With developed countries like the UK prohibiting the selling of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, the surge of electric car usage is imminent. Today we look at how the global onboarding of this will impact our lives, commutes and traffic management in Melbourne.
The Air Pollution
Walking along a footpath in Melbourne in peak traffic can leave you wondering what damage you are doing to your lungs! Will electric cars (EVs) solve this?
With zero direct exhaust emissions, the air quality will definitely improve in such scenarios, but there are also indirect emissions to consider:
- How is the electricity being generated?
- Will the brake and tyre emissions be reduced?
A solar-powered car will produce lower indirect emissions, but all vehicles will still emit tiny dust particles from brake, tyre and road surface wear. These damage our respiratory systems and, when washed into sewers, damage our threatened marine wildlife.
Some transformative innovation is still needed in this area. Perhaps the flying cars of Hollywood are on the future cards?
The Noise Pollution
Without a doubt, the noise levels will drop dramatically. This will make a powerful difference in Melbourne city life but will require a significant change in our observation habits. Citizens and traffic management officers use all their senses when navigating and supervising road traffic. EVs are almost silent; hence audio observation will no longer be part of the toolkit.
Extra vigilant visual observations will have to become the norm, and traffic management training has already commenced in this area. The addition of low-level noise emitters on EVs is currently being debated.
The Impact On Melbourne & Surrounding Towns
Cities and towns will have less air and noise pollution, and mini-electric charging points will be established on streets and in car parks. Petrol stations will slowly be demolished as the demand drops.
Melbourne roads and buildings will remain cleaner for longer due to the lack of soot coating their surfaces. This will also affect the dirty levels on curtains and blinds, but there will still be tyre and road particle pollution.
Greenhouse gas levels will drop, but it should be remembered that the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases are electricity and heat (31%), agriculture (11%), transportation (15%), forestry (6%) and manufacturing (12%) (figures from Centre For Climate And Energy Solutions, VA, USA).
Cleaner electricity, efficient electricity and usage and better-insulated buildings will all make significant contributions to emission levels as well as our cleaner cities.