As authorities focus their attention on tyre pollution, which is expected to rise with the popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) and risks to compromise those cars’ environmental credentials, tyre manufacturers are under pressure to essentially reinvent their wheels.
Tiny particles are scratched and released when tyres make collisions with the ground.
This little-discussed type of pollution, which is caused by roughly 2 billion tyres manufactured year worldwide, is becoming a bigger issue as EVs add heft to their batteries.
Major manufacturers including Continental (CONG.DE), Goodyear (GT.O), Michelin (MICP.PA), Bridgestone (5108.T), along with Michelin are all attempting to stave off competition from less expensive Chinese rivals.
Gunnlaugur G Erlendsson, a CEO of the UK-centric business Enso, which has created more durable tyres expressly for EVs and leases out tyres that it roots back to recycle stage at the end of their useful lives, acknowledged that the situation is not quite ideal. But it’s not far.
Manufacturers of tyres are rushing to develop alternatives and get up front of emissions regulations.
New studies are demonstrating the toxicity of these tyres, which typically comprise 200 components and compounds, many of which are derived from pure crude oil.
While detractors claim that tyres contain numerous hazardous and cancer-causing substances, only one has received significant support up to this point: 6PPD, an antioxidative and antiozonant present in all tyres that lessens cracking.
The first state to require tyre manufacturers to provide evidence that they are looking for a replacement to 6PPD, a deteriorated form of which has been discovered in South Chinese humankind urine, is anticipated to be in California this year. This item is crutial to aid in the durability of tyres and also happen to be toxic.
For the very first time, tyre requirements will be defined by the future Euro 7 emission laws in the European Union.
Manufacturers will also need to create tyres with lower emissions for heavy electric vehicles (HEVs), which according to Michelin or Goodyear may wear out tyres around more than 50% more quickly.
He claims that this is because they are more durable since they use more expensive, but more better-quality components.
Goodyear, Bridgestone declined to talk about the industry’s pollution problems.
However, Michelin, Pirelli (PIRC.MI), and Continental, informed the press that they are looking into 6PPD alternatives.
Whilst Michelin and Continental added that industry-wide action may be required to develop answers.
When questioned about the Euro 7 requirements, Michelin stated that it wanted global standards to drive out the higher emitting, typically less expensive, tyres from the market.
Continental supports a universal abrasion standard with clear and precise consumer labelling.
The “dirty side” of the brand’s list of tested tyres, according to Emissions Analytics CEO and expert Nick Molden, are inexpensive Chinese imports that are popular on the European market.
Requests for feedback from the Chinese manufacturers of Rockblade, Ovation, and Mazzini, three of the weakest-performing tyres brands on the Molden’s list, went unanswered.
Based on data provided to by Emissions Analytics, the current crop of tyres are unlikely to be able to remedy the issue.
The chemicals in these particles, the ones they exhale are similarly harmful overall, Molden added, despite studies on Continental bicycle or motorcycle tyres made from dandelions showing a 24.5% decline in carcinogenic aromatics, which ought to help cars hug the tar or other kinds of road.
Concerning 6PPD, Continental stated that its dandelion tyres happen to be developed with the goal of finding a sustainable kind of natural rubber.
Research indicates that 6PPD, which was created during the Korean War, interacts with oxygen or ozone to make 6PPD-quinone, something that has been linked to the widespread extinction of Coho salmon at a place off the U.S. West Coast.
Californian officials claim that it is uncertain how 6PPD may affect human health, but they are finalising documentation that could compel tyre makers to consider safer options.
Finding a substitute for 6PPD, according to the tyre industry, is challenging since any new chemical must stop tyres from deteriorating and breaking without impacting other characteristics.
Adam McCarthy, a secretary general of Euro Tyre and Rubber Producing Association, said tyres are a severe compromise between some safety, noise, perfect handling, and abrasion.