Crain News Service report
ESSEN, Germany (June 9, 2014) — The safety implications of European Union (EU) regulations requiring tire labeling and the fitment of tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) will be as significant as the environmental benefits, according to Hans-Jürgen Drechsler, managing director of the German tire and rubber industry association, the BRV (Bundesverband Reifenhandel und Vulkaniseur-Handwerk eV).
As of Nov. 1, all newly registered M1/M1G category vehicles must be equipped with TPMS devices. This follows the introduction of tire labeling in the EU to promote reduced rolling resistance, improved wet grip and lower road noise.
“The environment is usually regarded as the main driver for TPMS technology, but this is only half the story,” Mr. Drechsler said at a news conference at the opening of Reifen 2014, held May 27-30 in Essen. “Safety is also (important). We should count both.”
A drop of just 8 to 9 psi from the optimum tire pressure can increase the risk of skidding when changing lanes, reduce directional stability in bends by up to 50 percent and extend braking distance by several meters, according to the BRV leader. Moreover, he said, around 80 percent of tire blowouts and failures can be linked to loss of air pressure.
About 35 percent of all vehicles driven in Europe today are running on under-inflated tires, said Mr. Drechsler, who went on to highlight the impact of this problem on the environment.
Incorrect tire pressure, he said, is wasting around 3.1 billion liters (4 percent) of the fuel consumed on European roads — leading to a significant and unnecessary rise in vehicle emissions. This, he added, was responsible for a 45-percent reduction in kilometers mileage of the tire.
“Based on an annual mileage per car in Germany of 14,210 kilometer and average fuel consumption of 6.6 liters per 100 kilometer, this corresponds to an increased fuel consumption of around 40 liters per year and the corresponding amount of additional emissions,” he said.
The tire labeling regulation was, according to Mr. Drechsler, a “political signal” sent to make tire manufacturers more aware of their environmental responsibilities. He noted, though, that manufacturers carry out test and development work across a much broader range of parameters to deliver products in-line with market requirements.
This report appeared on the website of European Rubber Journal, a UK-based sister publication of Tire Business.