ERJ staff report (PR)
Essen, Germany – The safety implications of EU regulations requiring tire labelling and the fitment of tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) will be as significant as the environmental benefits, believes Hans-Jürgen Drechsler, managing director of the German tire and rubber industry association the BRV (Bundesverband Reifenhandel und Vulkaniseur-Handwerk eV).
As of 1 November 2014, all newly registered M1/M1G category vehicles must be equipped with TPMS devices. This follows the introduction of tire labelling 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,“ Drechsler said at a press conference at the opening of Reifen 2014, held 27-30 May in Essen. "Safety is also [important]: we should count both."
A drop of just 0.6 bar from the optimum tire pressure can increase the risk of skidding when changing lanes, reduce directional stability in bends by up to 50% and extend braking distance by several meters, according to the BRV leader. Moreover, he said, around 80% of tire blow-outs and failures can be linked to loss of air pressure.
About 35% of all vehicles driven in Europe today are running on unpressured tires, continued Drechsler, who went on to highlight the impact of this problem on the environment.
Incorrect tire pressure, he said, is currently wasting around 3.1 billion litres (4%) of the fuel consumed on European roads – leading to a significant and unnecessary rise in vehicle emissions. This, he added, was also responsible for a 45% reduction in kilometres mileage of the tire.
"Based on an annual mileage mileage per car in Germany of 14,210 km and average fuel consumption of 6.6 litres per 100 km, this corresponds to an increased fuel consumption of around 40 litres per year and the corresponding amount of additional emissions," said Drechsler.
With regards to tire labelling, Drechsler said this regulation was a “political signal“ sent out to make tire manufacturers more fully 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.