Tag: Electric Cars

Electric Cars Are The Future. Here’s Why You Should Be An Early Adopter

The chances of your next car being electric are pretty high.

The Government has committed to prohibiting the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 – although there’s serious motivation to bring this forward, with a March 2018 report from Vivid Economics on behalf of the WWF predicting that a 2030 phase out could result in the UK could becoming the dominant location of electric vehicle (EV) sales in Europe. Right now, Norway are the ones to beat – in 2017 nearly a third of all new cars sold in the country were petrol-free. 

And this is all good news in terms of cutting our carbon: the majority of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions now come from transport, which contribute 26% of our total, according to the latest Government figures.

Adopting more eco-friendly cars is a key part of the puzzle, when it comes to meeting climate targets – the Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change has previously said that transport emissions need to fall 44% by 2030 to keep the UK on track to meet its goals.

Change is happening. UK sales of EVs have risen 11% on last year, there were 1.2 million EVs in use globally in 2016 andThe Bloomberg New Energy Finance report 2017 stated that: “Tumbling battery prices mean that EVs will have lower lifetime costs, and will be cheaper to buy, than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars in most countries by 2025-29.” All good news. 

As to the benefits of switching to an EV? They’re serious. Liverpool-based EV driver Chris Dankshas owned three petrol-free cars and says he would never return to a gas-powered model.

I drive around 20,000 miles a year, and with the ever-rising price of petrol, it was costing me a lot of money each month to fill up my car. I now own a Tesla, and it costs me around £2-3 to fill my car,” he told HuffPost UK. Add on to this the fact that there is no road tax on EVs and it’s clear that there are serious savings to be made.

(On this, theGo Ultra Low campaign – a national effort to encourage the adoption of EVs – is an invaluable resource when it comes to seeing the benefits of going green, as well as where to charge up – plus information on the potential of EVs for UK business.)

Another reason to get on the EV hype early? The chance to try a whole other way of transport. Step up: electric motorbikes.

Richard Jordan, director of Super Soco, supplies 22 motorcycle dealers with his brand, which has been dubbedthe ’Tesla of motorbikes.

“Our bikes are legally the same as a 50cc motorbike, so they’re light, nimble and nippy through traffic – the ideal commuting machine.”

“Cost per mile is tiny – around 1p – so commuting into London costs under 10p, compared with a travelcard cost of around £7 per day [based on a weekly card]. The battery is removable, so can be charged from the wall at work, or at home.”

As to any downsides? For Nayan Patel, an engineer in autonomy, advanced sensing and electrical research at Jaguar Land Rover, one issue around moving to EVs is the question of charging. 

“The number of charging locations in the UK desperately needs improving. Due to the limited miles available per charge, more frequent charging spots are needed,” Patel, who is also developing an A-level electronics course at Learn Dojo, told HuffPost UK. (There are currently 14,344 charging points in the UK, according to ZapMap, which monitors the country’s network of charging connectors. The points serve around 132,000 vehicles.)

“There have been discussions about charging lanes, which would allow drivers to drive across a specially made road which allows wireless charging, but this would require more infrastructure,” she added. 

So: getting an EV is great, with the only potential barrier in place being a current lack of charging points. But this slight niggle could present an innovative way to upgrade how green your business is.

Energy provider E.ON is already offering charging solutions, which are all powered by renewable energy, designed for businesses with destination charging. We’re talking retailers, hotel and leisure destinations and large car parks, looking for larger numbers of charging points, to satisfy the increase in demand.

Not only does this mean being a part of the switch to electric, but they’re also a chance for businesses to showcase sustainable practices by transitioning to cleaner energy.

As to what Danks would say to anyone thinking about going electric and creating an EV charging hub?

“Go for it. Say ‘goodbye’ to exhaust fumes and ‘hello’ to zero road tax.”

Electric Cars: How Long Do They Take To Charge And How Much Does It Cost?

Buying a new electric car is a huge decision, not least because they’re still so expensive.

Unlike petrol or diesel cars, charging plays an important role in the purchase. Electric cars take hours to fully charge, while a petrol car which can be filled up in minutes.

Then there’s the question of how much the vehicle costs to charge. With so many different charging companies dotted around the country it can be difficult to know the definitive cost of charging your car compared to plugging it in at home. 

The good news is that whether you’re out and about or at home, charging an electric car is much cheaper than paying for fuel. So while this new world can take a bit of getting used it, it’s absolutely worth it in the long run.

