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SMR data could prove crucial in fight to reduce brake pad particulates, says Epyx

Data provided by Epyx’s service and maintenance platform could play a key part in fleet brake pad particulate measurement, according to the firm.

The government consultation looked at sources of emissions other than exhausts

As drivers switch to EVs, non-exhaust particulate matter will increase in importance, growing from less than 8% of national emissions in 2017 to 10% in 2030.

The platform is used to manage four million company cars and vans and, the firm says, contains almost certainly unparalleled amounts of data about fleet brake pad wear and replacement for cars and vans in the UK.

Last month saw the Government’s Air Quality Expert Group issue a report urging the fleet industry to start addressing the issue of particulate emissions from brakes and tyres.

It follows the final Clean Air Strategy published in January 2019, which set out that the Government is looking to address toxic non-exhaust particulate emissions from vehicles which include micro plastics and can pollute air and water, including by working internationally on ways to measure these emissions and to develop standards to control them.

Tim Meadows, commercial director, said: “This is a very new area for fleets but, seeing as the Government estimates that these kinds of emissions will account for 10% of some kinds of particulate emissions by 203e
“A lot of research will undoubtedly go into reducing the PMs created by pads and technology introduced that will reduce the pollution created at source as a result.

“However, while that process is underway, there probably needs to be better monitoring and understanding of brake pad wear – and we perhaps have more information available than anyone else. The vast majority of fleet pad maintenance that occurs in the UK does so using 1link Service Network as a processing mechanism.”

Meadows added that the information available could include metrics such as the average times between pad replacement for particular cars.

“It’s interesting to think of brake pads in the same way as other fleet consumables such as fuel. Many fleets track fuel use in a detailed manner because it provides information about not just petrol and diesel purchasing but emissions, too.

“If two drivers in identical vehicles on similar routes are using widely differing amounts of fuel, then one is probably driving less conservatively and can be trained to deliver better results. The same is undoubtedly true of pad wear so being able to track and measure pad replacement could be a crucial measurement.”

He added that Epyx’s view was that this kind of end-to-end measurement of fleet vehicle environmental impact was likely to grow in the coming years.

“For decades, we have looked at little more than tailpipe emissions but the whole life environmental impact of a vehicle is wide-ranging.

“This might include, for example, the emissions generated by a car or van’s manufacture but, closer to home, there is likely to be growing interest in areas around service and maintenance.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.