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Environmental Impacts

In this section you will learn and review the environmental benefits that E-Buses can bring.
A bus parked in a parking station being charged.

Transportation is a major source of atmospheric pollution, particularly in wealthier and industrialized countries like China or the United States of America. In 2019, China’s CO2 emissions amounted to 24.23% of the global total (Climate Watch). To combat pollution, all countries must act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

E-Buses can provide a greener option for cities by reducing CO2 emissions and noise pollution.

Course Mascot saying "This step will explain the environmental impacts and how E-Buses can effectively mitigate them!" Course Mascot. PEM Motion (2023)

Air Pollution in Urban Environments

The primary sources of air pollution are the utilization of fossil fuels and diesel vehicles. The industrial combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and oil in energy production and distribution processes makes up 60% of European-emitted sulfur oxides. In contrast, in the US, stationary fuel combustion sources like electric utilities and industrial boilers are responsible for 73.2% of sulfur dioxide pollution (Breeze Technologies, 2021).

Moreover, pollution drastically increases in big cities with much traffic. More than 40% of NOx (Nitroges Oxides) and almost 40% of primary PM2.5 (particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller) emissions in Europe are linked to road transport. In the United States, 35.8% of CO and 32.8% of NOx stem from road transport (Breeze Technologies, 2021).

Due to the harmful impacts of atmospheric pollution, we must shift our mode of transport to an environmentally friendlier one. E-Buses, therefore, are becoming an attractive option for cities as they can help alleviate air pollution due to the reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels. Studies have shown that the environmental compatibility of EVs is very high. It is essential to mention that the pollutant reduction depends on the fuel source used to generate electricity (Abbasi, 2018).

Cars in heavy traffic emitting gases. Cars in heavy traffic emitting gases. Unsplash (2019)

The Greenlining Institute issued a report on the benefits of using E-Buses, according to which they are superior in improving the community’s health by reducing respiratory diseases and cerebrovascular accidents for millions of citizens.

A graphic that displays the emissions by fuel type.Click to expand. Reducing global warming emissions by switching to E-Buses. PEM Motion (2023)

As shown in the previous graph (Abbasi, 2018), the greenhouse gas emissions produced by CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) buses and diesel buses are much higher than those of electric and fuel cell electric buses. The graph illustrates that these two E-Buses are the best solution to combat climate change and alleviate atmospheric pollution.

Noise Pollution in Urban Environments

Noise pollution is another factor that has devastating impacts on the environment. This is especially the case for cities close to nature since noise pollution dramatically impacts the well-being of wildlife. For example, noise pollution can decrease animal survival rates, affecting their stress levels and ability to navigate and find food. Not only does noise pollution affect the environment, but long-term noise exposure can impact people’s health. Noise pollution can increase blood pressure and stress, cause sleep disturbances, and even heart diseases. Although these health effects can occur to anyone, children are especially vulnerable (National Geographic Society, 2022).

E-Buses are quieter than diesel buses and can decrease noise pollution in cities. An outdoor noise measurement study by Abbasi (2018) shows a significant difference in noise levels between electric and diesel buses.

As we can see in the next graph, the marked difference in noise levels between the E-bus and the diesel bus decreases as the speed of the bus increases. This is mainly due to tire noise. However, overall, E-Buses are way quieter than diesel buses, especially at lower rates which is mostly the case for buses driving in cities.

Graphic comparing noise level between electric and diesel busses.Click to expand. Noise level difference between electric and diesel buses. PEM Motion (2023)

Conclusion

Pollution, particularly air and noise pollution, poses significant challenges to our environment and human health. Transportation, particularly in urban areas, plays an important role in contributing to these issues. E-Buses offer a promising solution to reduce environmental impacts by cutting CO2 emissions and noise pollution. To create a sustainable and healthier future, countries must take action and prioritize adopting cleaner modes of transportation like E-Buses. By working together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat pollution, we can protect our planet and improve the quality of life. In the next steps, we will have a more detailed look on benefits for passengers and drivers of E-Buses.

References

  • Abbasi, M. (2018). Study of Electric Buses and Their Impact on the Environment in Urban Networks. Research Gate. Retrieved from: Link
  • Climate Watch. Climatewatchdata.org. (n.d.) Retrieved from: Link
  • Noise pollution. National Geographic Society. (n.d.). Retrieved from: Link
  • Wang, S., & Ge, M. (2019) Everything you need to know about the fastest-growing source of global emissions: Transport. World Resources Institute. Retrieved from: Link
  • Breeze Technologies (2021). The primary sources of air pollution. Retrieved from: Link
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Exploring the World of Electric Buses: Advancing Zero-Emission Public Transport

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