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Green Tech: How electric cars can fight against air pollution

The air we breathe in our homes and offices is not isolated; it can be polluted by both indoors and outdoors sources. The electric car is a good first step to help improve the air that hangs above our cities.

A product long in the making

We are all talking about the electric car these days. Not only does it promise to initiate a revolution in the way transportation is done, but it also brings with it the possibility of a cleaner future. It is no secret that the electric car is a cleaner mode of transportation compared to traditional vehicles powered by fossil fuels, so there is a justifiable reason to be excited about it. 

However, it is not a new invention. It is only recently that we have seen an explosion of electric cars thanks, among others, to Tesla Motors and the personality of the man behind the company, Elon Musk. But the idea itself is not his, and it goes back more than a hundred years, back to the mid to late 19th century, when rechargeable batteries became a reality in 1859. 

The early sketches of an electric vehicle were done by Thomas Parker, who designed, built, and drove the first of its kind in 1884, almost ten years before the first petrol-based vehicle in Britain. He created his own type of rechargeable batteries and was constantly seen driving his invention around Wolverhampton.  

Years later, and this time in Des Moines, Iowa, a Scottish immigrant called William Morrison applied for a patent on an electric vehicle he had designed in 1887. Even though he was a chemist, Morrison’s main interest was in the power of electricity, specially when harnessed by batteries. He worked on a series of rechargeable plates that stored a considerable amount of power. He latter secured a deal with the Des Moines Buggy Company, who designed a special carriage to be powered by Morrison’s batteries and a rudimentary electric engine. The vehicle was not very popular, but it earned a small and devoted following after news of it were picked up by The Iowa State Register. 

Despite the novelty of the concept, early electric cars could not compete with their more powerful petrol-based counterparts. These vehicles were just better at what they did, faster and more reliable, as the internal combustion engine proved to be an efficient piece of engineering that met all the criteria that were important during the second Industrial Revolution. The effects that these vehicles would eventually have on the environment were not obvious at the time, as it was a moment of unprecedented economic growth and wild dreams of urban development. Nor were they seen as important, which shows how much our priorities have changed in the last century. 

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A cleaner form of transportation

The electric car has become more sophisticated since it was first imagined by Parker and Morrison. Through the years, it has seen a gradual improvement in general design and the way it stores and delivers energy, but its growth has also been hampered by both petrol and gas companies. Historically, these have been known to lobby against alternative forms of energy and transportation ever since they became the major movers of industrial civilization, something that they are still up to these days, despite the environmental crisis we are going through. Big players, like Exxon Mobil, are still meddling with political power to further stop the growth of the electric vehicle 

Fortunately, social awareness on the importance of air quality has been growing in the last fifteen years. Specially in the last two, thanks to the painful lesson we all had to learn through the Covid-19 pandemic, as it has been found that air pollution greatly influenced the threat of the virus. The electric car is no longer the outlier, and politicians have taken note of its importance for the environment. The European Union’s Green Deal, which aims at a 90% reduction in transport-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, among other objectives, will allow for a major shift towards electric vehicles in 2035. To help further this migration, member states of the EU offer various benefits to those who purchase one of these vehicles today. 

Why so? Because of the many environmental benefits that come with the mass adoption of the electric car. Air quality outdoors will be greatly improved as the electric car does not have a tailpipe and, thus, traffic related production of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) will go down, considerably improving air quality. Let’s put this into perspective: according to EDF Energy, the UK’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity, a single electric car saves a median of 1,5 million grams of CO2; the equivalent of four return flights from London to Barcelona. That is a big number for just one vehicle, but it makes sense. 

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Are there any other benefits?

Even though electric cars are expensive commodities now, the health benefits greatly outnumber the price tag (which will eventually go down as they become cheaper to manufacture). PM 2, 5 particles generated during the combustion of petrol, and released on the atmosphere through the exhaust, will be radically reduced, if not fully eradicated. This major improvement in city air quality will also improve the air we breathe in our homes and offices, as it is known that outdoor air pollution can enter buildings through open doors and windows, ventilation systems, cracks, and crevices in the structure. 

Electric cars, as mentioned before, run on rechargeable electric batteries. These are based on lithium-ion, and their price is becoming more affordable every year. At full capacity, these batteries can run up to 500 cycles, and if taken good care of, could even last up to ten years. Since they don’t burn fuel and blow exhaust gas, electric cars are quiet, which will greatly reduce the noise we hear in our cities. They are also easier to drive, as they don’t suffer from staling as petrol cars do and do not need a clutch mechanism. And, of course, engineers are currently working on self-driving technology, which may one day become a reality.  

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AIR8’s own Green Tech

The electric car is a wonder of modern engineering and will be the future of transportation. However, we also know that its mass adoption will not be as fast and smooth as perhaps we all want it to be, so it will take some time before we see palpable results in the environment. 

 However, we at AIR8 can offer immediate solutions to a more local problem: the quality of our indoor spaces. We are proud of being part of the emerging Green Tech revolution and have developed a series of products that can do for your offices and workspaces what the electric car can do for the outside world: an improvement in the air we breathe. We use High Efficiency Particulate Air (or just HEPA for short), filters, a medical-grade technology used in the most sanitary spaces to filter out 99,97% of all pathogens and viruses, such as Covid-19, but also all kinds of contaminants like mold, animal dander and pollen, as well as concentrations of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and toxic PM 2,5 particles. 

Large indoors concentrations of these, and other, air contaminants can often result in low performance in the workspace. Our AIR8 filters have the best CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) in the market, they are silent and come with a low energy price tag. Depending on the model you choose, they incorporate between four and six stages of pre-filtration and filtration, such as Ioniser, Activated Carbon, and UV-GI Light. We have the best options for your needs and the spaces you work in, as our models come in various sizes and capacities, with filtering ranges of up to 1399 ft2. 

The quality of our products is backed up by the CE seal that each of them carries with them, a testament of our commitment with the best environmental practices preferred by the European Commission. Why not do something nice for yourself and your employees’ wellbeing? You could try our one-month demo kit for 50% charge and see how you benefit from joining the Green Tech revolution. 

 

 

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