Author - hessamaldin

Ply rating or load range – what to look for when choosing tires for hauling

When it comes to ply rating, load range and choosing tires for hauling, things can get a little confusing. These numbers (or letters) are branded on the side of a tire’s sidewall and they identify how much load the tire can safely carry at a specified inflation pressure.

Here’s why it can be confusing: A modern tire with a 10-ply rating doesn’t necessarily have 10 actual plies in it. This goes back to the days when tires were made of cotton. Back then, the ply rating referred to how many layers of cotton had been used in the tire’s construction. The number of plies was used to determine the relative strength of the tire (i.e. the more plies, the more heavy-duty the tire).

These days, ply rating has become a redundant term because most radial passenger tires have just one or two body plies. Light truck tires, including those with heavy-duty ratings (10 ply and above), generally have only two or three plies.

In other words, ply rating is merely a reflection of how strong a tire is in terms of withstanding higher inflation pressures and carrying heavier loads.

The Adoption of Load Ranges

Modern technology has allowed manufacturers to create tires with fewer plies, which caused the industry to adopt load range designations over ply ratings. The information is presented in a slightly different manner depending on the type of tire you’re using. This information can be found on the sidewall of your tire.

Passenger Tires feature specific categories, with most falling in the ‘standard load’ range.

  • Light Load(branded as LL on the sidewall) has a maximum load pressure of 35 PSI
  • Standard Load(SL or no branding) also has a maximum load pressure of 35 PSI
  • Extra Load(XL) has a maximum load pressure of 41 PSI

Light Truck Tires (LT) designate ranges in ascending alphabetical order, with load range ‘B’ representing a 4-ply rating at 35 PSI; C representing a 6-ply rating at 50 PSI, and so on. As you can see, the further down the alphabet you go, the strong the tire will be.

Special Trailer Service Tires

Similar to light truck tires, special trailer (ST) tires are usually available in multiple load ranges and follow the same alphabetical rating system as LT tires.

It’s important to note that load range varies by tire size and inflation pressure. For example, a larger tire with a ‘D’ rating will hold more air and can be rated for a higher load than a smaller tire with the same ‘D’ rating. Also, a given tire size at a higher air pressure results in a higher rated load.

Considering Load Index

Regardless of whether you’re changing tire sizes or switching the type of tire you’re using, it’s essential to ensure the load index listed on the new tire’s sidewall is either equal to, or greater than, the load index of the tire you’re replacing.

Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo North America

When: September 12-14, 2017
Where: Novi, Detroit, Michigan
Exhibition Cost: Free to attend

About Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo

Based in Detroit, Michigan, America’s capital for electric-vehicle manufacturing, Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo highlights advances right across the powertrain. From passenger and commercial vehicles to off-highway industrial vehicles, this manufacturing and engineering event showcases the latest innovations across a vast range of vehicles. Running concurrent to the exhibition is the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Conference, which attracts technical leaders and executives from global technology companies to reveal what is driving demand, and shaping novel technologies and new innovations at the cutting edge. 

The wide-ranging sessions cover performance vehicle technology transfer, technology transfer from aerospace to EV, technologies for improving efficiency and performance of H/EVs, the impact of autonomous driving features, 48V and low-voltage mild-hybrid architectures (including energy storage design considerations), electric and hybrid bus development, the commercial and vocational electric vehicle sector, P0-P4 architectures and more.

Since 2010 this dual event has experienced exponential growth achieving a sell-out exhibition and record attendance year on year, and bringing in some of the leading names as exhibitors, speakers, delegates and visitors, including Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, American Airlines, Hyundai, Ford, Valeo, BorgWarner, NovaBus, Chrysler, NASA, GM and many more.

Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo is attended by industry leaders, businesspeople, technicians, consultants, and research and development professionals, all looking for greater efficiency, safety, and cost reduction.

Top advantages of tubeless tyres

Tyres significantly impact the way a vehicle grips the surface and handles. They not only affect the fuel efficiency but also determine passengers’ and vehicle’s safety. While buying tyres, the preliminary denomination that we come across is tube-less or tube type tyres. Let’s understand the basic difference between these two types of tyres.

