Today, over 5,000 StreetScooter delivery vehicles in use by the Deutsche Post DHL Group prevent considerable quantities of harmful gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide and also noise from entering the environment. With the aid of a development from the area of Swabia in the south-west of Germany it is now possible to address the problem of particulates. The filtration specialist MANN+HUMMEL based in Ludwigsburg has developed a particulate filter which will be presented together with the world’s first emission neutral vehicle.
Electric vehicles also release particulates into the atmosphere due to tire, brake, and road abrasion and are therefore not free of emissions. This is a task which the filtration expert MANN+HUMMEL has now addressed with its fine dust particulate filter. Through use of the filter the overall balance of the vehicle with regard to the release of particulates is now neutral. The particulate filter retains as many dust particles as are produced by tire, brake and road abrasion.
The filter modules will initially be fitted to five StreetScooter test vehicles which with immediate effect will enter service in five German city centers. The successful conclusion of the test could lead to the series implementation of the particulate filter. This would mean that the StreetScooter is the first series car which is almost free of emissions.
The vehicle is completely neutral in terms of emissions under consideration of the overall balance during driving operations: This means
• no carbon dioxide (CO2)
• no nitrogen oxide (NOx)
• no noise
• no particulates
The fine dust particulate filter is equipped with an active filter system. Blowers are fitted behind these filters which direct ambient air to the filters. As a result, even when the vehicle is at a standstill it is still able to filter particulates from the ambient air. The installation position of the filter on the underbody at the height of the rear axle is practical for two reasons. On the one hand this does not use up any valuable loading space and on the other hand this is precisely the location where the highest concentration of particulates is to be found near to the vehicle.
All particulate filters are equipped with sensors which allow the online monitoring of the efficiency of the systems. Here MANN+HUMMEL records information on the filtration performance, the amount of cleaned air, the concentration of particulates and the weather data. The data is then sent to a cloud, visualized via a web interface and then evaluated by filtration experts.
Alfred Weber, CEO at MANN+HUMMEL, describes the need for action: “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?”
In his talk addressed to policy makers Weber described his ideas about the necessary conditions. In his view the legislator should concentrate on prescribing limit values and check for compliance. Then one should allow scientific and industrial representatives and their brilliant developers the space to solve the problem of how the limit values can be met. According to Weber, if there are too many rules, this will restrict the creativity of the developers. “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.”
Achim Kampker, CEO of StreetScooter, subsidiary of the Deutsche Post DHL Group, praises the further improvement of the ecological balance thanks to these vehicles: “With these new fine dust particle filters from MANN+HUMMEL, we can further improve the environmental performance of our StreetScooters. We are pleased to participate in this field trial and to pioneer what will become a major trend.”
Werner Spec, mayor of Ludwigsburg, is happy about the event in his city: “Our activities towards sustainability are varied and have been recognized with the award as Germany’s most sustainable medium-sized city in 2014”. However, one cannot be satisfied with the air quality either in Ludwigsburg or the larger neighboring city of Stuttgart. In the opinion of the mayor, the project presented by the three cooperation partners is a measure which is considerably more effective and clever than a driving ban.
According to estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), every year roughly 47,000 people in Germany die from the effects of particulates. In the meantime the city of Stuttgart is known in the region for its fine dust alarm.