Electric vehicles have a rich past – and a richer future | Letters

Electric vehicles have a rich past – and a richer future | Letters

Readers share their views on climate-friendly transportation

Your long read had some interesting facts (The lost history of the electric car – and what it tells us about the future of transport, 3 August), but it is also worth drawing attention to the extensive commercial use of electric vehicles in the period leading up to the 1970s. At school, I put in the occasional Friday night shift at a large bakery, where dozens of distinctively shaped vans used by the roundsmen were lined up around the walls of the depot, being recharged ready for their morning duties. The same would have been true in most towns and cities.

At university, my trunk was piled up at the end of term in the porch for collection by a three-wheeled British Railways battery-driven tractor unit, with its accompanying trailer, for delivery to the station, and collection by a similar method at the other end. These vehicles were a familiar sight at a time when rail carried more small freight than nowadays. Milk floats were almost universally electric. In many places it was electric trolley buses, rather than buses, that originally replaced trams, until declining oil prices made diesel a cheaper fuel than electricity generated by coal.

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