Electric car sale increases have turned experts attention to non-engine pollutants with new data revealing a car’s tyres could be the most dangerous. Data from Emissions Analytics has shown tyre pollution can be up to 1,000 times worse than a car exhaust in a shocking find.
Experts found brand new tyres emitted 5.8 grams of emissions for every kilometre travelled compared to just 4.5 milligrams per kilometre from a regulated exhaust.
Non-exhaust emissions (NEE) generate the most particle matter from road transport with the UK Government’s Air Quality Expert Group recommending NEE is recognised as a source of emissions problems.
Experts at Emissions Analytics even claim emissions could be increased if the car had under-inflated tyres or a vehicle was travelling on a rough road surface.
Budget tyres could also unleash higher emissions meaning many cars were producing over 1,000 times the emissions of an exhaust just from their road rubber alone.
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Exhaust emissions are regulated unlike other car parts
Experts say tyres may have higher pollution rates
The findings are set to be a concern for the motoring industry who has relied upon electric vehicles as their solution to tackling emissions problems.
Emissions Analytics says tyre wear and non-exhaust pollutants have been unregulated meaning manufacturers have not needed to apply strict guidelines.
Richard Lofthouse, Senior Researcher ate Emissions Analytics said: “It’s time to consider not just what comes out of a car’s exhaust pipe but particle pollution from tyre and brake wear.
“Our initial tests reveal that there can be a shocking amount of particle pollution from tyres – 1,000 times worse than emissions from a car’s exhaust.
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“What is even more frightening is that while exhaust emissions have been tightly regulated for many years, tyre wear is totally unregulated.
“With the increasing growth in sales of heavier SUVs and battery-powered electric cars, non-exhaust emissions (NEE) are a very serious problem.”
Other non-exhaust pollutants which could cause issues for manufacturers include particles released from brakes or through road surface wear.
There is currently no legislation in place to reduce the amount of NEE despite potentially causing an issue for air quality on the roads.
According to the Department for Environment, efforts are ongoing to develop testing real-word conditions.
The government report also says the most effective strategy to reduce NEE reducing the volume of traffic on the road and lowering speed limits.
Nick Molden, CEO of Emissions Analytics said: “The challenge to the industry and regulators is an almost complete black hole of consumer information, undone by frankly out of date regulations still preoccupied with exhaust emissions.
“In the short term, fitting higher quality tyres is one way to reduce these NEE’s and to always have tyres inflated to the correct level.
“Ultimately, though, the car industry may have to find ways to reduce vehicle weight too. What is without doubt, on the horizon is much-needed regulation to combat this problem.
“Whether that leads to specific types of low emission, harder wearing tyres is not for us to say – but change has to come.”
However, the findings have been attacked by experts in the UK car market who have branded the comments as sensationalist and not credible.
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the comments were irresponsible as emissions from vehicles were hard to measure.
In a statement, he said: “Making sensationalist claims based on testing of a single vehicle is not credible and, quite frankly, irresponsible.”