Research: electric cars have a cooling effect in cities

A group of scientists has found a rather striking link between electric cars and the temperature in cities. They have calculated that replacing ordinary cars with their electric variant can lower the temperature by one degree in a city like Beijing.

The research was conducted by Chinese scientists who looked at the heat production of electric cars compared to ordinary cars: it is only one fifth. The effect of this is clearly noticeable in cities with a lot of traffic. The so-called urban heat island effect, the phenomenon that it is warmer in the city than in the countryside, could be significantly reduced by replacing all ordinary cars with electric cars. And that should contribute to combating climate change.

But there is also a second effect that the scientists have investigated. Due to the reduced heat production when using electric cars, it is therefore less hot in cities, and residents have their air conditioning on less often. According to calculations, in a city like Beijing, it can be up to one degree less warm if only electric cars are used. And that results in energy savings of 14.44GWh, or 14.44 million kWh. As a result, there is less CO2 emissions, which is good for the environment. And of course it is also nice for the energy bill.

With the results, the scientists want to contribute to the discussion about electric cars. Although cars that run on electricity have fewer polluting emissions, they are more polluting during production than normal cars. As a result, the environmental contribution of electric cars is still controversial. The Chinese research therefore shows that there are additional positive effects that must be taken into account.

Although the study offers an interesting perspective for the use of electric cars, it should be noted that these are mathematical calculations with their associated uncertainty. In practice, there may be more factors that have an effect on urban heat and air conditioning use. It is therefore necessary to validate the established theory in practice.