Original paper

Effects of electric vehicles on air quality in street canyons

Schöllnhammer, Tilmann; Hebbinghaus, Heike; Wurzler, Sabine; Schulz, Thomas

Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 23 No. 3 (2014), p. 331 - 336

23 references

published: Sep 25, 2014
published online: Sep 25, 2014
manuscript accepted: Jun 17, 2014
manuscript revision received: Mar 24, 2014
manuscript revision requested: Dec 17, 2013
manuscript received: Oct 14, 2013

DOI: 10.1127/metz/2014/0540

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Road traffic is one of the main causes of poor air quality in European cities. Electric vehicles (EV) are often presented as climate friendly and as a solution for air quality problems in cities. The aim of this study is to investigate how much of this claim is true and to find out the necessary shares of electric vehicles of different types needed to solve air quality problems in street canyons. For example, the German government has formulated the ambitious goal of increasing the amount of electric vehicles in Germany to 1 million in 2020 and 6 million in 2030. Will this improve the air quality significantly? The focus of the present study is the air quality in street canyons, with a focus on PM10 and NO2 concentrations. We concentrate our investigation on road traffic, taking the fleet composition into account. A sensitivity study with a dispersion model was carried out for two street canyons in North Rhine-Westphalia, typical for moderately polluted street canyons in European cities. It is shown that the reduction potential is larger for NO2 than for PM10. The necessary share of electric vehicles to comply with the limit values lies at about 40 % for NO2 and 100 % for PM10, respectively. Thus, the share of electric vehicles needed to comply with the limit values is far above the goal of the German government.


air qualityelectric vehiclesstreet canyon