Electric car particulate pollution myths busted by RAC report

A new report casts doubt on claims that EV tyres and brakes produce more particulates than those of petrol and diesel cars

Motoring organisation the RAC has commissioned an expert report from leading battery electrochemist Dr Euan McTurk to address what it calls ‘negative myths surrounding electric cars’, specifically those around non-exhaust emissions from brake and tyre wear.


The report addresses the quantities of toxic fine particulate matter (also known as PM 2.5s) generated from an electric car’s tyres and brakes, which are often said to be much worse than for an equivalent internal combustion-engined car. That’s because it’s commonly believed the extra weight of an EV’s battery increases the wear on these two items during normal driving.

Government Environment Secretary George Eustice recently spoke to MPs during a select committee session on the subject. “There is scepticism,” the cabinet minister said. “Some say that just wear and tear on the roads and the fact that these vehicles are heavier means that the gains may be less than some people hope, but it is slightly unknown at the moment.”

However, the RAC says Dr McTurk’s findings based on real-world use show that electric car brakes in fact wear much more slowly than those in conventional cars, because EVs rely so heavily on regenerative braking where the motor works in reverse to charge the battery, slowing the car without the brakes being applied. Dr McTurk said: “Dundee Taxi Rentals says that brake pads on its 11 Nissan Leaf taxis have a lifespan of 80-100,000 miles – four times that of their diesel taxis. Discs tend to be changed due to warping rather than wear unlike on a conventionally fuelled vehicle, and last twice as long as those on diesel taxis.

Read more: Auto Express


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