By David Shaw, ERJ staff
Geneva, Switzerland -- Bridgestone Europe is to extend its Ecopia range of low rolling resistance tyres to truck tyres. A spokesman for Bridgestone told ERJ exclusively that the company will introduce the new range in September and will, in the near future, have an all-new range of fuel-efficient products. Bridgestone introduced Ecopia truck tyres in Japan in 2002.
He added that Bridgestone is currently introducing a range of low rolling resistance retread compounds for truck tyres, through the Bandag brand name.
The spokesman declined to say what ingredients are used in the retread compounds.
The spokesman said the full range of tyres will be available, but could not say whether the new range will be the top-selling products -- that would depend on market acceptance, he noted.Up to now, Bridgestone has promoted its truck tyres on their longevity.
He said Bridgestone will be promoting fuel economy to truck fleets, and aims to offer full service tyres contracts to fleets, in which Bridgestone maintains tyres, offering pressure monitoring, tread wear and replacement tyres as part of a full service package. " it is not just buying rubber, it is supplying all the backup services which includes all that," he noted.
One technology which might contribute to this is a RFID tag and pressure sensor in the valve area, which can be read as the vehicle passes through a gate. Currently at Bridgestone's headquarters, he noted, the company is running a trial in which executives have the system fitted to their cars and as they arrive at the office each morning, the system measures tyre pressure and automatically sends an email to the driver.
"We are installing those for truck fleets and it works," said the spokesman.