So far, our blog series has looked at myth busting common misconceptions about electric vehicles in a bid to show how easy the transition to zero-emissions vehicles is and why you shouldn’t necessarily believe everything you’ve heard about them to date.
Today’s blog looks at something completely different – one of the most overlooked benefits of driving an EV compared to an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle: reducing early deaths from air pollution.
Driving down deaths
A recent European Environment Agency (EEEA) report stated that almost 500,000 premature deaths in Europe are caused by air pollution each year, with fine particular matter from ICE vehicles being one of the leading causes.
Furthermore, a study published just this week in The Lancet Planetary Health Journal demonstrates that four million cases of childhood asthma can be attributed to air pollution from traffic each year.
The sheer scale of the issue became apparent when the World Health Organisation reported in 2018 that nine out of 10 people in the world are breathing air contaminated with high levels of pollutants which penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing a wide range of medical issues from heart disease to lung cancer and pneumonia.
In addition to the tragic early loss of life, traffic pollution is placing greater strain on healthcare budgets and personal finances as we try to medicate against the wide variety of illnesses that it causes.
Clean cars, clean living
ICE road vehicles are accountable for around 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions according to the EEA, so by making the switch to electric cars is an obvious opportunity to reduce early deaths worldwide – while also helping to negate the impact of climate change.
EVs produce no exhaust emissions and also offer the potential to run on entirely clean energy, as outlined in our previous blog How Can EVs Support Energy Independence? Run on today’s energy mix (a combination of renewable and non-renewable energy), a typical EV produces 17-30% lower emissions than ICEs during its lifecycle, according to the EEA.
This includes the production and disposal of the vehicle, which constitute the majority of emissions produced. However, the life-cycle emissions of an EV could be cut by at least 73% by 2050 as the carbon intensity of the EU energy mix is projected to decrease due to the rise in renewables.
Further life-cycle savings are expected when recycling of batteries becomes more commonplace, requiring fewer raw materials – particularly metals – and a greater number of used EVs are available on the marketplace.
In addition, EVs can dramatically reduce noise pollution – particularly in urban environments when traffic is commonly idling – which has positive effects for reducing sleep disturbance, cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment in children.
In short, a wealth of common health complaints can be averted if we all made the switch to driving an electric car, reducing unnecessary deaths and saving considerable amounts of money for individuals and governmental healthcare systems.
We want to hear from you
We hope you enjoyed this blog. We want to hear from you – what are your burning questions about EVs, what myths do you want busted and what do you want to know about our I-PACE eTROPHY car.
Give us your feedback and we’ll do our best to respond with a fun and informative blog.