old, second-hand EV.
It’s worth remembering that CO2 emissions are not the full picture as there’s also the serious harms to human health of the particulates, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants that vehicles emit.
For air quality alone, we should give up the internal combustion engine, now that we have a cleaner alternative in electric vehicles (EV) that will improve health and save lives. EVs are not perfect but they’re a lot better than the cars that they will replace.
Or better still we could invest in improved public transport and cycling infrastructure to reduce our dependence on the car.