Air Quality

What are the air quality impacts from vehicles?

Electric cars have no exhaust emissions so have a lower impact on local air quality than petrol and diesel cars. The two emissions of greatest concern are Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and Particulate Matter (PM). Electric cars eliminate NOx emissions completely at the point of use. However around 50% of particulate emissions from a modern Euro 6 petrol or diesel car come from non-exhaust emissions; these are tyre wear, brake wear, clutch wear and wearing of the road surface. Electric cars still produce non-exhaust emissions but may reduce them due to regenerative braking reducing brake wear. Some electric cars also use harder wearing low rolling resistance tyres which may reduce tyre particulate emissions.

Electric cars therefore have a much lower impact on local air quality than even modern Euro 6 petrol and diesel cars, and are significantly better than older cars, but they don’t completely eliminate particulate emissions, so you should still try to limit driving in urban areas and walk, cycle or use public transport when you can.