It’s being billed as the Japanese reinvention of the wheel – this time with orange peel!
Yokohama has started selling tyres that use orange oil extracted from rinds in place of petroleum to make rubber.
The oil for the tyres is extracted from the peels in much the same way as if it were being used for more traditional applications such as pesticides or cleaning products.
Officials won’t say exactly how many pounds of peels it takes to make a tyre, but apparently it’s a lot.
Orange oil not only saves petroleum used in producing tyres but can also improve fuel efficiency, Yokohama says. The orange oil in the tyre gives it a better grip, contributing to a 20% reduction in rolling resistance.
To show off the tyres’ durability, several racing teams are already using the racing version of the orange-oil tyres, including those at the American Le Mans Series at the Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City in May, where the teams drove Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.
“Every gallon of gas saved by the tire means 20 fewer pounds of CO2 released into the atmosphere, and because [the tyre] is made from natural elements, most of its material is derived from renewable resources,” says Mark Chung, director of corporate strategy and planning for Yokohama.
He says the wearability on the tyre is comparable to regular petroleum tyres. The tyre is available in sizes mostly fitting a variety of hybrid and smaller conventional vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Nissan Versa and VW Golf.