By Sharad Matade:
The tyre major Bridgestone has added a new product to its eco-friendly product range, Ecopia. The company in the last week of May launched the new Passenger Radial Ecopia EP 300, a successor to the Ecopia EP 200, for the ASEAN and Oceania markets. The new product is being launched in the Asia Pacific markets.
Bridgestone launched the Ecopia brand in 2011 in Asia Pacific region, aiming at providing eco-friendly performance through higher fuel efficiency and safety. Every Ecopiais developed to reduce the production of harmful carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.
Through the innovative design concept and engineering solutions, EP300 revolutionizes and redefines the concept of an eco-tyre by bringing it to the next level as embodied in its tagline “When You Want It All”, claims the company. The demanding Drivers who “Want it all” have a product that will fully meet their expectations, Bridgestone officials said.
The Ecopia EP300 is the next generation eco-tyre which offers improved rolling resistance, wet grip performance, fuel efficiency and wear life than its predecessor, the Ecopia EP200. The Ecopia EP300 has been introduced for the eco and safety conscious consumers. “The Ecopia EP 300 is being introduced targeting the customers who are conscious about brand, economy and safety,” Chris Yang, General Manager of Consumer Sales & Marketing Department, Bridgestone Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd, said. Many regulations, targeting fuel efficiency and rolling resistance, are expected to be introduced in the region in the near future. Coupled with this, the launching of eco-friendly tyres by international tyre companies is intensifying in the region. “We (Bridgestone) need to keep ahead in the market with improved products to enhance the company’s competitiveness,” he said.
The Ecopia EP 300 will be available in 32 sizes, ranging from 15’ to 18’ and will target the C segment: Mazda 3, Honda Civic and Toyota Altis, and the D Segment: Honda Accord, Nissan TEANA and Toyota Camry. Retail price of Ecopia EP300 is almost similar to Ecopia EP200, varying from market to market.
“Most drivers desire a way to achieve better fuel efficiency that translates into fuel savings. However, despite how careful drivers can be on the accelerator, if a vehicle is not equipped with the optimum eco-tyres, achieving good fuel efficiency and economy will be a challenge,” Chris Yang said.
“With the new ECOPIA EP300, we aim to bring to the drivers the best possible return from their vehicles while allowing them to do their part for the environment, as lower rolling resistance brings reduced CO2 emissions.”
The EP300, compared to its predecessor the EP200 which was launched four years ago, has a new design and new technologies to meet low rolling resistance, wet grip, and added fuel efficiency. To make this product better than the previous edition, the company has incorporated new design and technologies: NanoPro-Tech, optimised crown shape, Chamfering Sipe and Deeper Lug Depth.
Optimised Crown Shape:Tyres’ wear life and rolling resistance are influenced by the distribution of the contact pressure with road surface. In the Ecopia EP 200, the pressure is mostly concentrated in the centre, while due to optimisation of crown shape, contact pressure in the Ecopia EP 300 is distributed evenly and that leads to lower rolling resistance, better handling and wear life.
NanoPro Tech: Bridgestone has been incorporating its unique technology Nanostructure-Oriented Properties Control Technology ( NanoPro-tech) to control molecules of tyre materials and facilitate maximum use of them for specific needs. The NanoPro-Tech is used to disperse silica,which usually stick together. The Nano-Pro Tech reduces heat generation and energy loss and that leads to lower rolling resistance. The EP300 features enhanced NanoPro-Tech with a new polymer that provides enhanced wet grip due to an increased contact area that grips wet road surfaces with higher frictional force at the micro-level.
Round Rib Edge: The edges of the Ecopia EP 300 are not sharp, rather round that keeps stiffness against lateral force and ensure better contact shape and contact pressure distribution. This help to get better wet grip performance.
Chamfering Sipe: The round shaped block edge design can prevent deformation of block edge to ensure flat contact shape and braking performance.
Deeper Lug depth: The deeper tread pattern strengthens durability and increases wear resistance. The new tread design controls tyre deformation better and due to uniform wear pattern the tyre’s life increases.
Due to lower rolling resistance, the EP300 brings fuel efficiency to the next level, which saves fuel and reduces CO2 emissions as well. The rolling resistance performance was showcased at its proving ground with three cars fitted with the Ecopia EP 300, Ecopia EP 200 and an eco-friendly tyre from the company’s close competitor.
All three cars started together side by side and reached the speed of 50km/ hr and after crossing a marker on the track , the drivers neutralised the gear and let the cars roll free till they stopped. Here the Ecopia EP 300 mounted car showed the least resistance and stopped way ahead of the other two cars.
The company claims that the Ecopia EP 300 gives 11 km more mileage than the Ecopia EP 200. The mileage test was done by the third party, TUV Rheinland Chassis Dynamometer. The mileage test was conducted on Toyota Camry fitted with the set of the Ecopia EP 300 and Ecopia EP 200 tyres separately, with fuel tank of 70 litre and tyre size of 215/60R16. Due to lower rolling resistance, the Ecopia EP 300 improved mileage by 11 km per tank against the Ecopia EP 200, said the company.
The company also demonstrated the wet grip performance of the Ecopia EP 300 at its proving ground. To compare the performances, the Ecopia EP300, Ecopia EP200 and tyres from the immediate competitor were mounted on three Toyota Camry.
The wet performance was conducted on water level of 2 mm. The cars were driven till they reached the speed of 80 km/ hour and the rider slotted the cars into neutral and slammed the brake at the optimum level. The Ecopia EP 300 clearly stopped before the other cars. According to the company, the Ecopia EP 300 stops 1.27 metres before the Ecopia EP 200.
However, the life of the Ecopia EP 300 cannot be determined due to various reasons such as different road conditions, driving behaviour, weather, loading and others. The new tyre will be churned out from the company’s Thailand plant, while limited sizes will be produced in Indonesia and Vietnam, said Chris Yang, General Manager of Consumer Sales & Marketing Department of Bridgestone Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.
Due to weather conditions, the company arranged for professional drivers to conduct skid test and wet handling test, allowing journalists to be in the in co-pilot seat. During the skid test, the professional driver ran the car at 60 km/ hr, and for wet handling test, the speed went to upto120 km per hr. The company does not plan to introduce the Ecopia EP 300 in India.