Reader Letters: Electric car questions, flat batteries, road tax vigilantes and are parking brakes on automatics necessary?

Reader Letters: Electric car questions, flat batteries, road tax vigilantes and are parking brakes on automatics necessary?

Your correspondence

Fuelling innovation
The government’s plan to ban the sale of pure diesel and petrol cars from 2040 sounds ambitious to me. Will there be sufficient power stations and charging points in place to support the replacement electric and hybrid cars? Has the world got the natural resources to supply the millions more batteries needed? Back in the 1990s, we were encouraged by John Prescott (mercifully no relation) and others to buy diesels on the basis of the best available science. In the next 23 years, that same science could manage to cut emissions further in diesel and petrol cars.
A Prescott, Scarisbrick, Lancashire


Crude comparison
I don’t have a tank of crude oil at home that I refine into petrol before trailing a hose across the pavement in order to fill my vehicle. Instead, I obtain fuel when and where I need it, even in remote parts of the UK. So can someone explain why, if I buy an electric car, I can’t “refuel” simply by fitting a fully charged, standard-size, exchangeable battery from a service station? The whole process would take minutes, rather than hours of charging.
David Parr, Exhall, Warwickshire

[This system was created and operated by Israeli company Better Place, but it went bankrupt in 2013 due to high start-up costs and slower than expected EV sales. The complexity of agreeing a battery standard across makes/models was also a problem — Ed]


On your bike
Ged Carpenter says his Toyota Yaris Hybrid’s battery keeps going flat between “short commutes” (“Undercharged”, Letters, July 30). Unless he needs to carry luggage, why not walk, cycle or take a bus? Indeed, why have a car at all if it is frequently idle for days?
F Harvey, Bristol


The light dawns
Having been down the same flat-battery route with my Honda Civic, I removed the bulb from the boot light. Problem solved: the car stood at Liverpool airport for 10 days and started first time.
Diane Lambert, Merseyside


Vive la révolution
David Brawn’s call to report untaxed vehicles makes you realise the waste of energy devoted to this spiteful system (“Tax check”, Letters, July 30). Let’s do as the French did: abolish vehicle excise duty and raise tax on petrol to compensate. This would mean gas guzzlers pay a lot for fuel, frugal cars pay less and electric cars pay nothing — just as now, but without the bureaucracy of revenue collection, including Mr Brawn and his mobile phone vigilantes.
David Lewis, Poole, Dorset

Time to rethink
Do people have nothing better to do than look up registrations in the hope of finding a car that isn’t taxed? Get a life! Spend all that free time picking up litter or volunteering for a charity instead.
Melanie McCarthy, Chesham, Buckinghamshire


Braking bad
My son tells me I shouldn’t simply leave my automatic Mercedes in “Park” but apply the parking brake to avoid placing unnecessary stress on the gearbox. I said that was rubbish. Who’s right?
Terry Ievers, Broadwell, Warwickshire


Contact us
Email letters for publication to, or write to Driving, The Sunday Times, 1 London Bridge Street, London SE1 9GF, including your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited