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How electric vehicles can breathe new life into our cities

Climate change and accompanying environmental degradations have had tremendous impact on our natural systems and led to new and fatal diseases, as well as decimating our global economy. But as we begin to overcome one of our generation’s greatest challenges, the coronavirus, Earth Day and this year’s theme of Restore our Earth reminds us of the opportunities ahead of us to make real, tangible changes to care for the natural world and avoid irreparable harm to our environment and health.

We cannot escape the fact that cities around the world face serious air pollution problems. Fossil fuel-based transport emissions can create havoc with our health. Ozone and particulate matter are two of the main components of smog and have been shown to trigger serious health issues such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. In 2018 a government report1 estimated that between 28,000 and 36,000 people die as a result of air pollution every year in the UK.

So how can we tackle transport-based air pollution at pace? One technologically available solution is to electrify our transportation systems. It has been found that electric vehicle adoption not only reduces net carbon emissions, but it also reduces air pollutants.

How do electric vehicles work?

Electric vehicles (EVs) do not require petrol as they run efficiently on electrically powered engines. As they don’t burn fossil fuels, electric vehicles don’t release harmful carbon emissions.

In a conventional vehicle, fuel is stored in a petrol tank, and a petrol engine provides the force to move the vehicle. An EV doesn’t have a tank, but instead uses a rechargeable battery to supply electricity to an electric motor that moves the vehicle. As the electricity used to recharge EV batteries can be generated by clean energy sources such as wind or solar, it offers a truly sustainable and environmentally friendly opportunity to reconsider our transportation networks and make the switch to cleaner urban mobility solutions.

Associations of long Associations of long Associations of long -term term average concentrations of average concentrations of average concentrations of average concentrations of average concentrations of nitrogen dioxide with nitrogen dioxide with nitrogen dioxide with mortality mortality (publishing.service.gov.uk)

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