Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

EV Tires: A lesser-known Pollution Headache


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: 6PPD in Tires

Mains level: Pollution caused by Tyres


Central Idea: Tire Pollution

  • Meeting EVs’ Needs: Tire manufacturers strive to develop the perfect tire that balances performance and durability for electric vehicles (EVs).
  • Weight and Torque Considerations: EVs’ increased weight and torque require sturdier tires to handle the load and efficiently transfer power to the road.
  • Leading Manufacturers’ Efforts: Tire companies are improving designs and developing chemical formulas to meet the demands of EVs.

Environmental Impact of Tires

  • Beyond Tailpipe Emissions: Tires significantly contribute to environmental degradation beyond exhaust emissions.
  • Tire Wear and Particle Shedding: Worn tires release tiny particles, which can become airborne or settle on soil, posing risks to air and land quality.
  • Microplastic Pollution: Tire particles entering waterways contribute to the growing problem of microplastic pollution.
  • VOCs and Smog: Tires contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that react in the atmosphere, contributing to smog formation and air pollution.

Tire Emissions and Electric Vehicles

  • Surpassing Tailpipe Emissions: Tire particulate pollution has exceeded emissions from vehicle tailpipes.
  • EVs’ Weight Impact: EVs’ additional weight results in higher tire wear emissions compared to traditional vehicles.
  • Tesla Model Y vs. Kia Niro: A study showed that the Tesla Model Y exhibited 26% greater tire wear emissions than the Kia Niro.

Environmental Hazards and Solutions

  • Water Pollution and Microplastics: Tire particulate pollution contributes to water pollution and the accumulation of microplastics.
  • Health Hazards and 6PPD: The chemical 6PPD in tires poses risks to aquatic life, edible plants, and human health.
  • Balancing Climate Goals and Tire Emissions: Addressing tire emissions is crucial when transitioning to electric vehicles to mitigate overall pollution levels.
  • Reducing Car Use vs. Economic Activity: Balancing environmental concerns and economic activity while reducing car usage is essential for sustainable mobility.

Market Mechanisms and Individual Actions

  • Incentivizing Innovation: Market mechanisms can encourage tire companies to invest in developing low-emission tire formulations.
  • VOC Toxicity Variations: Stricter industry standards are needed to regulate volatile organic compound (VOC) toxicity levels in tires.
  • Individual Actions for Tire Wear Reduction: Responsible driving habits can reduce tire wear and particulate emissions.
  • Maximizing Lifespan: Using tires to their full lifespan minimizes particulate emissions during the initial usage period.


  • Innovating for a Sustainable Future: Tire design and manufacturing must balance EV performance and pollution reduction.
  • Collaborative Efforts Needed: Market, industry, and individual actions are crucial to address tire and EV-related challenges.
  • Striving for Sustainable Mobility: Comprehensive solutions integrating technology, environmental considerations, and responsible behavior can mitigate the environmental impact of tires.

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