Human Sustainability

Air pollution is the biggest environmental risk to health in Europe. The European Environment Agency (EEA) estimates that more than 400.000 premature deaths occur each year in Europe due to air pollution. Heart disease and stroke are the most common reasons for premature deaths attributable to air pollution, followed by lung diseases and lung cancer. Air pollution is also associated with a broad range of further effects such as reduced lung function, asthma, impacts on fertility, pregnancy, newborns and children (Source: EEA, 2020).

Road transport continues to be a major contributor. 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, 2019). Car-free days in cities like Paris and Brussels have demonstrated a radical drop in NOx pollutants within hours of the ban.

Electric vehicles can therefore make a significant contribution to safeguarding the health of EU citizens, as they do not produce any tailpipe pollutants such as NOx and fine particles (PM10 and PM2.5).

Noise

Traffic noise can make the ambience of modern cities increasingly unbearable. Thousands of traditional combustion-engine powered vehicles generate significant noise, degrading the quality of life within cities. 113 million people across Europe are exposed to average sound levels of 55 dB or higher during the day, evening and night. Road traffic is by far the top source (Source: European Environment Agency, 2020).

The World Health Organisation acknowledges 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, which can also cause symptoms such as tinnitus and disturbed sleep (Source: World Health Organisation).

EVs, which are silent at city speeds and during acceleration, can make city centres quieter and more enjoyable, while protecting the health of citizens.

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