Eco tyres: how are they different?

Eco tyres: how are they different?
Have you ever wondered how modern eco tyres differ from normal rubber? How they achieve the apparently contrary balance of less friction to increase your mpg without seeing your car slide off the road at the first bend you encounter? Well, as you’d imagine, it’s interesting science.

The term ‘green’ or ‘eco’ tyre refers to a new type of environmentally friendly rubber, mixed with innovative construction.

Although they have been available in the UK for decades, the technology has continued to evolve – and with the world looking to make the switch to Net Zero emissions – they could play a key role within the automotive industry in the years ahead.

While the UK was still a part of the European Union, new legislation was introduced to make it mandatory to display an eco-rating on every new tyre sold. This is drawn from three categories: fuel efficiency, wet grip, and noise. Green tyre technology focuses on fuel efficiency.

Despite the fact that the UK is no longer a part of the EU – the legislation still stands. And with further laws set to be introduced in the future, you might end up seeing a lot more green and eco tyres out on the roads.

What is a green tyre?

A green or eco tyre is a type of tyre that is designed to be more environmentally friendly than traditional tyres.

They are made from materials that are more sustainable and have a lower environmental impact.

They are typically made from natural rubber, organic cotton, and other eco-friendly materials. These materials reduce the amount of energy needed to manufacture the tyre, as well as reduce the amount of waste produced.

In total, these tyres contain in excess of 200 ingredients and more than 20 different types of rubber – each with their own desirable characteristics. They also include silica which helps grip the road better.

Green tyres also tend to be more durable, providing better grip, better braking, and greater fuel efficiency. In addition, green tyres are typically lighter in weight, which can help reduce fuel consumption.

As a result, they are becoming increasingly popular, as more people are looking for ways for drivers to reduce their carbon footprint.

Eco tyre ratings

As the EU and the UK work to reduce their collective carbon footprint, eco ratings on tyres are becoming increasingly important for consumers.

These provide a way for consumers to make informed decisions about which tyres are most environmentally friendly. This can help reduce emissions from vehicles.

The EU eco rating system rates tyres on a scale of A-G, with A being the most eco-friendly and G being the least eco-friendly. Tyres that have a rating of A or B are considered to be the most eco-friendly. These tyres are designed to be more efficient and reduce fuel consumption by up to 7-10%. Some claim to be even higher than that.

In addition to the eco ratings, the EU has also introduced labelling requirements for tyres. This labelling system provides consumers with information about the tyre’s rolling resistance, wet grip performance, fuel efficiency, and noise.

What is rolling resistance?

This is the key part of where green and eco tyres can help tackle rising emissions and climate change.

As a part of the labelling system, the EU created an eco-rating system for tyres based on their rolling resistance.

Rolling resistance is a measure of how much energy is lost when a tyre is in motion. Tyres with low rolling resistance require less energy to move, which in turn reduces fuel consumption and emissions.

Tyres that have a higher rolling resistance require more energy to move, resulting in higher fuel consumption and emissions.

This is why the labelling is important for the future of the industry and for the Government’s overall environmental goals for the decades ahead.

Rolling resistance of a tyre can account for as much as 30% of a vehicle’s fuel consumption and a quarter of its CO2 emissions. Reduce this and you’ll also reduce your vehicle’s carbon footprint by up to 300kg a year.

There’s plenty of evidence that green tyres work, too. Research from the University of Munich argues that a family travelling 20,000 miles per year in an average hatchback or saloon can, on average, cut their fuel bill by hundreds of pounds.

The study also found that equipping all the cars on the road with eco-friendly tyres would save 20 billion litres of fuel a year, and cut worldwide CO2 emissions by 50 million tonnes.

A common misconception is that green or eco tyres provide less grip and that a low rolling resistance ‘green’ tyres also mean less grip. The eco rubber can actually perform better in some tests than more generalist all-round tyres.

Benefits of eco tyres

Not only are green tyres better for the environment, but they can also save you money in the long run.

Here are some of the key benefits of green tyres:

  1. Reduced fuel consumption: Green tyres are designed to reduce rolling resistance and improve fuel economy. This means that your car will use less fuel, resulting in lower emissions and lower running costs.
  2. Improved safety: Green tyres provide better grip and handling than some conventional tyres.
  3. Reduced noise pollution: Eco tyres are designed to reduce noise pollution and provide a quieter ride.
  4. Longer lasting: Green tyres are designed to last longer than some conventional tyres, meaning you don’t have to replace them as often.
  5. Better for the environment: As eco tyres are made from a range of natural or recycled materials, they are more biodegradable than most conventional tyres.

There are many benefits to using green tyres, and these are just a few of them. If you are looking for a way to reduce your environmental impact and save money, green tyres are a great option.

Challenges with green tyres

Even though eco tyres have become increasingly popular due to their environmental benefits in recent years, but there are some drawbacks to consider as well.

Some of the more recognisable brands have green tyres that are typically more expensive than their regular tyres.

In some cases, some of the cheaper green tyres may also not perform as well as regular tyres. Green tyres are designed to be more environmentally friendly, but this can mean they are not as grippy, durable, or able to handle high speeds as some regular tyres. This can be particularly problematic if you rely on your car to get around a lot.

Finally, green tyres may not be as widely available as regular tyres, making it difficult to find the right size or model. This can be a major inconvenience and may mean you have to go out of your way to find the tyres you need.

RAC Tyres has a wide range of green tyres that can be an excellent option for drivers looking at becoming more environmentally conscious – while also saving money.

Do you think you may switch to green tyres? What other eco-friendly technology do you think should become more commonplace within the automotive industry? Leave your comments below.

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