Difference between tubeless and tube-type tyres:

A tube-type tyre comes with an inflatable tube placed on the inside. The air in this tube doubles up as a cushion and makes for a smooth and comfortable riding experience even on an undulated tarmac. The tube balances the load of the car and improves dynamic stability.

A tubeless tyre, on the other hand, does not require a separate air tube inside it.  The rim of the wheel and the tire form an airtight seal. The rate of deflation of these tyres is less as compared to the ones with tube. Tubeless tyres weigh less, thus reducing un-sprung weight of the vehicle. This improves the performance of the vehicle by improving the maneuverability and handling.  These tyres make use of continuous rib moldings which are integrated in to the beads of the tyre, thus sealing the pressure.

Advantages of Tubeless tyres:

1) The rate of deflation is slow and uniform, giving drivers enough time to reach the nearest tyre repair centre. This slow rate of deflation also means that the driver gets enough time to slow down the vehicle.

2) They offer low resistance while driving, making the car feel lighter.

3) They offer improved stability and a comfortable ride.

4)  They last longer and are more durable than tube type tyres.

5) Repairing a tubeless tyre is relatively easy and not so pressing. Your vehicle can run a good number of kilometers if you keep refilling air.

6)  They have better heat dissipation as the air is in direct contact with the rim.

7) Damage to the tyre is less in case of a flat tyre because of the absence of the tube and slow rate of deflation.

8) The light weight of the tyres improves fuel efficiency.

Why is flushing your cooling system important?

Flushing your cooling system is important to the health of your radiator and other cooling system components. If your car is overheating, it may be time to have the radiator flushed. There are several benefits of flushing the cooling system. Read more below.


Flushing your cooling system will remove stale coolant.

Like oil and other fluids, coolant loses effectiveness over time. Replacing your coolant will ensure that the radiator and other components are able to properly cool your engine down and prevent overheating in your vehicle. We recommend that you read your car’s manual for specifications on when to replace coolant.

 A flush removes contaminants from the cooling system.

A cooling system flush will force contaminants such as rust, dirt and grime out of your radiator. This is important because these contaminants can damage the radiator over time. If contaminants block important passages, the coolant will not be able to get where it needs to be, potentially causing the vehicle to overheat.

 Prevent Electrolysis and Possible Blown Head Gaskets

Virtually all car engines have used an aluminium cylinder head and cast iron engine block since the late 1970’s. When you have different metals in connection with a fluid you get an electrical property called “electrolysis”. What happens with electrolysis, is that electricity flows between the aluminium parts of the engine to the other cast iron and steel parts of the engine through the engines coolant system water.

For example, if you only had tap water in your engine coolant system then a small electric current would flow between the different types of metal parts (mainly the aluminium cylinder head and the cast iron engine block). This could cause rapid corrosion between the two different metal surfaces, where they join with a Cylinder Head Gasket. These results are often corrosive pitting, flaking, etching out small pin holes, and eating away of the different metal parts and cylinder head gasket.

Other parts commonly affected by electrolysis are:

  • engine water pump
  • engine frost plugs
  • radiator core
  • radiator header tank
  • heater core
  • heater hoses
  • heater controls / valves
  • radiator cooling system hoses can become restricted or blocked with rust and other particles
  • radiator cap
  • engine cooling system thermostat and thermostat housing
  • coolant system temperature sensors
  • cooling system reservoir tank becomes discoloured with rusty water making it hard or impossible to see the coolant level
  • cooling system oil coolers
  • engine oil coolers (some high-performance vehicles)
  • intercoolers (some high-performance vehicles)
  • power steering coolers (some high-performance vehicles)

Flushing protects your water pump.

The water pump ensures that coolant continues to move around your engine while maintaining an optimum temperature. A radiator flush will improve the lifespan of your vehicle’s water pump by lubricating it, reducing damage caused by friction over time.

Radiator flushing extends your vehicle’s lifetime.
If your car overheats due to a broken cooling system, you could end up causing very expensive engine damage. In this case, it is often more cost efficient to buy a new car than to repair the engine in your old one. Regular maintenance of your cooling system will keep it running correctly, removing the risk of your vehicle overheating.


