The transportation field is an important source of environmental pollution: in Europe, it is responsible for 30% of CO2 emissions.
Gases produced by vans, buses and cars are a significant source of atmospheric pollution such as fine dust (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), dangerous not only for the environment but also for human health.
In particular, the pollution deriving from motors vehicles is due to gases produced from their circulation. Combustion in this type of vehicle does not only produce carbon dioxide and water vapor, but also various compounds emitted by the exhaust, in particular fine dust PM 10 and PM 2.5.
Besides sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide, in big cities with a high traffic level, atmospheric pollution is also generated by additives used for the combustion of internal combustion engines. Decarbonising mobility in order to reduce polluting emissions, therefore, is essential to face the climate crisis and safeguarding human health. Pollutant emissions due to the circulation of cars have pushed the European Union, from 1991, to enact new measures in order to limit the circulation of petrol vehicles, which, however,also involved diesel cars, which are considered less polluting. The legislation provided for the classification of motor vehicles with a specific abbreviation, based on the type of car system: from Euro 0, considered more polluting, to Euro 6, considered less polluting.
One solution that seems to have become increasingly popular to be able to implement decarbonisation, is the use of the electric car,which, thanks to its combustion-free engine, does not emit exhaust gases. According to the European Environment Agency (EEA) "Electric motors are more efficient than combustion engines. […] Especially when driving around town, electric vehicles waste less energy. Moreover, they don't produce emissions of atmospheric pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. However, there is particulate matter deriving from brakes and tire consumption, but overall less of it is produced than petrol or diesel cars produce ".
In addition, electric vehicles can also reduce noise pollution and, regarding health, "the main advantage is related to the quality of the air. Some air pollution will continue to occur, due to the electricity used for electric cars, but this usually comes from power plants which are subject to better pollution controls than those applicable to a conventional car and which are generally located away from densely populated areas ".
The European Commission proposal
On Wednesday 14 July, the European Commission presented a fairly complex package of environmental reforms in Brussels, with the aim of reducing harmful gases by 55% by 2030. Among the various measures, the one relating to cars stands out: from 2035 in fact, it will no longer be possible to sell vehicles that emit CO2.
“Today we present a strategy with which to achieve our climate goals, which are not just a political commitment, they are now a legal obligation,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Not only from 2035 new cars will no longer be able to emit harmful emissions, but already from 2030 new vehicles will have to emit 55% less than the 2021.
This maxi plan proposed by the European Commission has been renamed Fit For 55 and provides for the exit from the market of all cars with CO2 emissions at the exhaust (therefore also methane and LPG cars, hybrids and plug-in hybrids, at the moment considered more environmentally friendly than petrol or diesel cars).
Obviously, the announcement of the plan caused many doubts and perplexities. The first doubt concerns the changes that all this will cause at the production and distribution level: the entrepreneurs of the sector, in fact, are worried about the possible damage they could suffer and the considerable increase in costs for consumers.
translated by Dr. Oshun Samintra De Feo