In order to take advantage of this though, you will have to get your head around how electric car charging works. It’s a bit fiddly, but once you understand it the whole process will feel like second nature.

Charging speed

In the UK there are four types of charging speed, each gives you increasing amounts of electricity and so in turn will charge your car faster. They supports various types of plugs as well, as sadly they’re not all the same.

3.7kW and 7kW: These are the most common types of charger and can be found in homes, car parks, street parking and in supermarket car parks. All electric cars can use these, you might need an adaptor but you’ll get one with the car. 

22kW: This is a much faster form of charging but is rarer to find. They’ll often be located in dedicated petrol stations or motorway service stations.

43kW: This one of the fastest speeds available for anyone who just has a standard Type 2 connector. If you want to go faster you’ll need a car that supports either CCS or CHAdeMO.

50kW: This is the upper limit currently for any car that isn’t a Tesla. Only cars that have CCS or CHAdeMO can support 50kW. They’re rare, and are usually only found in motorway service stations or in special charging locations within a city.

120kW: This speed is only available to Tesla vehicles (currently) and it’s only available if you use one of Tesla’s 40+ Supercharger stations which are dotted around the country.

Charging connectors

There are four types of charging connector depending on which car you use. Don’t panic they’re usually all compatible with each other in some way and if they do the car manufacturer provides all the adaptors you’ll need. 

Important: Which charging connector you’ve got will determine which charging speed you can use.

Type 2

This is by far the most common type of plug, it’s found in everything from the BMW i3 to the Tesla Model S. Type 2 supports everything up to 22Kw.

CCS

This is essentially Type 2 but with an additional port beneath it for rapid charging. Any car that supports CCS supports 3kW, 7kW, 22kW and 50kW.

CHAdeMO

This is a rival rapid charging pin and is found on the Nissan Leaf ad on Peugeot electric vehicles. If your car uses CHAdeMO it’s likely to support 3kW, 7kW, 22kW and 50kW but you’ll just be using a different plug.

Tesla

Tesla uses a standard Type 2 connector but because they have their own exclusive Supercharger stations the Tesla can support charging speeds up to a whopping 120kW.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

It completely depends on the type of car (and charging port) but thankfully with such a limited amount of electric car models on the road, it’s relatively easy to work out a rough charging time for each car.

The new Nissan Leaf takes around 7.5 hours to fully charge using just a 7kW charger. If you use CHAdeMO then you’ll go from 20-80% in around an hour.

BMW’s new i3 can charge fully in around 4 hours through a 7.4kW charger at home. Of course thanks to its fast-charging CCS port you can charge it even faster at a service station or compatible CCS charging outlet.

The Tesla Model S 75D takes around 8 hours to charge fully using Tesla’s Wall Charger at home. If you’re using one of the Supercharger stations that plummets to under 2 hours.

If you’re thinking of going for Jaguar’s new I-Pace then it’ll take around 12 hours to fully charge. Again the I-Pace does support rapid charging so if you’re at a service station or car park it’s likely it’ll be much, much quicker. The I-Pace does support 100kW charging speeds when it finally arrives in the UK.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

So this will vary greatly depending on the type of car you have and the size of its battery.

For example charging network Pod Point claims that the average electric car costs around £3.64 to charge at home. While this certainly applies to a smaller car like the 30kW Nissan Leaf, the 90kW Tesla Model S sets you back around £9.00 for a full recharge.

That’s still considerably cheaper than filling up a petrol station but as you’ll soon discover, charging outside of the home can start to cost more and more.

Here’s the pricing for some of the major charging networks in the UK:

Chargemaster:

With over 6,000 charging points around the UK, Chargemaster are by far the largest. Through their POLAR app you can pay £7.85 per month and then get free charging at over 80% of their chargers. For the 20% that cost money it’s priced at 9p per kWh.

Ecotricity:

Again, you’ll need to download an app in order to access their charging stations. Once you’re signed up though it’s 30p per unit of energy with a maximum charging time of 45 minutes.

Pod Point:

Pod Point are one of the largest providers with over 2,000 charging points dotted all over the country. Even better, 90% of their chargers are free to use, including their 50kW rapid chargers. The 10% that do charge will vary in price but Pod Point says their upper limit is 24p per kWh. To access their network all you need to do is download the Open Charge App.

Charge Your Car:

Charge your car is one of the largest pay-as-you-go charging networks in the UK. There’s no monthly fee, you simply sign up online, you then get a contactless card and simply tap every time you charge. You’re then billed via Direct Debit only for the electricity you use out and about.