Checking your coolant.
To avoid serious burns, never remove the radiator cap while the vehicle is still warm. Wait at least 45 minutes for the engine to cool down completely and very carefully remove the radiator cap with a rag to prevent possible burns.

The best way to check the status of your coolant is by physically examining it. Remove your radiator cap (once the vehicle is cold) and examine the liquid in your radiator/coolant reservoir.

Does the coolant have particles floating around in it? This is a sign of rust in your cooling system. Rust will cause wearing of your cooling system over time. Depending on the amount of particles in the system, you should consider getting the coolant replaced soon, especially if the rust is accompanied by other problems such as high engine temperatures.

Rust in the coolant system will look brown (or orange / brown) and often leaves stain marks in the coolant system tank, on the bottom of the radiator cap and inside the radiator header tank. Most modern engines require antifreeze which should be a fairly bright colour, with common colours such as red, yellow or green.
If your cooling system has orange / brown rusty or clear looking water, then you need to get it serviced to ensure you have the right mixture of the correct anti freeze

 

What type of coolant to use?

Some engine configurations are more prone to overheating than others, especially in small, compact cars. If you have had previous problems with your overheating, we recommend using a coolant that has “anti boil” properties. These may cost a little more but the health benefits for your engine are worth it.
If your cooling system is in good condition, we suggest that you use a coolant which also contains cleaning additives. This will keep rust and other contaminants out of your radiator and cylinder head and engine block, meaning you won’t have to change your coolant for a long time.

 

IAA is the trade show for topics of the future

Dates / Show Hours

Trade days: 
Thursday, 14 September and Friday, 15 September 2017 

Public days:
Saturday, 16 September – Sunday, 24 September 2017 

Venue: 
Trade fair grounds, Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1, D-60327 Frankfurt/Main

Show Hours:
9.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m.

 

Preparations for world’s most important mobility show are running at full speed – New Mobility World has the latest developments in digitization, automation, electric mobility and new mobility services

“The preparations for the world’s most important mobility trade show, the 67th International Motor Show (IAA) Cars, are running at full speed. The IAA is the competitive marketplace for brands and new developments, and it is the only major trade fair in the world to showcase the entire value chain. And since 2015 it has added the New Mobility World focusing on topics for tomorrow’s mobility,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), speaking about the IAA that will take place in Frankfurt am Main in September and is organized by the VDA.

“So far, over 50 passenger car brands have registered for the exhibition, including the largest auto makers from Europe, the US and Asia. Furthermore, we have registrations from new Asian manufacturers who will be present at the IAA for the first time. They have chosen to exhibit at the leading trade show. That underscores the international reputation of the IAA. Then there are also many hundreds of suppliers. We currently have a very good number of registrations,” Wissmann emphasized. Once again, the visitors can look forward to the most interesting brands and models – because nine out of ten of the most popular and highest-value brands will be represented at the IAA.

“The world of mobility is changing, and the IAA is driving innovation. For example, in 2011 we presented electric mobility for the first time in a dedicated hall, before this forward-looking topic came to dominate many stands and halls from 2013 onward. In 2015, we launched the New Mobility World, a new format that shifts the spotlight onto dialog and interaction, and since then has continued to develop. The New Mobility World 2017 is the place for the future of mobility. This is a meeting place for disruptors and innovators from technology and IT companies, startups and established players. They include names such as BlaBlaCar, Harman, IBM, International Industries, Kaspersky, Merck, NXP, Qualcomm, Siemens, Sony, TomTom and T-Systems,” Wissmann explained. Visitors will be able to experience the fascinating innovations in digitization, automated driving and electric mobility not only in Hall 3.1, but also in action on the extensive open-air site (the “Agora”).

The importance of the IAA is also underscored, Wissmann said, by the fact that South by Southwest (SXSW, from Austin, Texas) and Mercedes-Benz in Frankfurt are jointly organizing the first ever “me Convention” – a conference that will provide new impulses for the social discourse on relevant future-related topics.

