JEFF Rogers (Letters, February 26) chides DB Watson (Letters, February 21) for writing that electric vehicles are not “emission-free”. He justifies this by writing that there is “no exhaust on an electric vehicle”. While there is indeed no exhaust, he completely ignores the fact that the electricity EVs need has to be generated somewhere.

Until we in the UK greatly increase our capacity to harness our renewable energy resources and solve the challenge of storing enough energy to smooth out the inevitable peaks and troughs of the output from wind and (as it develops) tidal current and wave power, the grid is going to need to be topped up by electricity from gas and coal-burning power stations. These CO2-producing power stations sometimes need to provide as much as 50% of our electricity and, even on the windiest days, are still needed to top up the supply. Therefore, by unnecessarily adding to the demand on the grid by moving now to replace petrol and diesel-powered vehicles with their electrical alternatives, we are just forcing an increase in the grid’s CO2 output. So EVs are currently just as guilty of creating CO2 emissions as the vehicles they are replacing.

The remote CO2 emissions EVs currently create are just as damaging as the CO2 emissions from a petrol or diesel car. Indeed an EV, with its heavy batteries, will need more energy to drive it than a lighter petrol or diesel equivalent. So its remote CO2 emissions per mile could well be worse than the alternative.

I hope that the time will come when the grid will be able to cope without the need for gas or coal power stations. But until that happens, it is probably best to drive an efficient reasonably-sized petrol or diesel car than an equivalent, but heavier, EV. In the short-term, the only way to reduce CO2 emissions from our cars is to end the use of extravagant gas-guzzling vehicles, such as the massive top-of-the-range SUVs, which so many people seem to think they need.

Alistair Easton, Edinburgh.

Give me the cold, hard facts

THERE have been several letters recently both for and against electric vehicles. I am considering buying a new car and am unlikely to buy a battery car for several reasons.

First, I am unable to find out how far can I go in real conditions, for example on a cold winter's night using heater, wipers and lights and going over the Rest and Be Thankful; will I have enough power if the road is closed (not uncommon) to divert via Tyndrum? Secondly, what is the life of the battery and at what rate does it lose efficiency with the passage of time? Thirdly, what is the cost of a replacement battery?

I have asked these questions and have been palmed off with a load of nonsense. Why would I buy a car without knowing if it will get me home?

David Hay, Minard.

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The collapse of social care

WHEN I worked in social work we had a service head, from a health background, who regardless of cuts to budgets, loss of staff and at times impossible situations used the mantra that "the buses must keep running". While his catchphrase at some level may have had merit, had he been more aware of the issues and risks being taken, he may have realised that services were already stretched beyond their tipping point.

Today I find myself struggling against the same mindset as I fight to access basic statutory supports for my disabled son. A new generation of faceless service heads (of whom there never seems to be a shortage) inhabit a parallel universe in which they have convinced themselves that the "buses continue to run". Statutory obligations and guidance are ignored with impunity in the knowledge that service and human rights regulators are complicit or too under-resourced or uncomfortable to act. Today, after decades of further cuts, the same ethos must not, cannot, be allowed. Today the bus analogy would imply dangerous driving, untested wrecks, rusted to the point of collapse while the MoT examiners looked the other way or attended briefings on the development of spaceships that run on goodwill; the inevitable and impending carnage only a matter of when.

At some point those responsible, in all care sectors, must cease to be silenced by comfortable salaries and career prospects and have the courage to stand up and say "to more".

Duncan F MacGillivray, Dunoon.

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They've taken us back 50 years

MAKING my way towards Ardrossan last week hoping not to hear my phone ping with an email from CalMac cancelling my ferry home, as happened the last time I ventured to the mainland, it occurred to me that there was a certain familiarity about the situation folk in Arran and most of the west coast islands are currently enduring.

In this age of PCP car loans and endlessly reliable cars, younger readers will be unfamiliar with the £200 car, which was the vehicle of necessity for most of those of my generation just about able to afford their own car 50 or so years ago.

When going on a trip in one of those cars the first question was, will it start? If it did, the next question was, will it make it to my destination?

If both of these hurdles were successfully negotiated the final question was, will it make it home? Arrival home without incident was considered a triumph worthy of celebration, though had we also had to contend with a booking system like that of present-day CalMac, a round trip without incident would have been a rare thing indeed.

Congratulations to CalMac, CMAL and Transport Scotland for transporting Scotland’s islands back 50 years in time more successfully than they are currently able to transport us to and from the Scottish mainland.

Sandy MacAlister, Shiskine, Isle of Arran.

The Herald: The MV Caledonian Isles has been taken off the Arran service due to problems with rustThe MV Caledonian Isles has been taken off the Arran service due to problems with rust (Image: NQ)

Jarring jargon

CALUM Melville, chief executive of Edison Group's statement that projected sales are "north of £30m" ("Building boss has £100m target to become 'big player'", The Herald, February 26) stopped me in my tracks (oops). I feel sure that Mr Melville has all his ducks in a row and is taking advantage of every window of opportunity. In business nowadays there are, of course, no problems, only challenges and opportunities.

That said, I shall now get on with efficiently and effectively managing my day.

David Miller, Milngavie.