Tesla Supercharger:

Tesla owners receive 400kWh of free supercharging every year (around 1000 miles), after that you pay only for the amount of electricity you use each time you plug in.

For example 300 miles of charge on the Tesla Model S costs around £18, still significantly cheaper than using petrol or diesel.

Shell Recharge:

Shell’s petrol stations have started offering rapid electric car charging through their own PAYG scheme called Shell Recharge. It’s not cheap though, setting you back 49p per kWh. This is by far the most expensive charging option so we definitely wouldn’t consider this an everyday option.

Thousands Of New Electric Car Charging Points To Be Installed Around The UK

Charging your electric car when you’re away from home is about to get a lot easier.

The government is set to announce new plans to install potentially hundreds of thousands of electric car charging points across the country as part of the government’s Road to Zero strategy to cut down on air pollution.

The charging points would be installed in on-street parking areas and on UK roads.

The plan, being unveiled by transport secretary Chris Grayling, is to make it easier to recharge electric vehicles than refuel petrol or diesel models. In addition to new charging points there are also plans to start installing charging points in new homes and businesses as standard.

The government is also expected to outline more details of its ban on sales of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040. Alternatively-fuelled vehicles, such as hybrids and pure electrics, held just 5.5% of the UK’s new car market in the first six months of the year, compared with 4.2% during the same period in 2017.

Launching the government’s plans to boost take-up of the technology, Mr Grayling will say: “The Road to Zero Strategy, combined with the measures we’ve already introduced, will mean Britain now has one of the most comprehensive support packages for zero-emission vehicles in the world.

“We want the UK to become the best country in the world in which to develop and manufacture zero-emission vehicles.

“The prize is not just a cleaner and healthier environment but a UK economy fit for the future and the chance to win a substantial slice of a market estimated to be worth up to £7.6 trillion by 2050.”

A study for motoring research charity the RAC Foundation has found that growth in electric car use could be stalled by limitations in the public charging network. The mass market appeal of ultra-green vehicles may be restricted without widespread, reliable and easy-to-use charging points, the report warned.

Also, separate AA research shows that eight out of 10 drivers see the lack of charging points as a stumbling block for them to buy an electric vehicle. The motoring firm’s president Edmund King said: “A big push on a range of slow, fast and rapid charging points should help overcome this hurdle.”

“The challenge is then for manufacturers to make a car worth buying.

“These Road to Vision Zero proposals are a step in the right direction but there is still much to do to wean drivers off petrol and diesel cars.”

To find out more about what else you can do to reduce your air pollution footprint, check out our handy guide

BP Will Install ‘Ultra-Fast’ Electric Charging Points In Its Petrol Stations

BP has announced that it is buying Chargemaster, the UK’s largest electric charging network. While big news, the more interesting revelation is that in doing so it will start rolling out new ‘ultra-fast’ charging points across its entire network of petrol stations.

Charging is perhaps the weakest link for electric cars so if you’ve been sat on the fence about whether to buy one or not, this might be the news that sways you.

Chargemaster already has a network of around 6,500 charging points located at motorway services, NCP car parks, supermarket car parks and more. Many of these however are just standard charging ports, which mean you’re probably going to be sat waiting for a while if you plan on going anywhere far.

As a solution, BP says it will start rolling out a new range of 150kW ultra-fast charging stations that will be able to give you 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes.

Over the next 12 months the company will start installing these at its 1,200 service stations dotted around the UK.

While Chargemaster is the name that owns the network, customers will actually use them by signing up to the POLAR network.

By paying a monthly fee, POLAR customers can then access the entire network which ranges from free charging stations to some that will charge you per kWh.

According to BP POLAR already has around 40,000 customers whoever that’s expected to rise dramatically over the next decade as it predicts that there will be around 12 million electric cars on UK roads by 2040.

BP aren’t the only company investing in rapid charging technologies either. Swiss firm ABB claims it has built the world’s fastest charging solution that can provide a whopping 200km in just eight minutes.

Of course one of the biggest problems is many early electric cars simply can’t support this. However with huge brands like BMW, VW and Audi all signed up to a common ultra-fast charging standard this could be about to change sooner rather than later.

Tesla Has Now Burned Through A Record Amount Of Money

Tesla has had both the best and worst quarter in its history after it revealed it had burned through a record $745.3m in cash.The electric car company has struggled to reach profitability since its launch due to huge R&D costs and production h…

Nissan Leaf 2018: The Electric Car That’s More Affordable – HuffPost Verdict

K E Y   P O I N T S

  • The new Nissan Leaf is a fully electric car comes with a range of 235-miles.