“The IAA is the trade show for the topics of the future. So the slogan of this IAA is tailor-made: ‘Future now.’ With a major focus on digitization, the IAA is once more positioning itself as an innovation showcase. Those who wish to display their ideas for the mobility of the future will be coming to the IAA. Take automated driving as an example: in 2015 the transport ministers of the G7 countries attended the IAA Cars and saw what ‘was possible.’ The IAA has thus once again established itself as the ideal political platform for pushing innovative topics forward. And now the new law on automated driving has been presented, which Federal Transport Minister Dobrindt had announced to his G7 counterparts. Germany – with politics and industry working closely together – thus proves to be a worldwide pacemaker when it comes to connected and automated driving,” Wissmann underscored.

“The automotive world will change rapidly in the coming years. The key words here are digitization, electric mobility and new mobility concepts. The VDA ensures that the IAA also continues to develop in line with these trends,” Wissmann said.

The VDA president sees one of the great strengths of the IAA in the fact that visitors can experience the brands. “Of course today the manufacturers communicate more and more via digital channels. But only at the show can people experience the new models live. We know that younger visitors in particular more often ‘get the bug’ when they touch a new car themselves and sit at the wheel. We are delighted that the IAA public is becoming younger all the time: in 2015 the average IAA visitor was 34 years old, i.e. three years younger than in 2013.” And for the business visitors there was nothing that could replace the personal exchange of information and ideas at the trade show.

The IAA is also a worldwide benchmark with its major attractions: specialist events, conferences, driving demonstrations, activities to join in, test drives, the off-road circuit, special shows such as the classic cars, offers for kids, and VIPs and famous sporting personalities visiting the exhibitors’ stands. In addition, the IAA is a major recruiting fair with its “job and career” section for specialists and the goING and workING programs for schoolchildren and students.

The 67th IAA Cars will take place in Frankfurt am Main from September 14 to 24, 2017, preceded by the Press Days on September 12 and 13. On September 14, Chancellor Merkel will officially open the IAA. September 14 and 15 are Trade Days, and from Saturday, September 16, the IAA will be open to the general public. Advance ticket sales have already started. The official IAA App will be available free of charge starting in August. It is the only app with complete, up-to-date information about exhibitors, the site map, innovations and activities. All additional information can be found at www.iaa.de.

 

AUTO PARTS WEST AFRICA

Dates: 13-16 SEPTEMBER 2017

Venue: GHANA INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR CENTRE

ACCRA, GHANA

Auto Parts 2017

WHAT’S IN THE OFFING
The Auto Parts West Africa Show will feature automotive aftermarket manufacturers and suppliers showcasing innovative products, services in this lucrative car industry to potential buyers under one roof. A platform to network, discuss emerging trends, solve common problems and make connections with professionals from all areas of the automotive industry.


Online Visitor Registration Form


Solvent- Based vs. Water-based Tire Dressings

Tire dressings, which are sometimes called tire shine products, have become a very important part of the auto appearance industry. In the past, these products were limited for use by the auto detailing industry or the auto owner by using retail products that were sprayed on or impregnated into a sponge. More recently, equipment in the tunnel and automatic carwash industries has become available to apply these products, saving consumers the time of applying the products on their own.

This article will explore the forms that tire dressing products come in, the advantages and disadvantages of each form of the product and how these products are being applied.

Tire dressing components

Almost all tire dressings have an active ingredient of silicone fluid. Silicone fluid is chemically inert, generally non-toxic and not an environmental concern. Silicone does, however, interfere with paint applications, which is why automotive body shops ban the use of silicone in their facilities.

Traditional tire dressings were mixtures of quick-drying solvents with a small amount of silicone. On application, the solvent (usually hexane or heptane) quickly evaporated and left behind a thin film of silicone fluid. This was a significant advantage for the automotive detailing industry, but the products were so flammable that few made it to retail shelves.

The industry has moved away from these types of formulations for several reasons, including flammability issues of the solvent, concerns regarding air quality and regulation, and health hazards associated with repeated exposure.

In order to address those concerns, today’s tire dressing formulations have evolved. Most dressings available today fall into two categories: solvent-based or water-based. Both still use the same active ingredient (silicone fluid) but have different carriers or co-solvents.

Solvent-based tire dressings

While the silicone that produces the shine is very easily dissolved into solvents, the main issue with solvents is that they are considered volatile organic carbon compounds (VOCs). VOCs have been subject to more and more regulation, since they add to other harmful carbon emissions.

