With political will, we could easily solve our transport problems | Letters

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Readers share their thoughts on electricity generation, cars, cycling, trains and garden cities

George Monbiot makes some useful points in his article bemoaning the influence of the lobbying power of the motor industry (We must break the car’s chokehold on Britain, 2 August). He proposes a modal transport shift to more coach travel and investment in nuclear power plants to power our electric cars. He ignores completely, as usual, the solar option with smaller electric cars and electric bikes and charged by photovoltaics on homes, at work and in public places. In 1993, I bought Hannibal, the 750kg fibreglass Kewet El Jet electric car that we used for a decade to take the children to school, go shopping and to train and bus stations. This first British solar car was largely powered by the 4kWp PV roof on my Oxford ecohouse. Monbiot also ignores the huge trend towards using electric bikes that can be easily solar charged at home or work. We love our cars and bikes, but the trick is to make them much smaller, lighter and solar powered, used locally and to connect with public transport systems for longer distances, so decrying any need for building inevitably toxic new nuclear power stations at all. Car size does matter now if we, as a society, are serious about surviving safely into the 22nd century, so let’s have less of Jeremy Clarkson on TV and more solar-powered Good Lives. It’s the mindset that has to change first, then the hardware.
Emeritus Professor Sue Roaf
Oxford

• George Monbiot and several of your readers (Letters, 28 July and 31 July) have drawn attention to the folly of the government’s 2040 initiative. It does not need 2020 hindsight to see that the demands on electricity generation will rocket in order to support a nation using only electric cars. Where will this electricity come from and at whose expense?

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#travel and transport
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#pollution
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#rail industry
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#solar power
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