  • Unlike other electric cars the Leaf feels within the realms of affordability: it starts at £21,990, compared with say BMW’s i3 which starts at around £33,000.

  • It also comes with something called e-Pedal. This allows ‘one pedal driving’ by braking as you release your foot off the accelerator. It is incredibly weird to start with but once you get the hang of it it genuinely changed my driving style to be more economical. 

  • The Leaf can come with Nissan’s self-driving technology, ProPILOT, which will accelerate, brake and even steer while the car is on the motorway or in slow-moving traffic. It’s brilliant – as good as any other self-driving technology we’ve tested.

  • For an electric car the media system feels agonisingly dated. The screen is low resolution, slow to respond and the SatNav looks like something you’d find in Windows 95.

  • The interior won’t win any design awards but it is functional and there’s plenty of storage space for four.

  • The boot is HUGE, even with giant charging cables snaking around it.

V E R D I C T

Before Elon Musk wowed us all with the Tesla Model S there was the 2010 Nissan Leaf. It wasn’t perfect, in fact when I drove it from London to Essex it was a terrifying experience that involved religiously sticking to 55mph and keeping the AC permanently off for fear that I would run out of electricity. Oh and driving it was like sailing a bathtub through treacle.

Yet it had its charm, it cost pennies to run and for those forward-thinkers not driving epic distances everyday, it offered a way of saving money.

Almost a decade later there’s a new Nissan leaf: it now has a range of 235-miles, can be charged to 80% in just 40mins, and can drive itself even in slow-moving city centres. 

Although it feels pretty good when you’re driving yourself. The steering is sharp and light while, thanks to the Leaf’s powerful electric motor, it has a seriously zippy 0-60mph. The ride is firm but not uncomfortable and actually sounds truly silent when you drive. It’s blissful. (Unless maybe you’re a cyclist or a pedestrian keeping an ear out.)

As you can see this new Nissan Leaf looks a lot better than the old one. Gone is the old design and instead this looks more like a hot hatchback than what is ostensibly a large family car.

Inside, the Leaf is slightly less wow and considerably more sensible. Too sensible in fact. Nissan appears to have completely forgotten the concept that just because something is affordable, doesn’t mean it has to be unexciting.

The interior looks and feels about as futuristic as Windows 95, which is a real shame. Considering the industry’s desire to actively move people over to electric cars, this feels like a missed opportunity.

There is half a digital screen behind the wheel which offers a glimmer of technological hope, but is actually quite confusing to navigate. And the screen in the centre console is not great. Car manufacturers who won’t use high-resolution touchscreen displays for their cars are frustrating: it’s not technically difficult, yet so many skimp on the display. The result is something that’s low-resolution and really slow to respond.

Thankfully the Leaf supports CarPlay and Android Auto so you can run both Apple and Google’s own operating system through the screen by plugging your phone in via USB. I would 100% recommend doing this.

The car’s range is well over 180-200 miles in everyday use. Thanks to fast-charging dotted around London (the fast-charging network is actually pretty good around the UK) and the fact it takes less than 7 hours to charge overnight, I never found myself worrying about range in the week I drove the Leaf.

The car’s extra driving features such as ProPILOT are also impressive – this car can essentially drive itself in traffic. It’s a fantastically lazy thing to do but if you’re someone who spends hours in traffic during rush hour, it could be a shining ray of light you’ve been waiting for. What’s as impressive is that it’s actually only a £400 extra on the Leaf’s mid-range N-Connecta model and standard on the top-of-the-range Tekna. 

The e-Pedal, which turns the accelerator into a brake when you pull your foot back, feels deeply odd to begin with. But you do get used to it, and the premise is that you can do everything with one foot. 

S P E C I F I C A T I O N S

  • Car tested: Nissan Leaf Tekna
  • Engine: 40kWh battery
  • Range: 235 miles NEDC
  • Top Speed: 89.5mph
  • 0-60mph: 7.9 sec
  • Cost: The model I drove costs £28,755 OTR
  • Features: This model came with ProPILOT which gives the car partially self-driving abilities on motorways and on roads. It’s standard with the Tekna model but a £400 extra on N-Connecta.

T A K E   H O M E   M E S S A G E

Nissan have accomplished something special with the Leaf. Despite its uninspiring interior, after a week driving it, I’m genuinely excited for the future of electric vehicles.