Carbon emissions decrease the air quality in locations where the environment tends to trap these emissions, much as the smog does in Los Angeles. While the solvents used in traditional solvent-based tire dressings are not ozone-depleting compounds, some are more flammable than gasoline, and thus the industry has moved away from these for the most part.

Today’s solvent-based dressings work similarly to traditional dressings. However, the solvents used tend to evaporate much more slowly, although they still contain a carbon component that makes them VOCs. Also, the silicone content tends to be much higher.

This requires operators to apply the dressings differently by applying thin layers rather than heavy applications and using a sponge or brush rather than misting or spraying. This prevents pooling or slinging, which is caused by too thick a layer of silicone slinging off a moving tire onto the side of the vehicle.

Water-based tire dressings

Water-based tire dressings are also used. In this case, the solvent is replaced with water. Silicone fluid (an oil) and water do not naturally mix, so the fluid is broken into tiny droplets and suspended in water through a process called homogenization, in much the same way that milk fat is suspended in milk.

Many products use surfactants, which keep the emulsion stable but cause the silicone dressing to wash back off the tire. More premium products use thickeners and stabilizers, which do not cause the dressings to de-apply later. Water-based dressings exist in a variety of viscosity ranges and various amounts of silicone.

Much of the challenge in formulating a good water-based dressing is to find suspension- or emulsion-producing agents that hold the silicone fluid droplets suspended in water but do not pull the silicone back off of the tire the first time the tire gets wet. The lack of longevity is the concern with the typical white, milky macro-emulsions sold in the retail store.

Application of dressings in the wash

Originally, most equipment used in automatic and tunnel washes used the same type of sponge material that was found in retail packets designed for hand application. The industry has since moved away from a sponge application to a rotating brush application, which allows for better coverage with less product usage.

Different commercial application units have different types of programmers. Some units only allow a chemical application on every car, while others let you program for options like applying dressing to every second or third car. In either case, an operator can always adjust how long to keep the chemical pumps on. The final appearance of the tire is a matter of operator preference, so some experimentation will be necessary to fine-tune the ultimate result.

Typical usage for newer on-line applicators should average about one fluid ounce per car, but again, this will vary with different formulations, as they contain different amounts of silicone. It is also possible to get a better result if there is a bit of residual alkalinity on the car from the tire cleaning detergents.

Finally, the proper maintenance of application nozzles or manifolds will need to become part of the wash’s weekly maintenance schedule, as a clogged nozzle will negatively affect the final result. After all, the final appearance is the entire goal of these types of products and will entice customers to come back again and again.

FLEET MANAGEMENT: CARBON-FREE DELIVERIES

Converting a gas-powered Purolator parcel delivery truck to electric drive has proven to have many cost savings.

This pilot project was undertaken by Sylvan Castonguay, founder of Nordresa with the assistance of the Innovative Vehicle Institute (IVI), a non-profit organization that supports businesses in the fields of applied research, development, assessment and implementation of innovative vehicle technologies. Their findings were presented at the Electric Vehicle Conference and Trade Show in Markham, Ontario Held at the Markham Hilton May 29th to June 1

“IVI works with small and medium sized businesses and has been working with electric vehicles under different names since 1996, and we have been working on autonomous technology for about three years now,” explained Freddrick Prigge, Head of the R & D Division of IVI. Prigge is an electrical engineer with more than 17 years of electronics and hardware-oriented programming with expertise in electric propulsion and battery design.

The Purolator truck build took less than a year.  It was in full service running routes in downtown Montreal when it was taken off the road for the conversion to electric. “We started with a simulation to size the motor and batteries to get the proper drive cycles. This was the most challenging part,” explained Prigge.

Their goals included having an 80-kilometre range to cover the parcel delivery route, plus it had to run 100 kilometers per hour and handle 15/% grades.

“Our simulation showed slightly over 500 kW hours per kilometer consumption, so that’s how we sized the battery.  Grade was much greater than required, but in the end, we used a small, three-phase, slow turning, high-torque motor.  We ended up being in the sweet spot of that motor,” added Prigge.

Quick turnaround

Since it is a retro-fit, one of the goals was to have a quick turn-around. Taking a delivery truck off of its route costs money, so the retro-fit needs to be efficient. This retro-fit is possible to do in just under a week.

