Extra pollution from EV tyre wear undermines the electric car revolution

This article is ultimately about cats and their welfare because they breathe the same air that we breathe. Pollution inside the home can be worse than outside. Urban-dwelling full-time indoor cats might be breathing in polluted air that their owners are unaware of. This is a hidden health issue which can come home to roost when cat and/or owner are old.

Pluses and minuses for EVs – complicated

The argument for electric vehicles (EVs) are complicated. There’s a lot of hidden factors which are both for and against the EV. EVs do not pollute the air with exhaust emissions. But they do pollute the air and the ground with tyre tread toxic particles which it is claimed can be 400 times greater than exhaust emissions.

Note: there’s a new revolution around the corner: EV micro-cars designed for the urban environment. They are an antidote to the monster EV SUVs which look so out of place in towns and cities. Watch out for these. They are a great fit for urban driving but the downside is safety and status. Humankind puts a lot of emphasis on both.

Tyre wear undermines EV revolution
Tyre wear undermines EV revolution. Image: MikeB
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

Heavy EVs – range anxiety

The average EV weighs 30% more than a conventional car which causes tyres to wear out faster. The tyres shed tiny particles of toxic material into the atmosphere and on the ground. The argument is that overall EVs can be more polluting than a conventional petrol/gas car particularly as conventional gas cars have been highly tuned to be less polluting through advanced engineering.

Popular SUVs

EVs don’t have to be enormous. However, there is a surge in interest in SUV electric vehicles. This is shocking to me. But the reason for the enormous size of these vehicles is the need to include large lithium-ion batteries to improve range. ‘Range anxiety’ is one of the great problems with EVs. There is also the status symbol factor. But they are too large for the urban environment and a nightmare to park.

Obviously, some petrol driven SUVs are also enormous and they will have higher tyre wear polluting the environment.

Battery tech

The problem is that current battery technology is not quite good enough. Work is ongoing on this problem.


Another problem which has obviously been discussed before is that the manufacturing of EVs pollutes the environment. There needs to be extensive mining to acquire the necessary precious metals for lithium-ion batteries. This damages the environment. And the habitats of wild animals incidentally including potentially the small wild cat species.

And of course, the electricity to charge the EV batteries can sometimes come from coal-fired power stations where millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide are emitted into the environment. Another negative to the EV. India and China refuse to stop using these highly polluting power stations in order to give their countries an economic advantage over other countries at the expense of the planet’s health and long-term future.


But overall, it’s been found that EVs are better for the environment but I guess not by as much as people once thought. It’s just that there are so many little negatives; the latest of which is tyre wear and particulate matter being emitted from tyres. These particles are very toxic.


I predict that the current crop of EVs using lithium-ion batteries will become redundant quite quickly as battery technology advances rapidly. This will severely negative impact the second-hand value of current electric vehicles such as the Tesla.

Battery lifespan

Another negative to the electric vehicle is the batteries have a limited lifespan of hundred thousand miles or 10 years as I understand it. To replace a Tesla battery or a battery in one of the big SUVs might cost £10,000 or the equivalent in dollars in America. This is also a big drain on second-hand resale values for these vehicles. If the second-hand values are reduced like this it makes the vehicles less popular which will feedback to reduced sales of new vehicles.

Evolving tech – get a small petrol car

The root cause of today’s problem with EVs is that they were rushed out rather too quickly and the technology is evolving. I don’t think we are quite ready for electric vehicles. We will be ready when the technology is more settled. In the meantime, I would advise purchasing a small petrol driven car. The smallest car you can get if you live in an urban environment.

The problem with this suggestion is that small cars lack status appeal. People buy cars for a number of reasons one of which is as a status symbol.

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