In the transition towards a future without polluting emissions, in action every component is important. Batteries, manufacturing and infrastructure are discussed, but there is always one element that goes unnoticed: wheels, weight and wear.
Electric vehicles, often hailed as a panacea for contemporary environmental problems, reduce CO₂ emissions and promise a cleaner future. However, there is one obstacle that is often overlooked: the tires and their wear.
With the recent draft of the European Union that will ban the sale of cars that emit CO₂ in 2035, and the possibility of granting exceptions to e-fuels, a new problem has been added to consider the electric car : tires.
A report collected by Grist, announced that electric vehicles, often heavier than internal combustion vehicles due to their batteries, accelerate tire wear. It doesn’t hurt to also consider the cost and road safety problems caused by damaged tires.
This not only means changing them more often, but it also means releasing particles that pollute the air and the environment. At first glance, an electric car is cleaner, but its tires may silently emit microplastics and other pollutants.
The reason? Tire wear is not only constant, but accentuated by rapid acceleration, braking and turning, especially in urban environments, where this type of vehicle is used the most. Herein lies the problem: electric cars tend to be heavier than traditional cars, so they cause more pollution through tire wear.
Water pollution is caused by tire wear
The University of Portsmouth, England, investigated this question, discovering that tire wear is a major contributor to toxic chemical pollution of UK waters. These particles, combined with harmful chemicals, have the potential to harm marine life and eventually enter our food chain.
Faced with this problem, some countries have already taken steps. France and Norway, for example, incentivize consumers towards lighter cars through tax systems. These legislations, although not specifically designed to address tire wear, fully recognize the impact of weight on the road and the environment.
To truly make a difference in our ecological footprint, we need to look beyond a vehicle’s energy source and consider all the components of an electric vehicle. From the battery to the tires, every part has an impact.
So, Electric cars, although promising, are not without challenges, now also on his wheels. There is an urgent need for these issues to be identified and addressed to ensure a truly sustainable transition to cleaner mobility. Will we see any change in wheel material?