car news

Electric Audi prevents ‘second-hand smoke’ in traffic

October 17, 2022

Smallest dust particles

Okay, just some numbers. Did you know that 85% of all particulate matter in traffic is released through wear and tear on brakes, tires and the road surface? The smallest dust particles may be barely perceptible to the naked eye, but they can be inhaled.

World Health Organization WHO recommended a drastic tightening of particulate matter emission limits in 2021. Experts expect it will be difficult to meet this especially in urban areas. A car that filters air may offer a solution.

Fine dust is not fine at all

Several cities are already using stationary systems to capture particulate matter. As a mobile system, the Audi Urban Purifier has important advantages. Thus, emissions from the car itself as well as from other vehicles are captured at the place where they originate. This is done with a filter located at the front of the car in front of the radiator and thus in the airflow. Controlled via a variable-opening air inlet, it functions like a vacuum cleaner: as the air continues to flow, fine dust particles are left behind in the filter.

Audi Urban Purifier

Share recycled materials

The filter of the Audi Urban Purifier is easy to maintain. Replacement will take place during regular service calls. The filter itself consists of 15% recycled materials, the complete system 60%.

Passive filtering

Since the start of the research phase in 2020, Audi has been using e-tron models as test vehicles. During driving, there is passive filtering. That is, the movement of the car causes air to flow through the filter system to capture particulate matter. Active filtering takes place during the charging process. The fan, which is standard in every EV, then feeds ambient air through the filtration system to capture particulate matter. Especially in cities, the system proves its worth because particulate emissions are much higher here than outside.

Proven effectiveness

In extensive testing, the Audi Urban Purifier has proven its effectiveness. In busy cities, for example, an e-tron – depending on the usage scenario – was found to be able to capture an amount of particulate matter equal to its own emissions. Without the system having any adverse effect on the operation of the car, even at high temperatures.

To make the system even more efficient, Audi is working with MANN+HUMMEL to link it to weather stations, for example. It also wants to make it possible for occupants of an e-tron to see when the system is active and how much particulate matter has already been captured. That still requires the necessary software to map that out.