By Ramesh Narasimhan
Special to the Nation
As the festive season approaches, I have taken time to pause and reflect on what my New Year’s resolution should be.
As a father of two children, I truly want to be part of creating a greener and a low-carbon society – not just for them but for all of us – a world where everyone, everywhere can breathe clean air without having to worry about the health risks associated with pollution.
But we are sadly a long way from that goal. Sadly, more people are dying from air pollution related disease than from road traffic injuries or malaria (footnote 2).
Some 91 per cent of the world’s population also lives in places where air pollution quality exceeds the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guideline limits, with over 4.2 million deaths globally every year as a result of exposure to outdoor air pollution (footnote 3).
This year alone, Thailand has twice seen the return of PM2.5 fine dust particles in many cities, spiking
to unhealthy levels, and a myriad of solutions are needed for the long-term management of these air pollutants.
Construction of infrastructure and property developments, as well as traffic congestion, are considered to be the root cause of this air pollution - a major environmental health problem affecting not just Thailand but many other low, middle, and high-income countries.
This recurring environmental issue is now being addressed at the national level, with the Thai government agreeing on an action plan to tackle air pollution – but both public and private sectors also need to unite on solutions to ensure long-term improvement.
And I believe that the introduction of the all-new Nissan LEAF, a full-battery Electric Vehicle, together with the upcoming debut of our e-POWER technology, will help millions of people breathe better air.
Why do I say this? Did you know that just one EV can save approximately 4.5 metric tons of greenhouse gases per year? To put this in perspective, one mature tree can offset as much as 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, which means that the benefits of one EV is equal to that of 205 trees (footnote 4).
Nissan, with our mission to sell 1 million EVs annually, will jointly save the planet 4.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases each year by 2022, which translates to some 2.05 billion trees planted.
That is in addition to the 810 million metric tons of greenhouse gases already saved – equal to 369 billion trees - that EVs across the industry have already saved the planet (footnote 5).
This truly shows the huge positive impact EVs can have on reducing air pollution. Nissan, as the global EV leader with more than 430,000 Nissan LEAF sold globally, and our LEAF owners, jointly save 3.8 million barrels of oil every year, or one million metric tons of CO2, thus. In addition, we aim for 90% reduced product CO2 emissions by 2050.
In the past five years, global battery-only electric vehicle sales have increased 23-fold and, last year alone, global cumulative passenger EV sales surpassed 4 million (footnote 6) .
And whereas it took the industry six years to collectively sell the first million electric cars, it now takes only six months on average sell a million zero-emission vehicles (footnote7).
The EV sector’s disruption is in overdrive, with a Deloitte report on EVs projecting that we may reach the tipping point where EVs sales can begin to overtake traditional cars within the next three years.
Another of Nissan’s important steps towards achieving its zero-emission vision lies in Nissan’s e-POWER technology, arriving on Thai roads in the near future. Nissan’s e-POWER electrified powertrain system utilizes a gasoline engine to charge the high-output battery, giving the driver a 100% electric driving experience and leading to better fuel efficiency and lower emissions compared with a traditional internal combustion engine.
I wholeheartedly support Thailand’s electrification goal of 1.2 million EVs on the road by 2036, and Nissan is playing out part here: we expect 25% of all Nissan vehicles sold in the A&O region to be electrified by 2022 . And, at a global level, Nissan has also announced plans to introduce eight new pure electric vehicle models and a goal of selling one million electric vehicles annually by 2022.
So, as we move towards the holiday season, I would like to invite you to join with me in resolving to change our behaviour and committing to doing our part to help create cleaner air in our cities for us, our children, and generations to come.
Ramesh Narasimhan is the president of Nissan in Thailand