Results from a recent study in California concludes that increasing the number of EVs on our roads might not only be positive for our environment but for our health as well. [see Garcia.E., Johnston.J., and others. 'California's early transition to electric vehicles:Observed health and air quality co-benefits'. Science of the Total Environment, Elvisier, V867, 1 :]

In California, the average number of EVs per 1000 population has increased from 1.4 (2013) to 14.7 (2019). The research focused on those zip-codes that had increased by 20+ EVs/1000 population.

It investigated the impacts of the early adoption of EVs on both the natural environment and health. The investigators focused on any significant changes in respiratory health and air quality as a result of the early adoption of EVs. 

Results demonstrated a small decrease in annual average nitrogen dioxide concentrations - measurable improvement in air-quality - of 0.41 parts per billion. BUT! a 3.2% decrease in annual age-adjusted asthma-related visits to hospital Emergency departments.

The study represents the first published real-world information on the previously predicted associations between increasing the number of EVs on our roads and positive impacts on both the quality of the air we breathe and asthma-related health problems.

The results of the study, while only limited, has some important implications for Australia, and the current ongoing discussions re tightening regulations regarding vehicle emissions! Transport is one of the most important contributors to Australia's emissions- and per capita, we are still one of the biggest polluters from fossil fuel burning - never mind selling fossil fuels to be burnt in other countries!

In Australia we are continuing to be sold dirty and outdated motor vehicles - motor vehicles that would not be able to be sold in most other developed countries in the world!. Australia, along with some other less developed countries continues to be a dumping ground for polluting cars and other vehicles.

'Australia sits alongside Russia as the only major global economy'  without standards comparable to any other developed country [Greenpeace]. The California study suggests that tightening emissions standards in Australia and the following necessary increased adoption of EVs because of that, will not only result in healthier air but also a healthier population - and significant reduced cost in our national health budget for respiratory illness!

The sooner our governments act on tighter emissions standards for motor vehicles the better for us all!

[D.Smith for 'Electrifying Bradfield]