While there were countless fuel- and emissions-saving automobiles debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the green theme extended to the suppliers to those vehicles as well.
Tire manufacturer Bridgestone used the occasion to unveil an eco-friendly model for the high-volume segment. The Ecopia EP150 tire is an addition to the Japanese manufacturer's Ecopia lineup that is committed to reducing rolling resistance and increasing efficiency. Specific design highlights are the EP150’s ability to combine high levels of safety in wet conditions, while contributing to lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Materials technology has played a big part in achieving this goal, namely Bridgestone’s NanoPro-Tech, which helps create a sidewall-reinforced rubber that offers improved carbon dispersion. The friction that occurs between the carbon molecules when the tire is loaded is reduced, in turn cutting the heat generation that takes place.
The NanoPro-Tech approach has previously only been used on the third-generation runflat tires that were introduced by Bridgestone earlier in the year. When used in those applications, heat-generation levels were cut by 50%.
In addition to a new approach to the materials used in the tire, the EP150 has a new tread pattern. This design uses a connected block and thin rib, which enhances contact pressure and improves performance on wet surfaces.
Bridgestone says that a 15% improvement has been made in rolling resistance compared with current products. It also confirms that this reduction ensures a 3% improvement in fuel efficiency and 3% reduction in CO2 levels.
Ecopia EP150 will be introduced as an integrated replacement and OE product for compact and midsize passenger cars with rims between 14- and 16-in in the 55 to 70 series. Announcements of OE fitments are expected soon, with Toyota one of the likely candidates, having taken the Ecopia EP300 tire on its IQ model in Europe.