GULFWEEKLY: A study conducted by American automaker Ford, over 400,000km, found that by automatically triggering zero-emission modes in a car based on local air quality, the atmosphere in a city can improve while taking the decision to be sustainable out of drivers’ hands.
“Our research has shown how plug-in hybrid vehicles, and emerging connected technologies such as dynamic geo-fencing and blockchain, can play a major role in transforming cities,” said Mark Harvey, director of enterprise connectivity at Ford of Europe.
“With their zero-emission capability with no range anxiety, plug-in hybrid vehicles offer a practical, flexible alternative to diesel, making them ideal as general-purpose vehicles for work in and around cities.”
Bahrain does not currently employ low-emission zones (LEZ) but these have been rising in popularity across Europe in response to research studies tying air quality to heart and lung diseases.
Bahrain’s air quality has been improving in the last two years, with the main culprits being the summer months during which petroleum-powered cars tend to stay running longer to cool their interiors.
According to data from the air quality monitor at the American embassy in Manama, the Air Quality Index (AQI) reached a high of 169 during the summer.
This fell in the “unhealthy” pollution level, and “everyone may begin to experience health effects while members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.”
However, December 6 also recorded the best air quality of 55 on the AQI. On an average, the country’s air quality tends to be in the 101-150 zone, which is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups including children, and adults with respiratory diseases.
By implementing low emission zones, especially around densely populated areas, European countries including Germany and the UK have seen a drop in particulate matter in the air.
This would mean that on a high pollution day, a hybrid vehicle could automatically switch to low-emission mode, as needed.
“With our latest studies in Cologne and Valencia, we’ve shown the additional sustainability and compliance benefits that connected technologies such as geo-fencing and blockchain can bring to cities, citizens and operators,” Mark added.