TRA2022: “The car overwhelms city life, and this is something that must change,” says Minister Pedro Nuno Santos

Portugal's minister for infrastructure & housing Pedro Nuno Santos speaking at the opening of Transport Research Arena (TRA) 2022 in Lisbon, called for a seismic shift away from society’s dependency on the use of the car. “The car overwhelms city life, and this is something that must change.”

The minister also called into question the transition towards electric vehicles: “An electric car takes 9 years to offset the carbon impact of its production,” he told delegates, adding that “countries around the world must de-carbonise the use of electricity.” The average lifetime of cars and vans in the EU is a little over 11 years.

Studies have found that production of battery powered electric vehicles causes more pollution than a gasoline-powered counterpart, with battery production associated with 56 to 494 kilograms of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour of battery capacity.

Discarded lithium-ion batteries also pose a threat to human health and environmental sustainability. They can also overheat and catch fire when exposed to high temperatures or when penetrated, releasing carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide that can be very harmful to human health.

In addition, waste batteries will also cause water pollution and inhibit the growth and reproduction of aquatic organisms and other potential dangers.

  • In 2020, the number of passenger cars registered in the EU reached 250 million.
  • In 2020, Luxembourg had the highest number of passenger cars per inhabitant in the EU, with 682 cars per thousand inhabitants.
  • In 2020, the number of battery-only electric passenger cars had increased by 200% since 2018 and exceeded 1 million vehicles.

The Transport Research Arena (TRA) is the biggest European Research and Technology Conference on transport and mobility, which takes place every two years. TRA2022 runs from 14-17th November.


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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor and Brussels correspondent of EU Today.

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