Cars and Pollution

One of the things that the recent virus lockdown has shown is that if you have fewer people driving cars then there is a lot less pollution. Some aerial photos were shown for China earlier in the year and I expect we will see the same for London and other European countries over the upcoming months. For example, Italy has already seen a reduction in Nitrogen Dioxide.

A map released by Nasa shows how air pollution levels have reduced in China this year
Images from NASA

The Mayor, Sadiq Khan certainly has concerns over the pollution levels in London. He believes that electric cars could be one answer to the problem.

But do electric cars give out less pollution?

To understand this we need to look at the two different types of pollution. Firstly the “tailpipe” emissions, these are emissions on the roadside such as gases from the exhaust but also particles from the tyres and things such as oils and grease from the mechanics.

The second factor is the manufacturing of the vehicles and the production of the fuel. The international council on clean transportation have some great statistic on this. The biggest factor for electric cars is the fuel used for the generation of power. In recent years we’ve seen a move to renewables and hence the pollution at the point of generation is much less. Also, even a “dirty” power station is considerably more efficient than the engine in a car and techniques are available to clean pollutants at the point of generation such as de-sulphuration and carbon capture.

Factors to consider when buying an electric car

The key issues mentioned when buying an electric car are range and battery life. Both of these have been improving over the years and Robert Llewellyn’s Fully Charged show is a great place to see the latest vehicles.

But you don’t need to buy a new car, it is also possible to retrofit an older internal combustion-engined vehicle. For example, New Electric Ireland can fit most old cars with an electric engine, batteries and control system for just a few thousand euros, so you don’t even have to give up your beloved car.

Charging is another issue and as mentioned above the Mayor of London is installing points around London. Fitting your own point is not really the job for an amateur so it is best to have a professional electric car charging point installer fit one into your home or place of work.

Zap-Map shows where the public charging points are if you are worried at all about making particular journeys.

With most commutes being less than 15 miles, it does look like the electric car could be the answer to the problems of pollution in our cities.

2 thoughts on “Cars and Pollution

  1. Purple hand says:

    Private companies and councils are installing power points, is the mayor claiming credit?

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