In a pilot project, Audi and one of its suppliers, MANN+HUMMEL, are working on a particle dust filter for electric cars called the Audi Urban Purifier. This filter can collect particle dust from the air around the vehicle. Most particulate dust in cities comes from brakes, tires, and the surfaces of roads. During the first pilot phase, the filter helps improve the air quality in the towns while the car is being driven or charged.
Even if an electric car has a rear-wheel drive or a front-wheel drive, wear and tear on the brakes, tires, and road surfaces cause 85% of the dust when driving in cities. The dust is only a few micrometers wide, so it is almost impossible to see with the naked eye. They are only 10 micrometers across, which makes them easy to breathe in. The World Health Organization (WHO) said particle dust limits should be much lower than before. Experts say that new values are hard to find in many places.
Audi cares about the environment and society, putting this at the center of what it does. Audi's goal is not only to make cars with no net CO2 emissions but also to reduce other emissions where possible. Audi has now made a filter for the front of the car with the help of a subcontractor, MANN+HUMMEL. This filter collects dust from the air around the vehicle. It works similarly to how stationary plants work, which are already used in many cities. The benefit of the mobile version is that it not only does it absorb the car's emissions but also absorbs emissions from other cars.
The pilot project began in 2020 and will last for four years. "This particle dust filter is an example of how we try to be innovative for the good of everyone and how we work well with sub-suppliers."
"We already do a lot of things on our own," says Fabian Groh, project manager for Attachment System Development at AUDI AG. "But we also assume it will be required by law in the future."
The filter is built into the car's air system in front of the radiator. This means that the electric car only needs a few minor changes. It helps keep prices down. The filter element is turned on by the cooling air intake, which can be adjusted. It works like a vacuum cleaner in terms of how it works. Using a similar idea, the particles in this filter stay in the air, but air can still pass through.
The filter has only been used in Audi e-tron test cars until now. During driving, the car's movement filters the air passively, and the air flows through the filtration system, which can catch even the smallest particles. The car can also be filtered while it is charging. The air from the outside is pushed through the cooler by a fan, which is already in every electric car today. The system can use the particle dust filter to clean the air moving through it. Even the smallest particles can be collected when the vehicle stops. The best place to use it will be in cities, where particle dust is more of a problem than in the country.
The tests done in the test cars were meant to determine how the filter works and if it changes how the vehicle is used. After testing the Audi e-tron electric car for more than 50,000 km over a long period, it is clear that the electric car has no problems at all, even on hot summer days or when charging.