Somehow Nissan has managed to create a fully-electric car that has a range of 200+ miles, great storage, the ability to self-drive in the cities and on the motorway – AND the entry-level model starts at around £21,000. For comparison, the Tesla Model S I drove to Glasgow cost over £100,000.

If Nissan can offer that value for money, then I can’t wait to see what the competition have got up their sleeves.

This Is What It’s Like To Be A Passenger In A Driverless Taxi

While we’ve heard a lot about self-driving taxis very few of us have actually seen one actually working, until now.

Over at SXSW in the US, Google’s self-driving car company Waymo has been operating a completely driverless taxi service and to prove it they’ve actually put together some footage of some of the journeys.

As you can see from the video there is no-one in the driving seat and aside from the Waymo employee that’s obliged to be there the only other occupants are the passengers.

What’s really remarkable then about the video is just how unremarkable the car makes self-driving look.

The car interacts with traffic, intersections and all the other daily obstacles that humans have to cope with and it does it without breaking a sweat.

In fact, the car is so good at driving people around that one passenger even manages to drift off:

Now to be absolutely clear, you’re not going to start seeing Waymo’s self-driving taxis filling the streets just yet. Instead this is one of those benchmark moments where a company can show us just how far it has come, and honestly, it feels like they’ve come a long way.

 

Volvo’s Polestar 1 Hybrid Muscle Car Looks Stunning

When you think of the word ‘muscle car’ it’s likely that the gas-guzzling icons such as the old Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro will immediately spring to mind.

While iconic, they are not environmentally friendly cars, they never have been. Buying and owning one comes with the acceptance that you are sacrificing some part of the ozone layer for your own pleasure.

Volvo however thinks it has a solution to this moral problem and it’s called the Polestar 1.

Designed and built by Volvo’s high-performance wing Polestar, the 1 is arguably the first guilt-free muscle car.

It is a two-door hybrid that pairs two powerful electric motors with a conventional 2-litre petrol engine under the bonnet. Combined the car will have a whopping 600bhp.

This is no novelty hybrid engine either thanks to a large 34kWh battery that will give the Polestar 1 almost 93-miles of purely electric range should you want to go all-in on the eco-friendly driving.

Like all Volvo’s the Polestar 1 is as state-of-the-art inside as it is outside. It’ll come with a ‘phone as key’ system that turns your smartphone into the key for your car.

It’ll also feature a large touchscreen display in the centre-console and a custom-made Bang and Olufsen sound system.

Sadly there’s no word on how much the Polestar 1 will cost to make but the company is already letting prospective buyers register their interest. It will go into production sometime in the middle of 2019.

VW’s I.D. Vizzion Is A Stunning Self-Driving Car Arriving In 2022

The Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion is not like most of the concept cars you see unveiled at a motor show.

You see unlike most concept cars Volkswagen has confirmed that this fully-autonomous electric saloon will actually be on sale by 2022.

This is impressive not only because it gives VW just four years to turn the car into a reality, but also because of the incredible technology that’s inside it.

VW claims that the car you buy will have a 400-mile range thanks to a whopping 111kWh battery (larger than anything we’ve seen so far) and will support the new fast-charging standard being introduced across Europe.

Take a look inside and you’ll notice there is, well, nothing.

Now while VW says that the the production version will have a steering wheel, it does envisage that in about 12 years or so you will be able to buy this car as you see it now.

To do that VW says it will have developed a Level 5 autonomous driving system that will be able to take you anywhere at just the press of a button.

So while it won’t be completely self-driving when it launches in 2022 you can still expect it to have some pretty advanced autonomous features including self-driving on motorways and perhaps even some level of automation in city centres.

Volkswagen has been pushing its focus on electric cars in a big way, in fact the parent company announced late last year that it would be spending around €50bn on battery orders to power the cars.

While the Vizzion is expected to be the flagship of VW’s electric fleet the company has previously announced that its other I.D. cars would include the return of the iconic VW camper van.

According to VW, the camper van would have a theoretical range of 600km and thanks to the new fast-charging network could charge itself from 0-80% in just 30 minutes.

Jaguar I-PACE Electric Car Unveiled As A Tesla Rival

Jaguar has finally lifted the lid on its I-PACE electric car.

This is Jaguar’s first fully-electric car and it’s clear from the start that Tesla is going to have a fight on its hands.

The I-PACE has a 298-mile range thanks to a considerable 90kWh battery located in the bottom of the car. With two powerful motors at the front and back the car can then accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.5secs making it faster than most two-seater sports cars.

