Every city planner wants to increase the quality, health and prosperity of their city. One such way is through electric vehicles which deliver improvements such as improved air quality and reduced noise pollution. Read more in this article about the different ways in which electro mobility can help drive improvements to the smart cities of the future.
An introduction to electro mobility
Electro mobility is the delivery of mobility through electric vehicles. In a city, this includes predominantly bikes, buses, cars, lorries, scooters, trucks and vans.
Electro mobility is beneficial to all parties, which includes local authorities, vehicle manufacturers, motorists and of course the environment! See a definition for e-mobility here.
How local authorities are incentivising citizens to use electric vehicles
Local authorities are the bodies that tend to manage cities. Here are some of the ways they have been incentivising citizens to use electric vehicles:
- Free parking and charging – access to free parking with free charging is a heavy incentive for citizens to invest in electro mobility
- Infrastructure investment – fast-charging infrastructure investment is one of the best ways a local authority can encourage citizens to adopt electric vehicles
- Public adoption – most local authorities are now moving over to fleets of only electric vehicles
- Road toll exemptions – some local authorities are exempting electric vehicles from road toll charges
Benefits to cities of increased use of electro mobility
There are numerous ways in which electro mobility benefits cities. Some of these are environmental, although not all. We discuss these benefits below:
Improved air quality
First and probably above all else, electro mobility benefits cities by reducing air pollution. This is because electric vehicles don’t need to burn fossil fuels (e.g. petrol and diesel), to enable mobility. Internal combustion engines (ICE) have to burn fossil fuels and in doing so release CO2 into the atmosphere.
Electric vehicles emit zero exhaust gases and meet the ideology of “no fuel, no emissions”. Simply stated, the more owners which buy electric vehicles rather than ICE vehicles the more that air quality will directly improve.
In some cities there are already zero-emissions areas, the only vehicles which can operate in these zones are electric models. Combine this with the fact that electric vehicles are ideal for start/stop trips as used by taxis and couriers and electric vehicles are a winner. This is especially the case when contrasting to stop/start as this is often the point where pollution is at its worst.
As a result of improved air quality, there will also over time be an improvement in the health and life expectancy of the local population. The World Health Organisation says that 9 out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air, which kills around 7 million people globally each year. Particular health issues which can be reduced in cities with better air quality include lower cancer rates (especially lower lung cancers), reduced heart disease, lower asthma and bronchitis rates and reduced numbers of strokes.
Reduced noise pollution
Another problem with fossil-powered vehicles in cities has been noise pollution. It’s become a growing problem over the decades as more and more people have bought vehicles. So much so, that noise controls have been introduced in many cities.
A major benefit of electric vehicles is that they operate with almost no noise. This enables them to be used even during quiet times such as nights without breaking any restrictions. Infact in some cases, manufacturers are having to “add noise” because electric vehicle motors are too quiet and citizens aren’t hearing them as they drive around cities.
Improved traffic flow
As electric vehicles are quieter, they are perfect to use in off-peak hours when the roads are quieter, e.g. for deliveries and a range of other duties. This is especially beneficial for larger vehicles such as lorries and trucks.
Encouraging car sharing
Within the overall remit of electro mobility is the encouragement and development of car sharing initiatives. Whilst nothing new, local authorities are trying to incentivise car sharing.
This brings benefit to commuters such as company during trips, shared costs but brings major benefit to the city in terms of lower pollution and less congestion. Some local authorities have encouraged car sharing and electric vehicle adoption by allowing electric vehicles to use bus lanes during rush hour.
Another benefit of car sharing is that there is less demand for valuable car parking spaces, particularly in city centres. These can use up to 15% of available land, so the fewer cars that travel to city centres wishing to park the better!
A greener tomorrow for our cities
By implementing all of the above, surely our cities will have a greener tomorrow? Cities can manage the effectiveness of their operations by monitoring air sensors and through analysis of real-time app feeds as well as by analysing traffic-related data.
The smartest cities will realise that the responsibility doesn’t stop at their city boundaries but also extends beyond. All cities should be ensuring that there are a network of charging connections linking to their city, this will enable their citizens to still use their electric vehicles as they travel further afield.