The trial installation could pave the way to truly "emission neutral" electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles are often described as "zero emission", but that's not really true. There's no doubt they are much, much greener, literally everywhere. But they are not emission-free. Even if we ignore the "long tail pipe" leading back to the (sometimes) coal-fired power plant, electric cars still release particulate matter in the form of tire and brake dust. And while one study suggesting their heavier weight results in more emissions than gas cars has been pretty much debunked, it's still important for cities in particular to eliminate heavy, polluting vehicles wherever possible and to mitigate the inevitable dust and pollution that all cars/trucks/buses produce.
Now Business Green reports that DHL—which has already been deploying and even selling electric vans in Europe—is taking another important step toward cleaning up city air. It is fitting five of its Streetscooter electric delivery vans with special particulate filters which will suck up brake and tire dust, creating what they claim to be the first truly 'emission neutral' electric vehicle.
As far as I can tell, the filters—manufactured by MANN+HUMMEL—don't exactly capture all the brake dust and tires from one particular vehicle, but rather they filter air as the vehicle drives along, and are designed to filter as much particulate matter as the vehicle itself is likely to produce. According to Post & Parcel, each filter is equipped with sensors to monitor the volume of air filtered and the amount of particulates captured.
If the initial trial run goes well, DHL is already talking about much wider deployment on its already 5,000-strong fleet of electric delivery vans.