By Andrew Williams,
Signs are appearing that leading tyre manufacturers are reacting to consumer demand and embracing environmentally-friendly technology to produce tyres that are ecologically sound, in both usage and production.
Low Rolling Resistance (LRR) is a relatively recent addition to the terminology of tyres, and one that we at ETYRES have highlighted over recent months [Years?]. Tyres made from the new tyre compounds, incorporating a percentage of silica, produce less friction between road and tyre, and allow the wheels to roll more freely. The first, and possibly most appealing, advantage of tyres that roll more easily is that they reduce fuel consumption. Put quite simply, it takes less fuel to push the tyre along the tarmac. Industry experts claim that the use of Low Rolling Resistance tyres can reduce fuel usage by up to 4%.
Burning less fuel is obviously a financial bonus for motorists, but it also lowers carbon dioxide emissions, which is good for the environment. The eco-friendly nature of these tyres is further highlighted by the fact that their production is also better for the planet. They use fewer raw materials, and are made by processes that emit less CO2 than traditional tyre making.
It seems to be a win-win situation, so why aren’t we all driving on LRR tyres? As you might have expected there is a drawback to LRR. Making tyres that run slickly and smoothly serves to lessen their traction, and affect performance when braking, and in wet conditions. Until now! Leading producers Pirelli, claim to have overcome these drawbacks, with the recent launch of their EcoImpact tyres. Pirelli Tyres’ Managing Director, Francesco Gori, has stated that Pirelli have managed to produce an LRR tyre that combines Low Rolling Resistance with improved braking-performance and durability. The new Pirelli Cinturato EcoImpact reduces rolling resistance by 20%, and cuts fuel consumption by 4%, while displaying improved braking and extending wear time by 30%. This represents a huge step forward in ecological-tyre production.
At the same time, market research by Michelin has revealed that manufacturers are keen to follow the green route. During a recent roadshow their representatives found that car producers are prepared to pay a premium for environmentally-friendly Low Rolling Resistance tyres. The increased production of such tyres would help the industry to meet EU demands for a reduction in CO2 emissions from 130 to 120 grams per kilometre.
The final bonus for the motorist is that these tyres should be cheaper than their less environmentally-friendly counterparts. The LRR tyres require less raw materials, and should therefore lower production costs.
The future appears to be not only green, but friendly to the economy as well as to the environment.