Very glad to see Sam Wollaston’s article (Leading the charge! Can I make it from Land’s End to John o’Groats in an electric car?, 28 July). For too long I have been pressing my MP to press the Department for Transport to press whatever parts of this disorganised government to have a sensible strategy for electric vehicle (EV) energy delivery. An EV transport system has to be a complete cycle, including battery, car, auto-routing navigation and charge infrastructure. That is what Tesla has built, and it works. For the rest of us, it is huge range anxiety.

The Tories believe that the market will provide, and they chuck out millions to make it happen. Result? A scattergun of charging points with no sensible organisation, put together by tens of often incompatible networks.

We need to always be within 30 miles of a charge point. Such organisation is completely missing from the DfT today. To cover all our roads with rapid chargers, we need around 15,000 points, costing around £1.5bn. Compare that with the road budget of £27bn or the £170bn latest estimate for HS2.
Antony Watts
Ladbroke, Warwickshire

Before the invention of steam and internal combustion engines, long-distance travel was undertaken for centuries by stagecoaches pulled by horses. One of the limitations of this mode of transport was the distance that a team of horses could pull the coach. The successful answer was to set up a series of staging posts where horse teams could be changed quickly.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and electric cars have the same problem. They are limited in range. A much better solution to the current waiting, even for a rapid charge, would be simply to change the batteries.

If we purchased the cars but leased the batteries, and manufacturers worked on standard battery packs that could be changed rapidly, it would solve all the myriad problems associated with electric cars: range anxiety, length of time to charge, finding an available charging point, realising that there are different types of charging points for different cars etc.

One of the new Chinese manufacturers has reportedly designed an electric car with a battery pack that can be changed by a robot for a fully charged pack in under 10 minutes. Problems solved. We should learn the lessons of history.
John Hooley

Sam Wollaston is so right about the issues facing EV drivers, but he misses one thing – the charging units are not under canopies and many are not lit. So, in the dark and rain, one is fumbling with card or phone and then fighting a heavy unit out of its quite high socket. It’s not the electricity I’m frightened of, it’s the getting wet and possibly mugged. Petrol and diesel drivers have well-lit and covered pumps. Why can’t we?
Janice Gupta Gwilliam
Norton, North Yorkshire

Sam Wollaston refers to both range anxiety and the availability of renewable power for electric vehicles. In an EV, “gently milking the battery” to maximise the range means driving at about 30mph. This might be impractical on trunk roads, but a 50mph national speed limit would reduce the burden on the grid and demand for en-route charging by about 30% while competing demands from heating (heat pumps) and manufacturing (including factory-built housing) increase.
Daniel Scharf
Abingdon, Oxfordshire

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