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Dr. Herbert Fruhmann, Nynas Market Manager Tyres, identifies key issues that are currently shaping the industry.
We see the whole industry, major companies as well as smaller ones, moving towards larger tyres. This increase in diameter is being driven primarily by aesthetic consumer demands. But there is also a case for some performance improvements; better grip, shorter stopping distance and better handling are some of the arguments that are brought forward.
Reduced rolling resistance, resulting in CO2 reductions, is a key industry focus as the fuel efficiency of cars is broken down into components. We know that tyres play a role, and that the tyre oil can contribute. But sustainability goes deeper, all the way to raw materials and even their production and supply chain. Renewable materials represent one way forward, but improvements in sustainability are conceivable for natural rubber as well, for example by looking at the supply chain and conditions in the workplace.
Built-in technology like sensors will make the tyres of the future smarter, supporting the car with information about their current status. Pressure losses are already being reported nowadays in some vehicles, but in future sensors could provide information to drivers about road conditions, as well as tyre conditions such as tread depth. Tyre sensors will help make the ride safer, more predictable and potentially also more efficient, and may also play a part in supporting autonomous driving.