Air Clean Up

How Do Larger Electric Vehicles Compare to Cars for Pollution?

Aug 07 2017 Read 794 Times

Last week the UK government signalled its intention to prohibit the sale of vehicles powered by diesel or petrol by 2040, following the example set by France and other cities around the globe earlier in the year.

Obviously, the announcement indicates that the electric vehicle market is set to flourish over the coming decades, but how do the emissions on privately owned passenger cars stack up against the larger lorries, trucks and buses of industry and infrastructure?

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better

Of course, vehicles are only part of the problem, and it was discovered not too long ago that Chinese power plants emit as much nitrous oxides (NOx) as all the passenger cars in the world. But with as many as 600 million vehicles on the road across the planet, replacing fossil fuels with electricity could do wonders for our environment.

According to the statistics, larger vehicles are far worse for the environment than smaller ones, since they emit a far greater amount of contaminants into the air. As a result, it’s imperative that these bigger vehicles are replaced with electric alternatives at the same rate as cars and taxis.

“In Europe, less than 5% of vehicles are commercial vehicles or heavy duty trucks, but they contribute to almost 20% of greenhouse gas emission,” explains Ananth Srinivasan, who works as a mobility expert with research company Frost & Sullivan.

Those figures demonstrate that a single electric bus or lorry could be far more beneficial to the environment than its car or taxi counterpart, while many of the industries which employ them are also perfectly suitable for the technology.

Haulage firms, waste disposal trucks and delivery lorries often conduct the same routes over and over again, meaning the owners of such businesses could invest in installing power outlets at their depots and reap the benefits of cheaper fuel and cleaner carbon footprints for years to come.

Cheaper, better, faster

Over in Australia, SEA Automotive have been quick to take advantage of a technology that is not only rapidly advancing in sophistication and ability, but also decreasing in price at an unprecedented rate.

“The components are cheaper every time we go to buy,” says Tony Fairweather, CEO of the company. “There are not many industries where that happens.” Meanwhile, the cheaper cost of electricity (as opposed to petrol or diesel) means that the initial outlay in purchasing an electric fleet and the charging stations to service them will pay off over time.

The UK government and local councils are keen on promoting electric vehicles throughout the nation, as highlighted by their recent decision to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars after 2040. That decision came in the wake of a similar announcement by France earlier this summer, as well as pledges from Mexico City, Madrid, Paris and Athens to remove diesel engines from the city limits by 2025.

Aside from the obvious boons of reduced noise and emissions pollution, electric vehicles could also make your journey quicker, as well. Recent suggestions by the government raised the possibility of waiving congestion charges, giving priority at traffic lights and awarding choice parking spots to drivers of electric vehicles in a bid to make them popular.

If electric models can be adopted on both a private and public scale, for both larger and smaller vehicles, then the nations of the world could go some way to meeting their intended target of keeping global warming down to less than 2°C by the end of the century. 

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