Original paper

Regional and local effects of electric vehicles on air quality and noise

Wurzler, Sabine; Hebbinghaus, Heike; Steckelbach, Ingo; Schulz, Thomas; Pompetzki, Wulf; Memmesheimer, Michael; Jakobs, Hermann; Schöllnhammer, Tilmann; Nowag, Sonja; Diegmann, Volker

Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 25 No. 3 (2016), p. 319 - 325

34 references

published: Jun 20, 2016
published online: Apr 29, 2016
manuscript accepted: Dec 18, 2015
manuscript revision received: Dec 17, 2015
manuscript revision requested: Dec 15, 2015
manuscript received: May 8, 2015

DOI: 10.1127/metz/2016/0707

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Road traffic is one of the main causes of poor air quality in European cities. The air pollution burden due to road traffic in a street canyon consists of shares from local traffic and contributions of vehicles driving elsewhere in the city as well as elsewhere on a larger scale. Are electric vehicles a solution for air quality problems in cities? Do they reduce noise levels in street canyons significantly? The aim of this sensitivity study is to investigate the regional and local effects of electric vehicles on noise and air quality taking possible effects of additional electricity production into account. Focus of the present study lies for air quality on the regional scale in North Rhine-Westphalia and the overall effect in some selected street canyons, to be more precise the annual average PM10 and NO2 concentrations. A sensitivity study using the chemistry transport model EURAD and a screening model for street canyons was carried out. The influence on noise levels was analysed based on measurements of vehicles at different speeds. It turns out that road traffic has a significant impact on the regional air pollution levels. Furthermore it is shown that the reduction potential is bigger for NO2 than for PM10. With regard to EC limit value compliance a major share of electric vehicles could be a solution for the NO2 problems in moderately polluted street canyons. One of our findings is that if the additional electricity need causes additional emissions these counteract the possible reduction, especially for PM10. The noise reduction potential of electric vehicles is only significant for vehicles moving at low speeds.


electric vehiclesair qualitynoisestreet canyon