Wake up daily to our latest coverage of business done better, directly in your inbox.


Get your weekly dose of analysis on rising corporate activism.


The best of solutions journalism in the sustainability space, published monthly.

Select Newsletter

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.

RP Siegel headshot

How Electric Vehicles Can Get Even Cleaner

By RP Siegel

What does it mean for a vehicle to be emission-free?

Certainly, if you drive an electric car, that would do it, right? After all, there are no emissions coming out of the tailpipe; in fact, there is no tailpipe.

But, according to MANN+HUMMEL, a German producer of air filtration systems, that is not the whole story. Every vehicle produces emissions from tire, brake, and road abrasion. These are particulate emissions, which are some of the most dangerous when it comes to asthma and other health conditions.

Alfred Weber, MANN+HUMMEL’s CEO, has said, "More and more people at our locations ranging from Ludwigsburg to Bangalore and Shanghai are suffering from the consequences of air pollution and who else apart from a filtration expert such as us is going to find a solution?"

The company has just launched a new fine particulate filter system that can be attached to a vehicle, making it truly emission-free. The filters will be attached to five electric StreetScooter test vehicles from the fleet of the Deutsche Post DHL Group in five different German cities. StreetScooter, which manufactures a variety of delivery vans, bikes, and trikes, is a subsidiary of the Deutsche Post DHO Group. The DHL fleet currently includes 5,000 StreetScooter delivery vehicles. StreetScooter is a subsidiary of the Deutsche Post DHO Group.

The company’s commitment to EV’s is demonstrated in this CEO blog, which states, “Now that e-mobility has been given the “green light” by policy makers, it is up to the automobile and logistics industries to work within this political framework to find innovative and effective solutions for environmentally-friendly mobility.”

While the vehicle-mounted filters will not collect all of the particulates produced by the vehicles to which they are mounted, they are expected to collect an amount equivalent to what each vehicle produces.

Here’s how it works. Each vehicle has a blower system attached to the fine particle filter, which is mounted under the body at the height of the rear axle. This location is optimal for collecting particulates. It also does not take up any valuable cargo space. The blower system directs ambient air into the filters. The blowers remain active even when the vehicles are stationary. The filter systems being deployed for the pilot study are all equipped with sensors that monitor their collection efficiency. This data is then sent to the cloud, where it can be visualized via a web interface and then evaluated by filtration experts.

MANN+HUMMEL is reaching out to policy makers, looking to establish regulations limiting total emissions, an achievement that is now possible. Says Weber, “The coming together of the biggest logistics provider, the biggest producer of electric commercial vehicles in Germany and the global filtration expert has made driving and delivery operations possible in city centers which is neutral in terms of emissions."

Werner Spec, mayor of Ludwigsburg, outside of Stuttgart, commented that the only other way to reduce these types of emissions would be a driving ban, a measure that would be far more disruptive.

Image courtesy of StreetScooter.

RP Siegel headshot

RP Siegel (1952-2021), was an author and inventor who shined a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. His work appeared in TriplePundit, GreenBiz, Justmeans, CSRWire, Sustainable Brands, Grist, Strategy+Business, Mechanical Engineering,  Design News, PolicyInnovations, Social Earth, Environmental Science, 3BL Media, ThomasNet, Huffington Post, Eniday, and engineering.com among others . He was the co-author, with Roger Saillant, of Vapor Trails, an adventure novel that shows climate change from a human perspective. RP was a professional engineer - a prolific inventor with 53 patents and President of Rain Mountain LLC a an independent product development group. RP was the winner of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week blogging competition. RP passed away on September 30, 2021. We here at TriplePundit will always be grateful for his insight, wit and hard work.


Read more stories by RP Siegel