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Environmental Benefits of E-Mobility in Urban Areas

What are the environmental benefits of E-Mobility in urban areas around the world?
A landscape with an eolic park and a highway, with two electric vehicles in the road.
© Unsplash

E-Mobility helps to reduce environmental impact and improve living conditions. Two clear examples are the reduction of noise pollution, as EVs produce considerably less noise than internal combustion engines, and the minimal emissions produced.

Noise from a moving vehicle is made up of two main components: driving noise and rolling noise from the tire’s contact with the road. Rolling noise is low at low speeds but becomes dominant as the car travels at higher speeds. In a vehicle with a conventional gasoline or diesel engine, driving noise dominates at low speeds and contributes to noise pollution in urban areas. In an EV, engine noise is low, so rolling noise is the main noise source over a wide speed range.

An urban landscape and a city with lots of traffic. Urban landscape. KK News (2017)

Cities have become the epicenter of noise pollution, which, despite its invisibility, causes serious harm to people. It affects humans, and animals suffer under its influence, too. According to experts, noise pollution can disrupt reproduction and breeding cycles and even accelerate the extinction of some species.

For decades, the world has been suffering enormous losses in biodiversity. Species are disappearing, populations are collapsing, and species ranges are changing at an unprecedented rate. Urban development is a major course of biodiversity loss, as it destroys natural habitats, fragments remaining ecosystems, and has other impacts such as pollution. Indeed, human-induced noise is ubiquitous and extends beyond cities. Most human activities generate noise, even far from cities (e.g., motorboats on lakes, planes in the sky, buses on roads, etc.), which can reach wild and uninhabited places.

On the other hand, mitigating climate change by reducing emissions requires comprehensive and rapid action at the global and regional levels, and cities are an excellent place to start. The impact of transport-related pollution is particularly high in urban areas, where many people and vehicles move in a confined space. More than 80% of people living in urban areas are exposed to air quality above the World Health Organization’s limits.

The graph below shows deaths by region in 2019, with the highest numbers in the Asian regions.

A graph with an histogram showcasing the deaths by region due to air pollution in 2019, including all different regions in the world.Click to expand

Deaths by Region Due Air Pollution in 2019. PEM Motion (2023)

The electrification of transport in urban areas will be the single most important lever to move from a business-as-usual climate scenario to a 1.5°C pathway – as agreed on in the ‘Paris Climate Agreement’. If all urban areas electrify public and private transport, they will contribute 28% of the 1.5°C target set by the Agreement.

The biggest reductions will come from the transport sector, which accounts for 35-60% of car and 36-48% of truck emissions. EVs must be at the heart of a green recovery because they have the potential to boost economic growth, create future-oriented jobs, and meet climate goals. In this way, climate adaptation is within reach.

Conclusion:

Emissions and noise pollution are damages we need to pay more attention to because of their impact on people and our planet’s biodiversity. They can be deadly, as was the case in Asia in 2019, where more than 2 million deaths were recorded due to air pollution. Implementing E-Mobility as a strategy to solve or minimize all these risks will benefit all forms of life and our planet.

References:

Laisi, V. (2020) World Economic Forum Here’s why e-mobility must be at the heart of the green recovery Retrieved from: Link

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Exploring the World of Electric Mobility: Key Concepts and Strategies

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