Human Sustainability

Air Quality in Cities

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution is the biggest environmental risk to health in Europe. Moreover, the European Environment Agency (EEA) estimates that more than 1.000 premature deaths occur each day due to air pollution, of which road transport continues to be a major contributor of. For instance, in 2015, it was responsible for 39 % of atmospheric nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 11 % of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) emissions.(Source: European Court of Auditors, The EU’s response to the “dieselgate” scandal)

Source – VUB, MOBI, The most detailed analysis of human health impact of Electric Vehicles

Along this vein, electric vehicles can ensure a cleaner solution for countries, as they do not produce any tailpipe pollutants such as NOx and fine particles (PM10 and PM2.5).

Car free days in cities like Paris and Brussels have demonstrated a radical drop in NOx pollutants within hours of the ban being effective.

In fact, the French Senate, found that air pollution costs France €101.3bn a year in negative health, economic and financial consequences. It said illnesses created or worsened by pollution included Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, respiratory disease and some cancers, and that air pollution is also linked to fetal development problems. The report also estimated that pollution caused up to 45,000 premature deaths in France a year, from asthma, chronic bronchitis, heart attacks, lung cancer and strokes (Source: EAFO 2017)



Traffic noise makes the atmosphere of modern cities increasingly unbearable. Thousands of traditional combustion-engine powered vehicles generate significant noise which degrades the quality of life within cities. For example, around 100 million people across Europe are exposed to average sound levels of 55 dB or higher during the day, evening and night for road traffic noise (Source: European Environment Agency, Term Briefing 2018).

For example, the World Health Organisation acknowledged in a 2011 study the impact of noise in cities as a public health problem. According to the study, 1.8% of heart attacks in high income European countries are attributed to traffic noise levels higher than 60dB (Source: World Health Organisation, Burden of disease from environmental noise).

An EV on the other hand is silent at city speeds and silent during acceleration.