Electric cars could be worse for people’s health than conventional petrol cars, according to researchers.
New findings from the University of Tennessee, USA suggest electric cars in China have an overall impact on pollution that could be more harmful to health.
The researchers analysed the emissions and environmental health impacts of five vehicle technologies in 34 major Chinese cities, focusing on dangerous fine particles. They found electric cars cause more overall harmful particulate matter pollution than petrol cars.
This matter includes acids, organic chemicals, metals and soil or dust particles.
Chris Cherry, assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering said: “An implicit assumption has been that air quality and health impacts are lower for electric vehicles than for conventional vehicles. 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.”
Mr Cherry suggested cars should be used in cities with cleaner electricity generation.
The findings are published in the journal “Environmental Science and Technology”.