EVs Emit 1850 Times More Particle Pollution Than Petrol, Diesel Cars: Study

Yet another study claiming electric vehicles may not be as good for the environment as everyone thought

Today, people are becoming more environment-conscious and considering eco-friendly transport solutions through electric vehicles (EVs). Well, the widely held notion is that EVs are better for the environment than traditional petrol and diesel cars because they release fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

However, a recent study by Emission Analytics, a firm specialising in emissions data analysis, challenges that EVs could be doing more harm than good compared to their fuel-powered counterparts.

What Does the Study Say?

The study, featured in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, highlights a crucial aspect often overlooked when it comes to vehicle emissions: particle pollution originating from brakes and tyres.

The study emphasises that EVs may emit notably higher levels of particulate matter from brakes and tyres when compared to modern gas-powered vehicles equipped with efficient exhaust filters. As per the study, this difference could reach up to 1,850 times higher.

So, contrary to popular belief, the analysis suggests that EVs may be responsible for emitting more toxic particles into the environment than modern fuel-powered vehicles.

What is the Reason Behind It?

In general, electric vehicles (EVs) tend to have higher kerb weights. As a result, the heavier weight of the EVs leads to more rapid tyre degradation, releasing harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

This is because the primary material used in tyre production is synthetic rubber derived from crude oil.

Furthermore, the study highlights the impact of battery weight on electric vehicles. The study cites examples of the Tesla Model Y and Ford F-150 Lightning, each equipped with batteries weighing around 1,800 pounds (816 kgs).

According to the analysis, tyre wear emissions from an EV equipped with a half-tonne battery (498kg) could exceed exhaust emissions from a modern fuel car by more than 400 times.

This study may come as a shock to some, as there has been rapid growth in EV adoption in the country.

A report indicates that the number of electric vehicles registered in the country reached 1,526,319 last year, up from 1,025,116 in 2022. That means EV sales in India grew by 48 per cent year-on-year in CY2023.

Usually, people focus on tailpipe emissions when evaluating the environmental impact. However, the study suggests considering the particle pollution emitted by the brakes and tyres of EVs in the assessment.