Many of us suspect that energy prices will skyrocket, that charging your electric vehicle will go from a few pounds to tens of pounds (at the very least), but what else is there? What could possibly link outdated ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) powered cars with the cleaner, greener, alternatives?
What will be the common denominator between the two?
The answer of course, is brakes, tyres and road surface degradation.
Government air quality experts
Ding ding ding … we have a winner.
While nobody is actually denying that applying your brakes to slow down causes brake dust, it should be pointed out that at this moment in time, there’s very little choice (unless you want to find out how long NHS waiting queues are) in using the brakes, and more importantly, the question needs to be asked just how ‘realistic’ (read: truthful) that figure is?
Michael Ellis, Transport Minister, has been quoted as saying: “We are engaging at an international level to identify how to measure these emissions, as well as aiming to develop standards to control them”. The emphasis in that paragraph is mine; How to measure these emissions.
Yes, there are some manufacturers working on alternative tyres, mainly making them airless, but they’re years away from production, and they still may produce particles as part of their natural wear / grip cycle.
It’s a similar story for brakes – reducing particle pollution (with today’s accepted technology and designs) would amount to making the brake pads from a harder compound, which would then result in the need for a more wear-resistant disk, which of course reduces braking efficiency, along with costing the manufacturers millions in development.
Banning cars from a city centre is the perfect example – yes without doubt, it will lower air pollution within that targeted area, but it will also have a financial cost, potentially kill-off any trade within that city, and lead to more people becoming jobless (and simply shift the air pollution problem somewhere else).
Radically re-engineering brakes & tyres will have a similar effect – development costs will be passed on to the customer, there could be a potential safety implication, and any benefits will be marginal in the extreme. There should be more of an understanding between the need for road transportation versus the need for cleaning up our cities, it’s a balancing act that so far, is heavily weighted in the one direction.
Of course, technology and manufacturing processes change and develop over time, but with government officials calling for an ‘urgent review’ into the materials and processes, we could just be heading toward another panicked decision without any forethought to the wider picture.
Just how far can these government experts take the ‘car = pollution’ argument? I’ve said for a long time that the next step to easy money for them is a green tax on speeding; along with a fine, there will be a tariff added for the extra emissions caused by going over the accepted speed limit … they’ve got to keep that revenue generation coming from somewhere.