Urban traffic is partly responsible for the poorer quality of life in cities. In the last few years particular attention has been given to the emmision of fine dusts dispersed into the air which are very dangerous as they meet no obstacles as they are breathed into the lungs leaving toxic substances to deposit there which are potentially cancerogenous.
74% of total dust emissions PM10 at a national level comes from traffic (the remaining 10% is from industry and 16% from gas heating systems.
Battery run electric vehicles don't produce harmful emissions. On the other hand, the production of electrical energy necessary for recharging batteries inevitably produces some pollution, even at a certain distance from cities from high chimnies which disperse emissions into the atmosphere before settling on the ground. However, when electrical energy is produced by the most efficient power stations (such as those using a combined cycle) a comparison of the total emissions from different types of motor vehicles ( electric, diesel, petrol, gas) shows that the electrical solution is definitely the most favorable.
The electrical solution guarantees significant benefits to the environment as regards:
• Reduction of social costs due to the impact of emissions to the health and to the eco-system
• Reduction of emissions from the greenhouse effect
• Lower petrol consumption
Apart from the advantages in terms of the environment, the use of electric vehicles favours significant energy saving and greater efficiency compared to other solutions such as:
• Thermal yield of engines using petrol: 25%
• Yield of electrical engines: 90%
• Yield of dual cycle power stations for the production of electricity: 45%
The average amount of energy saved from electric vehicles compared to motor vehicles is approximately 40% thanks to a greater overall efficiency.
Benefits in terms of CO2 reduction are significant, compared to vehicles with thermal propulsion and the electric vehicle produces up to 46% fewer greenhouse gases.
Further environmental and economic benefits include a more efficient accumulation of energy in the batteries, allowing for greater exploitation of renewable sources of energy, flattening the charge curve of the National Electrical System and making the most of night-time production from thermoelectric power stations and renewable sources.
Research carried out by CIVES together with the University of PISA and presented at the car show rooms of Geneva, showed how the overall value of a car run on batteries or plugged into the mains and entirely electrical, is at least three times greater than a Euro 5 car that runs on petrol and nearly twice that of a non rechargeable hybrid. At first sight bio-fuel vehicles could seem just as good as battery run vehicles but if we consider, as an alternative to the production of bio-fuel to drive vehicles, it could be the territory itself that would produce electrical energy through photovoltaic panels or by direct use of biofuel for the thermoelectric generation. The latter would win hands down in terms of energy and the environment. If we consider a fuel like hydrogen, it would be difficult to build infrastructure that could overcome the great obstacles for its distribution and the yield from the hydrogen fuel cells is even lower.
For an electric car that covers 15000 km per year, 20 square metres of photovoltaic panels would be sufficient against the 300 metres of crops needed to produce enough bio-ethanol required for the same distance with a car running on internal combustion. Ideally, photovoltaic panels installed on rooftops could provide a good quantity of the energetic needs of electrical mobility.