A new Bridgestone tire uses proprietary technologies to lessen the friction and heat buildup that can contribute to increased levels of rolling resistance, an enemy of fuel efficiency.
Using Bridgestone's NanoPro-Tech, the Ecopia EP100—the first aftermarket product in North America's Ecopia tire line—controls the interaction between polymers, filler materials, and rubber chemicals used to manufacture the tire.
"A tire that builds up a lot of heat increases rolling resistance, thereby increasing the amount of fuel that the vehicle consumes. When carbon particles rub against each other, that creates friction and heat, but NanoPro-Tech keeps the carbon particles consistently spaced apart so there is not as much heat and friction generation," Kurt Berger, Manager of Consumer Products Sales Engineering for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, said at Ecopia EP100's unveiling at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show.
The Ecopia EP100 is the first tire produced using NanoPro-Tech initiatives, but the new tire showcases other low rolling resistance attributes. "There are also interconnected tread blocks that prevent movement of the tread elements. The tread is essentially a continuous string of elements that are locked together, thereby minimizing movement, which contributes to rolling resistance. In addition, the interconnected tread blocks provide for enhanced wet performance," said Berger.
Design elements of the Ecopia EP100 serve a role in helping to elicit better tire performance. For instance, high angle lateral grooves help prevent hydroplaning. Consistent surface contact via a special tread block design helps improve wet and dry handling and reduces irregular wear. And, 3-D cut circumferential ribs help reduce irregular wear as well as lessen road noise.
The Ecopia EP100 is a summer replacement tire fitment available in H- and V-speed ratings and six different sizes, ranging from 14- to 16-in. "As Bridgestone's lowest rolling resistance tire to date, we expect the Ecopia EP100 to be a popular aftermarket choice for hybrid-electric and other fuel-efficient vehicles," said Berger.