Watchdog orgs and government regulations keep car companies on their toes for the devil we know, tailpipe emissions. Manufacturers play ball and internal combustion engines seem to get more efficient each year. But "vehicle tyre wear pollution is completely unregulated," EA writes. Yet "harmful particle matter from tyres – and also brakes – is a very serious and growing environmental problem."
How serious of a problem? Here's what their testing revealed about non-exhaust emissions (NEEs):
"Using a popular family hatchback running on brand new, correctly inflated tyres, we found that the car emitted 5.8 grams per kilometer of particles.
"Compared with regulated exhaust emission limits of 4.5 milligrams per kilometer, the completely unregulated tyre wear emission is higher by a factor of over 1,000."
They reckon those figures are even worse in real-world driving (i.e. bigger vehicles with bigger tires, and/or underinflated tires and shoddy roads causing tires and brakes to shed more particulate matter). And it's gotta be galling, to anyone who's ponied up for an electric car, to learn that they're still causing tons of pollution.
Automobile and tire manufacturers are unlikely to address this on their own. Until a powerful politician, government or watchdog org takes NEEs up as an issue, we'll have to continue breathing in brakepad dust and tire particles.