The electric cars of the future are abandoning conventional brakes

Manufacturers could put an end to the technology that has been central to motoring since the dawn of the automobile.

Electric car of the future may be able to move away from conventional brake technology in favor of powerful regeneration using battery-powered motors.

The move could come from improving electric vehicle technology, as well as a push for better air quality.

Electric cars already use a combination of conventional friction braking and brake regeneration. The latter slows vehicles down by using the resistance of the same electric motor that drives the car, feeding that energy into the car’s battery to extend its range.

DS, Citroen’s luxury arm, said it is “exploring whether regenerative braking alone might ultimately be the only method to slow cars, helping to better recharge the battery in the process and getting rid of brake discs and pads. conventional “.

All new cars sold in Australia today have disc brakes that work by locking the rotating rotors with brake pads that use friction to slow the vehicle.

Some cars, such as utes and cheaper sedans, also have “drum” brakes attached to the rear wheels that push the “brake shoes” against the inner surface of a rotating barrel.

Both types produce “brake dust”, fine particles of metallic material that separate from the pad and disc during the braking process.

Vehicles with drum brakes trap most of the dust inside the brake system, while disc brakes disperse the material into the surrounding air.

Next generation European emissions laws are expected to shift the focus from tailpipes to brakes and tires.

Dr. Asma Bejia non-exhaust particle expert, said in June 2021 that “the health impact of brake wear particles is undeniable and cannot be overlooked.”

“The Euro 7 emissions standard, which is still under development for implementation by 2024/2025, should set a regulatory limit for these particles and would require an evolution of motor vehicles.”

the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe reports that air quality in cities has improved following the push to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions, particularly from older diesel vehicles.

“But non-exhaust sources of road traffic such as road, tire and brake wear, which are also identified sources of particulate emissions harmful to human health and the environment, were equally not targeted.” , the commission reported in 2021.

“Their share of total particulate matter (PM) emissions from road transport has therefore increased significantly. With the expected growth in the market share of electric and hybrid vehicles, this trend will only increase in the coming years.

“Therefore, non-exhaust sources now need to be targeted to gain additional benefits in the fight against particulate matter.”

Environmental researcher Dr. Lisa Selleyin 2020 published a paper for the MRC’s Center for Environment and Health at King’s College London and Imperial College London suggesting that “diesel fumes and brake dust appear to be harmful to compared to each other in terms of toxicity in macrophages “.

“Macrophages protect the lung from microbes and infections and regulate inflammation, but we have found that when exposed to brake dust they can no longer absorb bacteria.

“Worryingly, this means that brake dust could contribute to what I call ‘London throat’ – the constant frog sensation and series of coughs and colds that city dwellers endure – and more serious infections like pneumonia or bronchitis which we already know is affected by exposure to diesel exhaust gases.

DS and other manufacturers, including Jaguar and Porsche, participate in Formula E electric car racing. The series will eliminate rear disc brakes from its next-generation cars in an effort to improve real-world research into the performance potential of braking purely regenerative.

Originally published as No more brakes for the cars of the future