By Sharad Matade

What will be the fundamental differences in raw materials for tyres for electric vehicles and tyres for IC engine vehicles?

When it comes to EVs, we see the need to significantly improve air retention performance. For the inner liner this involves using higher levels of halobutyl in the formulation and typically slightly thicker gauge than the global average. The global average inner liner uses an 80/20 BIIR/NR blend with approximately a 0.75mm cured gauge. We recommend utilising 100phr BIIR and a gauge of at least 1mm to obtain best in class air retention of </=1.75%

What will be the impact of electric vehicles on tyres?

EVs are 300kg heavier than ICE cars and deliver instant torque from standstill adding extra stress on tyres. In addition, like ICE cars, many studies have shown that consumers in general are not very good at maintaining their vehicles tyres. We estimate the global fleet on average is driving on tyres that are underinflated by 10-15%.

Our in-use vehicle testing has shown this can make a big difference in vehicle efficiency. Tyres that stay properly inflated can increase EV vehicle range by 3-7%.

But we shouldn’t forget about the one billion ICE vehicles in the world today as well. Improved air retention improves fuel consumption by 1-2%. If 25% of the global vehicle fleet, which is the approximate size of the EU fleet, was equipped today with tyres that had best in class air retention performance of 1.75% versus the global average of 2.4%, approximately four billion liters of fuel would have been saved and eight million tonnes of CO2 globally, equivalent to removing 2.5 million cars from the roads.

And for consumers there are additional benefits such as increased tyre life by 4-16% depending on the type of vehicle, reducing the premature scrapping of tyres.

What will be difference between air retention rates of tyre for EVs and ICE vehicles?

We recommend air loss rate of < 2% for ICE and < 1.75% for EV.

How does halobutyl rubber have better air retention capabilities than butyl rubber?

Butyl rubber in general has greater air barrier properties versus natural rubber due to its densely packed molecular structure, or in simpler terms this creates a longer path to permeate through the polymer. Halogenating butyl greatly extended the usefulness of butyl by providing much higher curing rates and enabling co-vulcanisation with other rubber materials required in the manufacturing of tyres.

Why, according to you, are auto makers not serious about having specifications on air retention in tyres when it can help to increase fuel efficiency?

We are seeing more OE vehicle manufacturers adopting tyre air retention specifications globally. OEs are recognising the importance of maintaining consistent vehicle performance and efficiency over the life of the vehicle. This drives improved customer satisfaction – And it all starts where the rubber meets the road

What is the scope for improvement in tyre regulations and specifications?

The goal of any new standard or regulation should be to drive consistent and reliable performance-efficiency improvements over the life of a tyre.
Current tyre labeling doesn’t reflect real world experience
• Testing is conducted under optimal conditions only
• Limited transparency to the consumer on how the tyre will perform in real world conditions
• Doesn’t account for air loss and the negative effect on performance and efficiency
For instance, our testing has shown that any improvements in rolling resistance can be lost in a few weeks or months. Negating any benefits for the consumer and environmental benefits for society
Effectiveness of regulations or labeling would be significantly improved by incorporating inflation pressure loss rate maximums.

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