VW Begins Testing Brake Dust Particle Filters In Its Quest To Reduce Emissions

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.

more photos...

Picture credits: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien for Carscoops


  • europeon

    Or rather invest more money into methods to cast carbon-ceramic brake discs faster and cheaper and make them standard.

    • Daniela Wolf

      utilizing carbon is a environmental disaster…..

      • europeon

        You have to brush up on your chemistry.

        • Daniela Wolf

          Dude carbon fibres are so toxic that manufacturers are forbidden to burn them. It can pass all comon filter systems. Therefore carbon waste has to be dug in mines and deep holes….

          • europeon

            Making bread is extremely dangerous, as flour explodes, but bread is harmless.

            See where I’m getting at?

  • AintYerPa

    Maybe I’m missing something, but wouldn’t this make shiiit even hotter down there???

  • Przemix

    How about returning to …drum brakes? Some updates and you have hermetic closed braking pads

  • liams92

    The majority of ‘braking’ on electric vehicles are performed by regenerative braking, the actual brake discs are rarely used. So again, it looks like the obvious way to solve the emissions problem for both tailpipe and brakes is to switch the electric vehicles.

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