Shocker: Dirty Electric Cars

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From the University of Tennessee at Knoxville comes this surprising bit of research. Taken in entirety, and electric vehicle has a greater impact on pollution than a comparable gasoline vehicle. Full disclosure – I own an electric car myself. I’m actually on my third one, shown below, made in China:

UT researchers find China’s pollution related to E-cars may be more harmful than gasoline cars

Electric cars have been heralded as environmentally friendly, but findings from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, researchers show that electric cars in China have an overall impact on pollution that could be more harmful to health than gasoline vehicles.

Chris Cherry, assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, and graduate student Shuguang Ji, analyzed the emissions and environmental health impacts of five vehicle technologies in 34 major Chinese cities, focusing on dangerous fine particles. What Cherry and his team found defies conventional logic: electric cars cause much more overall harmful particulate matter pollution than gasoline cars.

“An implicit assumption has been that air quality and health impacts are lower for electric vehicles than for conventional vehicles,” Cherry said. “Our findings challenge that by comparing what is emitted by vehicle use to what people are actually exposed to. Prior studies have only examined environmental impacts by comparing emission factors or greenhouse gas emissions.”

Particulate matter includes acids, organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles. It is also generated through the combustion of fossil fuels.

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