Electric vehicles – Pollution and Congestion

I now drive a Nissan Leaf and very happy I am with it too. Its range is fine (Over 200 miles) and the cost per mile is about half of petrol for a 1.2 car.

I’ve also been doing some work on the problems of pollution and congestion in London with a small group.

Electric vehicles (like hydrogen vehicles) reduce pollution – they don’t remove particulate pollution as they still produce particulates from both the brakes and tyre wear. But they do remove carbon pollution.

What they don’t do is affect congestion. If everyone switches to electric vehicles the air will be cleaner but if they make the same journeys congestion will not change. So, I think we need to rethink some of the measures which apply in our cities. As an electric car owner I am exempt from the London Congestion charge (annual registration of £10 – so almost exempt). So the congestion charge is actually, at present, a pollution charge, but its “object” is to reduce congestion – confused? The exemption for non carbon vehicles stops in 2025 when it does become a congestion charge.

So, while electric vehicles help reduce pollution, they have no effect per se on congestion and local authorities will need to work on measures to reduce congestion. They can use pollution as a pricing point to discourage congestion/ encourage a switch to electric/hydrogen vehicles.

Net zero will make our towns and cities more pleasant in terms of air quality, but it won’t reduce congestion.

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