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Navigating electric car challenges in France

A Connexion reader spells out some important considerations before trading in your car for a ‘cleaner’ vehicle

Electric cars can work well in some cities Pic: JeanLucIchard / Shutterstock

Following the recent debate about electric cars, I wish to add a few points.

I agree that in some cities they are a great idea. Montpellier, though, has an excellent tram service. Park on the outskirts and, for a moderate parking fee, all car passengers have free (electric) tram travel for the day. Now that is a good system.

While lithium batteries have improved the efficiency of the battery, it is still a loss (10-20%, depending on temperature). Delivering the power to charge the battery incurs more losses depending on the distances involved. So if you charge the battery from a coal-fired power station, as in Germany and Poland, the CO2 created is much greater.

In France, most of our power is nuclear, so the situation is less dire.

Finally, the weight of these batteries is such that if we all go electric, some bridges and multi-storey car parks will have to be replaced or strengthened. Sadly, decisions are made by city-dwellers. Range is important to most people and charging points have a long way to go.

I remember politicians telling us we needed to switch to diesel and, as soon as I did, they changed their mind. After problems with a PDF filter which took out my turbocharger and cost me €3,000, I am back on petrol! The best Crit’Air status for a modern diesel is 2, my petrol is 1.

Trevor Jones, Hérault

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