Fine particles: the electric car also emits them when braking

In a study published in April 2022, the Ecological Transition Agency (Ademe) notes that the tightening of regulations and the generalization of the exhaust filter since September 2018 have led to a reduction in the volume of fine particles emitted during the combustion of premium fuel and diesel. The relative share of these carbon particles also tends to decrease compared to that of rubber, brakes and road dust, as the number of 100% electric traction vehicles increases in traffic. And that’s not going to get any better, because the various brake particulate collection systems that have been successfully tested are not yet installed on Mr. Everyman.

Engines emit less than half of the particles generated by road traffic in Europe

It is precisely the “typical compact sedan of the average European driver” that the British analysis company Emissions Analytics has tested in real traffic conditions. With the recommended pressure, its four tires emitted 5.8 grams of particles per kilometer, while the exhaust released only 4.5 grams per kilometer. The researchers conclude that “particles torn from tires can be up to a thousand times more numerous than those from the exhaust.” As a consolation, these microscopic fragments of gum and silica are less fine (and perhaps less harmful) than the carbon particles resulting from the combustion of diesel and gasoline, classified as carcinogenic by the WHO since 2012.

Read tooTire wear, the first source of fine particles

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