Electric car tyre tax proposals are ‘outdated’ and ‘ignore’ impact of petrol and diesel

Vallance: It’s impossible for majority to buy electric car

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Earlier this week, Alastair Lewis, professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of York, argued that particulate matter emitted from electric car tyres is a massive risk to public health. He therefore suggested that it posed a larger problem than CO2 emissions coming from petrol and diesel cars, calling for a new tax to be introduced.

Professor Lewis said charges for low emission zones are likely to be replaced with alternative levies as drivers switch to electric vehicles.

Despite this, many were concerned about the proposals put forward by, saying it was harmful to the continued rollout of electric cars.

Mike Coulton, Fleet Policy & Product Manager and EV Consultant at Volkswagen Financial Services Fleet, commented on the prospect of a tyre tax targeting particulate emissions from EVs.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “It’s vital we continue to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) if we are to meet the Government’s own 2050 net zero targets. 

“Claims that zero-emission EVs emit more particulate matter (PM2.5) from tyres alone than their petrol or diesel counterparts have been widely discredited.

“It seemingly ignores the fact that NOx tailpipe emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles are a major contributor to PM2.5 concentration levels in urban areas.

“An EV-focused ‘tyre tax‘ would be a worrying deterrent to zero emission vehicle uptake, which in turn will undoubtedly have a negative impact on air quality at a local level.”

Tyre wear is the second largest microplastic pollutant in the environment, after single use plastic, and accounts for up to 50 percent of air particulate emission from road transport.

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The amount of air pollution is growing because motorists are driving even larger vehicles with more substantial tyres.

Mr Coulton continued, saying: “It is also important that we remember that as BEV technology improves, battery size (and thus weight) will continue to reduce, as the same driving range can be achieved from a smaller battery.

“This in turn means the weight (and price) of EVs will continue to reduce, so the argument that EVs are heavier and thus have increased tyre wear is already outdated.

“Indeed, anecdotally we’ve heard from fleet drivers that tyre and brake wear is vastly reduced in electric cars and vans versus their petrol and diesel counterparts.”

This is down to regenerative braking and the smoother driving style encouraged by electric powertrains that are designed to maximise efficiency.

The AA were also keen to criticise the proposals saying that electric cars are a “massive leap forward”.

The AA’s spokesperson, Luke Bosdet, said technology would eventually arrive which could reduce anything that comes from the tyres.

He added that people should not be deterred from buying electric cars.

The Tyre Collective, a clean tech start-up, has developed a device which currently captures 60 percent of all airborne particles in testing.

Once captured, these particles can be recycled or reused in new tyres and other materials.

Speaking previously to Express.co.uk, one of the co-founders Hanson Cheng, said: “We’re developing a retrofit device targeting after market EVs which would sit just behind the wheel, specifically on vans.

“The long term vision is to integrate this device into all future EVs whether its cars, trucks or buses.”

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