Electric powered cars do move the problem [the pollution created by generating electricity] but the problem is getting smaller each day due to the amount of renewable energy investment in the grid and when the grid gets cleaner each month (e.g. like this) everyone wins, that said the main issue with vehicle pollution is people breathing it in (e.g. children that walk to school but walk past / along a road) and it costs us greatly, pollution from cars and vans costs £6 billion per year in health damages [source] and with each car in London costing the NHS and society £8,000 due to air pollution, report finds [source] it’s important to move this problem away from our towns and cities, whilst also removing the need for coal, gas and diesel powered electricity generation.
In 2015, diseases caused by pollution were responsible for 9 million premature deaths. That is 16 percent of all global deaths. Fossil fuel combustion in higher-income countries and the burning of biomass in lower-income countries accounts for 85 percent of airborne particulate pollution. [source] [infographic]
More UK electricity was produced by wind and solar sources in 2017 than by nuclear power stations. [source]
“When an internal combustion vehicle rolls off the line its emissions per km are set, but for an EV they keep falling every year as the grid gets cleaner,” Colin McKerracher, a transport analyst at BNEF, said. [source]
In April 2018 Britain went 55 hours without using coal power at all – for the first time in 136 years. [source] Electricity production from coal in 2018 was less than any time since the industrial revolution, with the first “coal free day” in 2017 and the first coal free week in 2019 [source] Coal supplied 5.4% of UK electricity in 2018, down from 7% in 2017, 9% in 2016, 23% in 2015 and 30% in 2014 [source]
The National Grid consists of lots of energy sources though and even those that appear clean on the face of it aren’t completely perfect, that said even if we were to power ALL electric cars just with coal powered energy it would still be cleaner than powering all cars with petrol!
The global share of zero-carbon electricity generation is set to increase from 38 percent last year to 63 percent by 2040, according to projections from BNEF [source]
In June 2017 renewables plus nuclear generated more UK power than gas and coal together for the first time and new offshore wind power became cheaper than new nuclear power for the first time [source]
Air pollution: Half a million early deaths in Europe despite progress [source]
- Wikipedia UK Energy use
- UK renewable energy capacity surpasses fossil fuels for first time
- GridCarbon app (shows the current energy mix)
- Gridwatch (web-based live monitoring of the national grid) or Carbon Intensity