TOKYO (Oct. 21, 2005) — Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. has developed an environmentally friendly tire that reduces the use of petroleum-based materials by nearly 60 percent and cuts rolling resistance 30 percent.
Marketed in Japan by Sumitomo's Dunlop Falken Tyres Ltd. unit, the Enasave ES801 replaces a large percentage of the synthetic rubber with epoxidized natural rubber (NR), the carbon black with silica, petroleum-based processing oils with vegetable-based ones and the synthetic casing fibers with vegetable fiber-based materials.
Sumitomo, which launched the tire at the Tokyo Motor Show, said these changes have reduced the tire's makeup to 30 percent petroleum-based materials from 56 percent. The Tokyo-based tire maker claims the use of silica-reinforced epoxidized NR cuts the tire's rolling resistance 30 percent vs. its conventional tires.
In addition, the firm has designed the tire with no lettering in the area between the tread shoulder and sidewall, a change Sumitomo claims reduces a vehicle's aerodynamic drag by the equivalent of removing one side view mirror.
Epoxidized NR is a development that Sumitomo claims allows it to use a higher percentage of NR without sacrificing gripping power—a performance problem associated with NR.
The tire will come in three sizes—185/65R15, 195/65R15 and 195/55R16—and be sold in the Japanese replacement market.