Smoggy Paris enforces alternate driving days (but not for EVs)

Nothing focuses the official mind on electric vehicles quite like a thick blanket of nasty grey smog. It’s no coincidence that the two places on Earth with the most aggressive pro-EV policies – California and China – are places with serious air pollution problems.

Does this mean that the City of Lights will be the next plug-in paradise? This week, Paris found it necessary to institute alternate driving days for the first time since 1997, in response to record-high levels of particulate matter, a particularly pernicious form of air pollution that’s attributable to vehicle emissions.

On Monday, vehicles with even-numbered plates were banned from entering the city center from 5:30 am until midnight, and public transport, as well as the Autolib car-sharing service, was free (these measures will end if and when pollution levels drop).

Several classes of so-called “virtuous” vehicles, including hybrids and plug-ins, are exempt from the ban.


Source: Green Car Reports, New York Times
Image: austinevan/Flickr

  • live and let live

    Years ago, Greece had to make major changes to counteract acid rain that was causing terrible damage to ancient marble ststues, which had survived for two millennia essentially unscathed until autos coursed their streets in great numbers. I am actually surprised Paris has not had more problems than it has had so far.

    Despite diesels being more “efficient”, their emissions are actually more damaging to human health because their particulates are smaller, so get deeper into the lungs and are more difficult for the body to reject. Diesels are also noisier; noise pollution is the main factor in hearing loss. EVs, being both quiet and non-emitting, handle both of these significant problems. I hope their streets become EV – dominant soon, so their citizens– and their priceless art– will be spared any further assault.