“We re-use a lot of hardware from the original truck, so this was a bit of a design challenge,” explained Prigge. The battery design was custom made for the vehicle to keep the weight balanced between the axles and keep the payload close to what it was originally.

Sylvan and his team of engineers wrote all the software and designed everything for this vehicle so they have the ability to tune it and debug it down to the last line of code. The vehicle is also equipped with a modem for remote diagnostics.

One thing that was very important to the courier drivers was how the regenerative braking performed. “We tried to go as vigorously as we could without locking the rear axle. It came very close to single pedal driving which the drivers like. To do a full stop at the street lights you have press on the brake but for a ‘Montreal stop,’ you’re fine just lifting your foot off the throttle,” explained Prigge.

The Nordresa ECU adds traction control to limit rear wheel slip in winter. Regen torque increases as speed decreases. At very low speeds, regen fades, and mechanical brakes need to be applied to get to a complete stop. Brake lights are triggered under heavy regen because deceleration is pretty harsh.

“We have designed a battery that can double the range to 200 kilometers and it is almost the same size as the battery we use now,” added Castonguay. Average governed speed is 40 kilometers per hour but it can go much faster, and it can handle 28 per cent grades. It has a  5,000 lbs payload, just 1,000 pounds below their target.

“We increased efficiency globally by 600 per cent and reduced the cost of driving and maintenance by almost 90 per cent. Annual savings are in the range of $12,000 per year based on 80 kilometers of daily driving. If you doubled that to 160 kilometers per day you would double your savings,” added Castonguay.

Savings of greenhouse gases are in the range of 20 tonnes annually, and over a ten year period, the vehicle will pay for itself. Nordresa is currently taking orders for parcel vehicle conversions.

How it works: Airless tires

Although tires are what you see, your vehicle is actually riding on the air inside of them. That air supports the tire, keeps it on the rim, and cushions the ride.

Of course, if air goes in, it can also come out. That’s most obvious when something like a nail penetrates the tire and causes a flat, but tires are naturally porous and gradually lose a bit of air over time. Even if tires don’t look low, you should check their pressure once a month or so. A low tire will use more fuel, and can wear unevenly and need replacing sooner than one with the correct pressure.

So why not use tires that don’t need air? While it’s still in the early stages of development, Michelin presented a new concept last June, the Vision tire, which could pave the way for car tires that don’t need pumping up.

Unlike a regular tire, the Vision is created with a 3-D printer, constructed with an internal honeycomb web instead of an air chamber.

Bridgestone has also been developing an airless tire, and recently announced that the design may go on sale for bicycles in 2019. Hankook Tire is also working on an airless model.

The Michelin Vision concept tire uses 3-D printing to create a honeycomb texture, with the tread printed onto the edge.

Airless tires certainly aren’t new. Wagons and early cars used wheels edged with metal bands or solid rubber. Scottish engineer Robert William Thomson invented a pneumatic rubber tire and patented it in 1845, but it was too expensive to be viable. John Dunlop came up with a successful one for bicycles in 1888, and seven years later, brothers André and Edouard Michelin created one for automobiles.

Solid rubber tires are still made, but they’re primarily used for low-speed, heavy-duty applications, such as on construction equipm

ent or forklifts, or for lighter-duty use on lawn mowers, trailers and golf carts. On a car, they’d add too much weight and, without that cushion of air, they would transmit every bump and produce a very stiff ride.

In 2005, Michelin introduced an airless tire concept called the Tweel. The design combined the tire and wheel into a single unit, with a central rigid hub, an outer tread, and spokes in between. The polyurethane spokes were firm enough to support the tire, but flexible enough that they absorbed road shock to provide a more comfortable ride.

The Tweel concept wasn’t adapted for car tires, but in 2015, Michelin launched it for commercial applications on golf carts, industrial lawn mowers, and skid-steer loaders.

The Vision concept evolved from the Tweel, but Michelin says it intends to offer it as a passenger car tire. Rather than being made up of three separate units joined together as the Tweel is, it is created as a single piece. By using 3-D printing, engineers were able to create an open-weave honeycomb structure that is strong in the centre to support the wheel, but flexible toward the edges for ride comfort.

