Bridgestone's fuel efficient Ecopia tyres could save UK hauliers £1000s
Bridgestone says more UK fleets should be switching to low rolling resistance tyres, in order to slash their fuel bills and cut their carbon footprints.
According to Terry Salter, Bridgestone’s truck product manager of Northern Europe, less than 4% of UK fleets currently run some form of fuel-efficient tyre, whereas 15% would see a significant benefit by switching to them.
“The right customer can take 10% off their fuel bill by moving [from regional tyres] to energy efficient tyres,” he said.
Salter was talking at Bridgestone’s Truck World event at its Rome test facility, where some of Europe’s largest hauliers had gathered to hear about the tyre maker’s latest developments.
One of the key messages drummed into participants, was that Bridgestone’s recently launched Ecopia H002 range of steer, drive and trailer tyres aren’t only vastly better than their H001 predeccessor, but are more fuel efficient than rival Michelin’s X-Line Energy range too. Backing up this claim, it gave details of an independent trial which took place in May.
Collaborated with MAN ProfiDrive, three identical MAN-powered artics, each shod with a different set of tyres, drove from Munich to Rome in identical conditions. One was fitted with Bridgestone’s previous generation of regional tyre, a second with Michelin X-Line Energy tyres, and a third with Bridgestone Ecopia H002s.
The fuel consumption was measured, and the one clad with Bridgestone Ecopias was the clear winner.
From these results Bridgestone then concluded that a 40-tonne artic covering 130,000km per annum and running on Ecopia tyres on all axles, would consume €741 less fuel than an identical truck fitted with Michelin X-Line Energy tyres. The saving over the regional tyre would be €4,818.
In order to demonstrate these findings, the hauliers were shown a live demonstration. Three identical MAN TGS artics (running at 30 tonnes) were driven side by side around the test track, and at 30kph all were put into neutral. The distances they coasted were then measured.
First to stop was the truck running on regional tyres (covering 475m), then the Michelin one (623m) and finally the Ecopia (627m).
Salter believes one of the key reasons why UK fleets have so far failed to embrace fuel efficient tyres, is that while fuel economy gains are significant, they aren’t always easy to measure. In contrast, the higher up-front purchase price of energy tyres, and their worse wear characteristics, are easily quantified. ”Now is the time to make the switch to low-rolling resistance tyres,” he said, “so get in touch with Bridgestone to see if they’re suitable for your operation.”
Praise from owner for zero-downtime Mercedes-Benz Actros after reaching 750,000km
Owner-driver Rob Bill has praised the Mercedes-Benz Actros BigSpace tractor he bought new in 2014. Bill said: “Three quarters of a million km and not a day lost; not a single breakdown, no brake pads. Who knew Mercedes-Benz would be such a great move?”
Working as a subcontractor for Suffolk haulier Bartrums, Bill was persuaded to look at an Actros by a contact in the firm. The 2445 Actros features a small-wheeled mid-lift axle and is the first truck he purchased from new.
Having previously driven Swedish brands, Bill often felt short-changed. However, with the Mercedes, he said: “It’s the most comfortable vehicle I’ve driven and lived in.”
As well as the red exterior paint scheme, the Actros wears side skirts and a Hatcher air management kit, a chrome-trimmed grille and sun visor, lightbars and wheel trims. Since its acquisition, the Mercedes has pulled a variety of products in curtainside trailers between 38-tonne and 44-tonne GCW.
The purchase of the Actros was made easier by the East Anglia dealer, Orwell Truck & Van, as Bill was quickly sold by its demonstrator. “After three days the fuel consumption figures looked impressive, and a couple of days later, I asked the dealer to sort me out a price.”
Five years on, despite being told the choice to buy the Actros would “be a move I’d regret”, Bill described the Mercedes as a fantastic truck, which consistently returns between 9.5mpg and 10mpg – an improvement on his previous truck.