According to Jaguar you can charge the car to around 80% in 80 minutes using a 50kWh charger or just 45 minutes if you’re able to use one of the newer 100kWh fast charging stations.

Of course in addition to having access to the UK’s charging network Jaguar will also fit your home with its standard 7kWh charging station which provides around 80% in 10 hours.

Despite its hugely impressive performance, this is still every bit an SUV with five seats and 656-litres of rear-load boot space.

It’ll also come with a state-of-the-art interior including the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system that has only previously been seen on the Range Rover Velar. The system includes a digital dashboard and two touchscreen interfaces in the centre console.

Naturally the car can also be accessed using Jaguar’s InControl App which lets you remotely see the car’s location, battery level and even lets you activate features within the car such as the heating.

According to Jaguar the car also comes with an AI-controlled navigation system that constantly analyses not only the route you’re taking but your current battery level.

The car also supports Amazon Alexa which means that you can be sat in your home and ask Alexa how much battery the car has, or you can ask it to turn on the heated seats.

Where the I-PACE might be lacking is in the arena of autonomous driving. While the car will have driving assist technology on board, don’t expect it to start driving you down a motorway like Tesla’s Model S.

Finally there’s the price. Jaguar says that the I-PACE will start at £63,495 (not including the government incentives) which puts it at several thousand pounds cheaper than the absolute cheapest Tesla Model S.

Cities Must Act Now To Clear Up Their Act And Clean Up Our Air

I have spent time in many polluted cities, from Cairo and Beijing, all the way to Rome and London. Yet, nothing really prepared me for the air pollution I experienced in New Delhi recently. It’s gotten so bad that the local government has resorted to using anti-smog water mist cannons in parts of the city to try and blast out air pollutants. Innovative as it may be, it seems to be more of a band-aid solution to a life-threatening problem.

Delhi may not be the most polluted city in the world – I believe that dubious honor goes surprisingly to Zabol, Iran for its high particulate count from dust storms – but it’s certainly up there. And with a population of more than 26million and growing, I fear for the health of India’s citizens and, for that matter, those living in cities the world over.

Cites have long been great melting pots. They are places of ingenuity and innovation, and have allowed economies of scale and resource efficiencies to be achieved. Moreover, cities with strong public health measures and medical systems have prolonged human life and well-being. In fact, people living in cities generally enjoy better health than people in surrounding rural areas because of greater access to medical care. But these achievements are being undermined by air pollution.

Today, cities have become more like stewing pots. The shift from biofuels to fossil fuels – a process that comes with industrialisation – has had a significant impact on pollution and health, not only due to CO2 emissions, but also because of the particulate matter released into the air. Coal, used in electricity generation and large-scale manufacturing, is the most polluting fuel, but vehicle fuels are also highly toxic.

 

It is predicted that over 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050. That doesn’t leave much time

 

Air pollution stands out as the most severe in terms of its impact on health. The World Health Organization reports that more than one billion people are exposed to outdoor air pollution annually, with more than 80% of people living in cities exposed to unhealthy air. In developing countries, 98% of urban areas fail to meet WHO air quality guidelines.

Such exposure has contributed to the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world. According to the 2017 Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated nine million premature deaths in 2015, accounting for 16% of all deaths worldwide – three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence. In the most severely affected countries, pollution-related disease is responsible for more than one death in four.

As urban air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increases for the people who live in them. That’s the bad news. The good news is that with better urban planning – that includes energy-efficient buildings, improved public transit, green and open spaces – cities can aspire to much better air quality and dramatically improved human health.

There are already some encouraging signs. The International Energy Agency, for example, says that by 2040, 60% of our electricity is likely to be green, with 715 million electric cars on the road. And according to the Energy Transitions Commission, by 2030 a power system based almost entirely on variable renewable energy generation is likely to be lower cost than a fossil fuel-based system, even without a carbon price. Research by the Coalition for Urban Transitions has also shown that investing in compact, connected and efficient cities could substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.7 Gt CO2 per year by 2030 and generate savings of as much as US$17 trillion by 2050.

These are just some of the goals and aspirations of the Paris climate agreement and the international sustainable development agenda. The challenge will be to ensure they are adopted at the local level, from city to city. It is predicted that over 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050. That doesn’t leave much time for cities to clean up their act and their air.

Dr. Doaa Abdel-Motaal is the Executive Director of The Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health at the Oxford Martin School