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2015-04-17

Practical test: vehicle fleet operators save up to 7 percent in fuel using “green tires”

  • Joint LANXESS and RheinEnergie practical tire test confirms considerable fuel savings
  • As a first step, RheinEnergie is fitting 130 vehicles successively with “green tires”
  • Average fuel saving of 4.1 percent in urban traffic
  • Results verified by TÜV Rheinland
  • Practical test part of the SmartCity Cologne project
  • Running every car in Cologne on “green tires” would save approximately 19.8 million liters of fuel and reduce CO2 emissions by almost 48,000 metric tons

“Green tires” reduce the fuel consumption of vehicles by as much as 7 percent in urban traffic (around 4.1 percent on average) and can save fleet operators thousands of euros every year. These high-performance tires – graded “C” or above for fuel efficiency on the EU tire label – also significantly reduce the CO2 emissions of vehicles compared to standard tires. These are the results of a practical tire test jointly conducted by LANXESS, the world’s leading manufacturer of synthetic high-performance rubbers for the tire industry, and energy provider RheinEnergie.

“With this long-term test, we have now also shown in practice that high-performance tires hold great savings potential for fleet operators and also for individuals. ‘Green tires’ not only cut costs, they also make an important contribution to protecting the environment,” says Rainier van Roessel, member of the LANXESS AG Board of Management. For example, if all of the 442,013 diesel and gasoline passenger cars registered in Cologne ran on “green tires” of rolling resistance class B rather than F, then it would be possible to save some 19.8 million liters of fuel and reduce CO2 emissions by almost 48,000 million metric tons a year, based on an average mileage of 14,000 kilometers. The use of “green tires” alone could therefore compensate for the CO2 emissions of more than 18,000 cars on Cologne’s roads.

The full extent of the economic benefits of switching to “green tires” for fleet operators can be seen in another example: a fleet with a total of 650 cars or vans of up to 3.5 metric tons currently running on tires with a rolling resistance rating of F on the EU label could save almost EUR 44,500 a year in fuel costs just by switching to B-rated tires – assuming a distance of 14,000 kilometers per vehicle and a diesel price of EUR 1.35/liter. The CO2 reductions would amount to almost 87 metric tons per year.

RheinEnergie uses “green tires”

RheinEnergie has therefore decided to successively switch its vehicle fleet over to “green tires”. The first step will be to refit around 130 vehicles as part of the usual tire replacement schedule resulting from wear. Others are to follow once “green tires” are also available in different sizes.

“As an energy service provider and supplier we take our responsibility for the environment very seriously,” says RheinEnergie Executive Board member Norbert Graefrath. “We are delighted to find such an expedient and convenient way of making a contribution to environmental protection.” Already by refitting the first 130 vehicles it will be possible to cut CO2 emissions by a good 11 metric tons a year.

TÜV Rheinland verifies test results

TÜV Rheinland monitored and verified the practical tire test carried out by LANXESS and RheinEnergie as an independent authority and also documented all the results. “The long-term test monitored by TÜV Rheinland confirms that it makes economic and environmental sense to use ‘green tires’ even on small vehicles used in urban traffic,” explains Jürgen Braukmann, member of the Group Executive Council of TÜV Rheinland responsible for mobility.

Pilot project as part of SmartCity Cologne

The LANXESS and RheinEnergie joint practical tire test is part of the SmartCity Cologne project, which was launched by RheinEnergie and the City of Cologne in 2012.

“Through the SmartCity initiative Cologne is looking to demonstrate that successful commercial development and the goals of environmental protection are not mutually exclusive,” explains Dr. Barbara Möhlendick, climate protection coordinator of the City of Cologne. “I am firmly convinced that state-of-the-art technologies can offer innovative approaches for solving not only pressing climate and environmental protection problems but also urban planning issues. The success of the practical tire test is a perfect example.”

SmartCity Cologne is a platform for various projects relating to climate protection and the energy revolution. Anyone can take part – private individuals, companies, associations and initiatives. Together, they develop intelligent ideas and pioneering technologies that make Cologne a better place. The key players are using SmartCity to respond to the challenges posed by climate change. As part of the project, technologies and services are being tried out that will shape eco-friendly urban living in the future.

Details of the LANXESS and RheinEnergie practical tire test

Over a period of half a year, the fuel consumption of six identical RheinEnergie utility vehicles was examined under real conditions. The performance for both “green tires” and standard tires was compared to establish the potential savings. Weighing approximately two metric tons, the vehicles covered similar areas in the City of Cologne and the surrounding area during the test period. Driver, loaded weight and refueling procedures were identical for the vehicles. Over the length of the trial, all six vehicles covered a total distance of approximately 37,000 kilometers.

To achieve valid results, the half-yearly test was conducted in two phases. During the first three months, the three vehicles in group 1 were fitted with “green tires” (rolling resistance class B on the EU tire label), while the other three, in group 2, had standard tires (rolling resistance class F on the EU tire label). This was reversed in the second phase. The results showed that the maximum fuel saving amounted to 6.96 percent and CO2 emissions dropped by up to 155 kilograms per 10,000 kilometers.

Compulsory EU labeling since 2012

Compulsory labeling of new tires with the EU tire label came into force on November 1, 2012. This applies to tires for both private cars and light and heavy commercial vehicles. The label grades the rolling resistance (i.e. fuel consumption) of a model on a scale of A (low) to G (high). It also provides buyers with information about wet grip (safety) and the rolling noise volume. “Green tires” attain particularly good marks on the EU label.

LANXESS calculators help to save fuel

Specialty chemicals company LANXESS also provides a specially designed calculation program for fleets, the “LANXESS Vehicle Fleet Calculator”. This helps operators efficiently reduce their vehicles’ fuel consumption and lower operating costs. It enables fleet operators to calculate for themselves how much fuel they could save in the long term by switching their vehicles to “green tires.” The program also shows the point from which it is worthwhile making that kind of investment and the reduction in fleet CO2 emissions. LANXESS developed the calculator in collaboration with the Technical University of Munich. The full program is available free of charge online, requiring only a brief registration process, at http://flotte.green-mobility.de/en.

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 8.0 billion in 2014 and about 16,600 employees in 29 countries. The company is currently represented at 52 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals. LANXESS is a member of the leading sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World and DJSI Europe) and FTSE4Good.

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