The outer tread is also applied with a 3-D printer, and Michelin says it could be reapplied once the tread wears down – conventional car tires must be replaced when this happens – or when a different tread pattern or compound is required, such as when switching for winter. The concept also contains internal sensors that monitor the tire’s condition, and can communicate with a mobile app to inform the driver or to make an appointment with a tire dealer.

The tire can potentially be made from a wide range of materials, and at the concept’s debut, Michelin suggested these could include plastic and electronic waste, paper, bamboo, cardboard, or recycled rubber. The Vision tire itself would be recyclable at the end of its life.

No one’s sure when such a tire might actually make it to market, since there are still many issues to overcome, such as the open weave trapping mud and snow. And while 3-D printing can create the intricate honeycomb that a mould cannot, as well as potentially build numerous tire sizes with just one machine, even the fastest printers currently available are still too slow for mass production.

Bridgestone initially showed an airless tire in Japan as a possibility for city-based microcars, but last April, unveiled the design as the basis of its Air Free Concept 1 bicycle tire. The airless tire uses spokes both as part of the wheel, and in place of an air chamber to support the tread.

Because the tire can’t puncture and lose its air, the cyclist doesn’t need to carry an air pump. That’s also a benefit to airless tires on a car: there’s no need for a spare tire, which adds weight at a time when automakers are trying to shave it off wherever they can to help improve fuel efficiency.

Technologies like the Vision tire’s sensors may also play a role in active safety features, especially on autonomous cars. Vehicles that can automatically brake themselves determine how far away they are from an object, but worn tires can dramatically increase the stopping distance. By knowing how much tread is left, the systems can better determine when to apply the brakes in order to stop in time.

Understanding the EU Tyre Label

Below you will find the new EU Tyre Label. Set to follow in the same style as the current energy efficiency labels, you will notice the familiar A -G grading system.

As of November 2012, every tyre in the EU will come with a label just like this, making the comparison between different makes and models easier than ever.

 

The energy lost when a tyre is moving is described as ‘rolling resistance’ and has a direct impact fuel consumption and the environment. The tyres on a car can affect its fuel economy by 20%. The lower the rolling resistance, the less energy is lost – reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

In the EU Tyre Regulation label, rolling resistance is expressed in grades, ranging from A to G. A is the highest performance tyre in its category; G is currently the least performing. D is not going to be used as a grade, helping to draw a clear line between the top and bottom three grades – the good and the bad.

Putting the scores into perspective, if fitting the worst scoring tyres in this category, you could end up using 6 litres more fuel every 625 miles than if you fitted ‘A’ rated tyres – so, potentially, ‘A’ rated tyres could save you enough in fuel bills to buy a new set of tyres!

A tyre’s exterior noise grading is expressed in decibels, accompanied by one, two or three sound waves. One black wave indicates the best noise level performance. It means that the noise level of the tyre is at least 3dB below the future legal limit.

Three black waves indicate the weakest performance in terms of tyre noise output. It represents a noise output level between the current maximum and the new lower limit that will be introduced in Regulation 661, between 2012 and 2016.

The wet grip label provides you with information on an important safety aspect of a tyre: its grip on wet roads. Tyres with excellent grip in the wet have shorter braking distances on wet roads, an important safety benefit when driving in rainy weather. The ratings are measured via two types of test when a car is travelling at 50mph.

In the EU Tyre Regulation label, a tyre’s wet grip capacity is also expressed in grades from A to G, with A the highest wet grip performance. Like the fuel efficiency score, D is not going to be used as a grade. On top of this, there are no plans at the moment from the EU to use G either.

The difference in braking distances between each grade is roughly 3m – the average length of 1 car. Making the difference between A and G 18m, 4 car lengths! This distance could be the difference between being involved in a road accident or not.

 

Although the information presented in the tyre label helps motorists understand how well a tyre performs in certain important areas, there are many other factors for you to consider when purchasing a tyre.

Other important factors that should be considered are, resistance to aquaplaning, driving stability, handling performance on wet & dry roads, durability of the tyre, braking performance on dry roads and the capabilities of the tyre in winter weather.