Bridgestone Announces New Ecopia Tyre

Consumers no longer have to sacrifice roadholding, braking distance or tyre life when buying an environmentally-friendly tyre. This was the message from Bridgestone Marketing Manager, Tony Burns, as he announced the launch of Bridgestone’s flagship ‘green’ tyre, Ecopia.
“The Ecopia combines a unique tyre compound with fine detailing to give a tyre that not only reduces fuel consumption, but gives a quieter ride and improved roadholding,” Burns said. “Perhaps the greatest innovation of our new tyre is its ability to offer reduced rolling resistance without compromising on braking performance.”
The heart of the Ecopia formula is a specially-designed silica compound combined with a coupling agent which limits friction between the carbon compounds of the tyre, giving lower rolling resistance. With less energy being channeled into heat buildup, the Ecopia runs cooler and more economically – in controlled tests, the Ecopia showed itself to be 3.1 percent more fuel-efficient than an equivalent conventional tyre. Improved fuel-efficiency also means a reduction in Co2 emissions.
“Reduced emissions is a key target for the Ecopia,” commented Burns. “It’s widely believed that most of the lifetime emissions attributable to a tyre are released during its manufacture and disposal, but the real surprise is that 87 percent of a tyre’s emissions actually arise during its useful life. Cutting fuel consumption therefore plays a far bigger part in reducing the lifetime emissions of a tyre than is generally realised,” he added.
Despite its exceptional environmental performance, the Ecopia managed to shave almost six percent off the wet braking distance of its conventional counterpart during testing. This improvement is mainly due to rib linking technology which braces the tread blocks against longitudinal displacement under heavy braking. The rib linking combines with specially-designed contours which stabilise the shoulder of the tyre and resist deformation, contributing to better stability and reduced rolling resistance. This also reduces road noise, giving a more pleasant ride to vehicle occupants, and reducing noise pollution in roadside communities.
The result is a tyre which matches or outdoes a conventional tyre in all areas of the performance chart, but really shines in rolling resistance, with longer tyre life as an important additional bonus.
The Ecopia tyre is available in a variety of sizes to fit almost any vehicle on the roads, and is competitively priced against its conventional opposition. “The Ecopia is the first green tyre to outstrip conventional tyres on overall performance,” Burns commented. “It represents not only a major milestone for Bridgestone, but a new era in tyre technology,” he concluded.

Flying Start To 2012 Tyre Check Campaign

Bridgestone’s ongoing Tyre Safety Check programme celebrated the start of the 2012 survey season by recording the highest-ever percentage of safely-inflated tyres yet measured by the tyre maker in a single location. The benchmark was set during the first Tyre Safety Check event of the year, conducted in February in conjunction with Pick n Pay in the car park of the Carnival Mall in Benoni.
The survey was performed by Bridgestone tyre specialists who categorised each tyre tested as ‘fine’ (inflation pressure between 180 kPa and 290 kPa), ‘dangerous’ (below 180 kPa but above 150 kPa) or ‘extremely dangerous’ (below 150 kPa or above 290 kPa).
“A total of 1132 tyres, fitted to 283 vehicles, were surveyed at Carnival Mall,” said Bridgestone Public Relations Manager, Mandy Lovell. “We were pleased to discover that 95 percent of tyres surveyed fell into the ‘fine’ category, with only one percent in the ‘dangerous’ category and four percent in the ‘extremely dangerous’ bracket,” she added. “Two of the three categories set new records for inflation safety in a single location.”
Lovell said that the 95 percent of tyres in the ‘fine’ category was a dramatic jump over the previous record of 88 percent, which was achieved once in 2009 and again in 2011. The new record for the ‘dangerous’ category was also a considerable improvement over the previous record of five percent, which was achieved in two surveys in 2011. However, the record for the ‘extremely dangerous’ category remains at three percent and was set during a survey in Durban in 2009.
The Tyre Safety Check survey is now in its sixth year and the surveys include extensive interaction with vehicle owners, including distributing leaflets on tyre safety. In addition to the tyre pressure data gathered, it was found that three percent of tyres surveyed at Carnival Mall were worn past the legal tread depth limit or had other flaws like cuts or bulges.
Lovell said that the ongoing nature of the National Tyre Safety Check programme meant it was possible to start identifying long-term trends in tyre condition and inflation pressure. “Up until the end of 2008, we were routinely finding that more than 20 percent of tyres checked in a survey location were so badly worn or damaged that they required replacement. By the end of 2009, this figure had dropped to around 10 percent. But since 2010, a level of three to six percent has become typical,” she explained. “We have noted a steady improvement with each passing year.”
She said that the improvements in inflation accuracy and condition of tyres meant that motorists were less likely to face road emergencies arising from tyre failure. “Incorrect inflation and poor tyre condition are the leading causes of tyre failure,” she commented. “Bridgestone commends the Carnival Mall survey participants for taking tyre safety seriously,” she concluded.