Tyre manufacturers seek solutions to tackle rising tyre pollution and EV challenges: Report
Tyre manufacturers are facing increasing pressure to address the issue of tyre pollution as regulators focus on the environmental impact caused by the abrasion of tyres on the road. With the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs), the problem of tyre pollution is expected to escalate, potentially undermining the green credentials of these cars. Every […]
Tyre manufacturers are facing increasing pressure to address the issue of tyre pollution as regulators focus on the environmental impact caused by the abrasion of tyres on the road. With the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs), the problem of tyre pollution is expected to escalate, potentially undermining the green credentials of these cars.
Every year, approximately 2 billion tyres are produced globally, and when they come into contact with the road, tiny particles are released into the environment. The weight of EVs, primarily due to their batteries, contributes to this form of pollution, which has received relatively little attention until now. Major tyre producers such as Goodyear, Bridgestone, Michelin, and Continental are not only grappling with the challenge of tyre pollution but are also facing competition from cheaper Chinese rivals.
The urgency to address tyre pollution has led tyre manufacturers to strive for innovative solutions and stay ahead of emissions regulations. Ongoing research highlights the toxic nature of tyres, which contain around 200 components and chemicals derived from crude oil. While there is some consensus regarding the presence of one particular chemical called 6PPD, an antioxidant found in all tyres that helps reduce cracking, critics argue that tyres contain numerous other toxic and carcinogenic substances.
California is expected to become the first authority this year to demand that tyre manufacturers demonstrate efforts to find an alternative to 6PPD. A degraded form of this chemical has been found to be harmful to fish, and traces have even been detected in human urine in South China. Additionally, the upcoming Euro 7 emission regulations in the European Union will establish tyre standards for the first time.
In addition to addressing the environmental impact, tyre manufacturers also face the challenge of developing tyres that are better suited for heavy EVs. Companies like Michelin and Goodyear have reported that these vehicles can accelerate tyre wear by up to 50%.
The race is on for tyre manufacturers to find sustainable solutions and reduce tyre pollution, while also meeting the evolving demands of the electric vehicle industry. The need to balance performance, durability, and environmental impact will shape the future of tyre manufacturing as the industry strives to reinvent the wheel for a greener future.
According to Enso CEO Gunnlaugur Erlendsson, the rise of electric vehicles (EVs) could lead to increased tyre pollution unless the industry develops better tyres. Enso’s testing has shown that their tyres emit 35% less pollution compared to premium EV tyres from major manufacturers, primarily due to the use of higher-quality and more durable materials. While Bridgestone and Goodyear have not commented on the emissions challenges, Michelin, Continental, and Pirelli have expressed their commitment to finding alternatives to 6PPD, a chemical found in tyres that has environmental concerns. Michelin and Continental believe that collective industry action may be necessary to address the issue effectively.
In light of upcoming Euro 7 emission regulations in the European Union, Michelin emphasizes the need for global standards that encourage the market to eliminate higher-emitting tyres, which are often cheaper alternatives. Continental suggests implementing a global abrasion standard with transparent labelling to inform consumers about the environmental impact of tyres. However, testing specialist Emissions Analytics has found that new tyre developments are unlikely to solve the problem entirely. For instance, while Continental’s dandelion tyres have shown a reduction in carcinogenic aromatics, the emitted particles still contain toxic elements. Emissions Analytics CEO Nick Molden describes these tyres as “just differently bad.” Continental acknowledges its focus on finding a sustainable form of natural rubber through the use of dandelions while separately addressing the concerns surrounding 6PPD.