If London could increase it’s the share of EVs on its roads to 10% of its fleet, then emissions would drop considerably — by around 6%.
If Paris could increase the number of EVs on its roads by 1%, it would cut 220,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. In Berlin, it would cut 40,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. And in Amsterdam it would cut 9,400 tonnes per year.
Indeed, increasing a city’s EV vehicle fleet would increase its energy consumption considerably. Based on traffic volumes seen by TomTom, a 1% increase in EV fleet ration in Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris and London would equate to 10 GWh per year, 44 GWh per year, 231 GWh per year and 163 GWh per year, respectively.
It’s worth noting that these estimated reductions in CO2 per year focus purely on tailpipe emissions. Charging electric cars places additional demand on electricity grids, and as a result, emissions aren’t cut to zero. Indeed, the impact on overall emissions will be greater in countries that have a significant amount of renewables in their energy mix. In countries where the energy mix includes renewables and coal EVs still produce fewer emissions
over their life compared to combustion engine vehicles, though.
How does TomTom compute emissions
In recent years we’ve become acutely aware of just how polluting combustion engine vehicles can be. However, it’s been hard to accurately understand the nuances of this and the true impact that electric vehicles will have on our cities.
Estimating emissions generated by traffic with a high degree of accuracy is no simple task. Ultimately the model’s output accuracy all comes down to the quality and breadth of data used as input. TomTom estimates the quantity of gases emitted using metrics like traffic volume, driving speed, traffic flow and vehicle fleet compositions. It also takes into account road gradients and classes, which are both known to affect emissions.
The company’s data has a 1hz resolution, in that it updates every second and covers a share of up to 40% of traffic in city centers.
To make a very complex calculation as simple as possible, essentially TomTom takes all this data, considers how and where vehicles drive, the type of vehicles and extrapolates that to create a city-wide estimation of emissions. If you want to know the full details on how the company calculates that, click here
The future of inner-city traffic
Thanks to the fact that TomTom now includes emission data, we can see the powerful impact that switching to electric vehicles will have on our cities. The more people that go electric the better, as this will, over time, reduce tailpipe emissions dramatically. But that’s a long-term goal and we can’t sit and wait for the day to come when every vehicle is powered by electricity.
More importantly, TomTom’s Traffic Index highlights how we can impact emissions now, and how other strategies, like strong governmental policies and infrastructure optimization, can reduce emissions in the near term.