From Goodyear’s Grégory Boucharlat, Vice President Commercial Europe, and Ben Glesener, Regional Technology Director for Commercial EMEA
The future’s green for the transport industry.
Operators are increasingly focused on sustainability, driven both by legislation and demand from their customers to balance the growing need for movement of goods with a more environmentally-friendly model. Uptime, mileage and fuel efficiency are being optimised, all while striving for reduced emissions. Increasingly green buying criteria are being put in place, with a renewed focused on selecting products and business partners that are as sustainable as possible. Every minute and penny counts.
An area which is regularly overlooked though, is the impact that tyres can have. In urban areas, truck tyres can be responsible for up to 20% of CO2 emissions. For fleets on long-haul motorway trips, that can leap to 35%. That’s why, at Goodyear, we work directly with OEMs and haulers to support their efforts towards sustainable transport. We’re constantly working on new technologies, intelligent designs and innovative materials, all to improve the environmental impact of our offering.
Low-rolling-resistance (LRR) tyres are often overlooked by the wider industry as a means of improving sustainability. By lowering rolling resistance as much as possible though, the emissions levels and fuel efficiency of the vehicle are directly impacted. That’s why, for us at Goodyear, they are a key focus area.
There are several different factors that can impact rolling resistance. As such, the production of this type of tyre is a complex process. We assess the design of the tread profile for ways of optimising the deformation caused by load and motion forces, as well as opportunities to use the most advanced raw materials. It might not sound like game-changing work, but the results are startling. A fleet of 100 trucks using an LRR range – such as the Goodyear FUELMAX GEN-2 – can lower its total cost of ownership by over £35,000 per year on fuel-costs; a saving which, of course, suggests an equally significant environmental impact1.
Tyre pressure monitoring systems
When we talk about sustainability and tyres, it’s impossible to understate the importance of proper maintenance. Keeping tyres at the correct pressure will not only reduce the chance of suffering a tyre-related breakdown, but will also further enhance rolling resistance, meaning the vehicle is likely to consume less fuel.
At Goodyear, we’ve developed smart algorithms that help to keep a close eye on tyre pressures. Advanced solutions such as the Goodyear’s TPMS Tyre Pressure Monitoring System report tyre pressures in real-time, sending an alert to the driver and the operational manager whenever the pressure is incorrect and indicating the gravity of the issue with a straightforward colour code, so the correct action can be taken. It might be that the tyre needs to be replaced right away or simply checked by a professional, either after the next delivery or at the next service appointment. Either way, the system will report it.
We have a great deal of faith in systems such as this, and their potential to make transport more sustainable. Many customers that have used our own system have spoken to us about the positive impact that it has had on both their carbon footprint and total cost of ownership.
Tyre innovation is rapidly accelerating, with some new solutions and materials, such as soybean, dandelion or even rice husk ashes, among the most unusual. One such development is the Multiple Life concept, which sees some truck tyres regrooved or even retreaded in order to extend their service lifetime and significantly reduce the number of tyres that need to be recycled.
There are multiple benefits to using a retreaded tyre. For one thing, they deliver up to 25% more mileage, while lowering the tyre costs by up to 30%. They also use significantly less oil, chemicals and other raw materials than a new tyre, and their production actually causes fewer emissions. All of this delivers a considerably more sustainable model of production.
Conclusion; An enormous amount of development goes into creating a tyre that ticks all of the boxes on the operational side and is still in line with – both current and future – sustainability regulations. Fleets need a tyre supplier that can bring real value, the right products and smart digital solutions.
At Goodyear, we’re at the forefront of this innovation, developing a range of next-generation products and solutions that address the evolving needs of the industry. Low-rolling-resistance tyres, for example, aren’t the be-all and end-all of sustainability. They’re a vital cog, supporting the improvement of the transport sector and contributing to a sustainable, profitable and carbon-neutral future.
It truly is incredible what difference a tyre can make.