How Tyres Are Driving the Automotive Industry’s Green Targets

published Nov 25, 2022
1 min read

The shape of the automotive industry is set to rapidly change in the years to come as it plays a major role in reversing the climate emergency.

Transportation is listed as a major contributor to climate change by the United Nations due to the burning of fossil fuels in many petrol and diesel cars. New petrol and diesel cars will be banned in the UK from 2030, with new hybrid vehicles also being phased out from 2035.

However, that will still leave a large number of cars powered by internal combustion on the roads, so other technologies need to be produced to make cars more efficient and cut down on emissions.

Tyre technology is one area that has seen great strides made. In this article, we’ll investigate whether eco-friendly tyres can help make a difference.

Greenjournal Roadtrip

The role of the Tyre Industry Project (TIP)

Huge names from the tyre industry including Bridgestone, Continental, Michelin and Pirelli have partnered since 2005 to “proactively identify and address the potential human health and environmental impacts associated with the life cycle impacts of tires to contribute to a more sustainable future”.

Around 65% of the world’s tyre manufacturing is represented in the group, where CEOs put heads together to discuss technical innovations as well as other factors such as safer disposal and how tyre materials impact the natural world.

Seven key areas – known as ‘impact pathways’ – have been identified to drive a greener future for car tyres:

  • Accelerating and scaling activities
  • Implementing sustainable procurement practices
  • Developing pathways to decarbonise operations
  • Ensuring safe and including working environments
  • Further leveraging multi-stakeholder efforts
  • Accelerating the sustainable mobility transition
  • Advancing innovation

How are eco tyres different from normal tyres?

Eco tyres typically are made of compounds of many different types of rubber and other materials that work together to decrease friction with the road to increase fuel efficiency while also remaining safe and grippy when cornering and dealing with harsh weather conditions.

A reduction in ‘rolling resistance’ means drivers don’t need to put their foot down on the gas pedal as much to get the car going.

Manufacturers achieve this by setting novel tread patterns on the tyres and adjusting tyre thickness.

Car Sales in the UK

Are eco-friendly tyres worth the investment?

One thing’s for sure, all this innovation doesn’t come cheap. Eco tyres are typically more expensive than standard alternatives, but that’s not necessarily a reason to discount them.

If you are already an economical driver, spending an extra £20 or so per tyre could actually net you fuel savings in the hundreds of pounds per year.

After a year that has seen fuel prices suffer wild volatility and the overall cost of living skyrocket, it might just be an investment that pays back quicker than you’d expect.