Concern for the health of our planet normally tops most people’s lists as the reason why they chose to drive electric. But EVs aren’t just better for the health of our planet, they’re also much better for people’s health!
So, what’s wrong with conventional vehicles?
There are a bunch of gases and tiny particles that ICE vehicles emit from their tailpipes when they travel. These emissions don’t just have an impact on climate change, they affect people too.
When we’re thinking about human health, some of the most dangerous tailpipe emissions are gases like nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide , as well as tiny particles known as particulate matter. Most of the effects of these emissions impact our respiratory systems when we breathe them in.
This is particularly important for kids, as they breathe faster than adults and therefore inhale more pollutants. Elderly people and those with existing respiratory problems are also at a greater risk. Air pollution, linked partly to emissions from fuel vehicles, causes millions of premature deaths worldwide every year.
You can breathe easy with EVs
You’ll probably hear the argument that EVs still need electricity to power them. That electricity is partly generated by fossil fuels, so they aren’t actually any better than conventional vehicles. Well, we have two answers to that!
1) Even when dirty electricity is used, EVs are still cleaner
A study by VUB University in Brussels showed that driving an EV creates fewer emissions than a conventional vehicle, even when most of the electricity is generated from coal-fired power plants. The U.S. gets only a quarter of its electricity from coal, so EVs come out on top here already.
Then when you consider that utilities are powering more and more of their electricity grid with renewable energies, EVs will become even cleaner. Depending on who you ask, renewables could account for up to 80% of total U.S. electricity generation by 2050, making EVs virtually emission-free to run.
2) EVs have zero tailpipe emissions and that makes a big difference
Cities all over the U.S. are suffering from air pollution levels that risk the health and lives of the people who live in them. The main cause of poor urban air quality is tailpipe emissions from fuel vehicles.
What makes EVs so much better for human health is that emissions are shifted away from the streets of towns and cities, where millions of people tend to cluster.
EVs do still produce some particle emissions as they drive – from brake and tire wear – but thanks to their regenerative braking systems, even these emissions are less than from a similar fuel vehicle.
Without the noise of a combustion engine to power them along, EVs are incredibly quiet at low speeds. So quiet in fact, that manufacturers have to put noise making features on them so that people can hear them coming below 19 mph.
This is really big news for densely populated urban communities, where traffic speed is generally low. Noise pollution can be much more than just an irritation. A bunch of studies have linked it to health issues, from increased anxiety to depression, high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. So as EVs take over our roads, we’ll all benefit from the fact that they make our neighborhoods quieter and a more pleasant place to live.
Combating climate change
Why are we back to talking about climate change again? The thing is, climate change is more than an environmental issue, it’s also a human health issue.
If carbon emissions keep rising, we’ll see more severe and more frequent extreme weather events. Depending on where you live you may already be seeing more of these events unfold. Floods, wildfires, hurricanes, droughts and heat waves can all kill outright. What’s more, many of them lead to an increase in disease, as well as mental health issues that last well after the initial climatic event has passed.
Because of their lower carbon footprint, many experts see EVs as an important weapon in the fight against climate change.
So when you’re chatting to your friends about the joys of driving an EV, you can add another big benefit to your list! You’re helping to make our streets cleaner and safer for everyone.