Cities and governments are increasingly concerned about vehicle emissions and this has lead a number of them to announce bans on cars powered by internal combustion engines.
While electric vehicles are often touted as having zero emissions, that’s not entirely true. Every time a vehicle’s brakes are used, they create fine particles which are released into the air.
Most people probably never think about brake dust, but supplier Mann+Hummel says approximately 10,000 tons of brake dust particles are created every year in Germany. That’s a huge amount of dust and the company noted these tiny particles can penetrate pulmonary alveoli in the lungs and cause heart disease as well as respiratory illnesses.
That brings us to today’s spy photos which show a fairly ordinary looking Volkswagen Golf GTD. Despite its relatively stock appearance, the model has been equipped with brake dust particle filters that are located beneath the calipers.
Little is known about them, but they could be sourced from Mann+Hummel which has been working on brake dust particle filters since 2003. If they are, the units could have a pleated and baged filter which is located inside a robust housing that be made to fit brakes of different sizes. The fibers in the company’s filters are resistant to corrosion and can withstand extremely high temperatures. Tests have also shown they are capable of capturing up to 80 percent of the particles generated by braking.
Brake dust particle filters might sound like overkill, but Mann+Hummel noted the filters may have some potentially huge benefits. As the company explained, “Vehicles which meet the EURO 5 emissions standard could offset their pollutant emissions by retaining fine dust from the ambient air and also retaining fine dust generated by the brake system. The emission balance of the complete vehicle could then be used to classify the vehicles equivalently to EURO 6 or even classify them as equal to pure electric vehicles.” This could mean ‘dirty’ vehicles wouldn’t be subject to driving bans.