Nano, nano: Toyo raises fuel efficiency bar
Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. has developed a new line of fuel-efficient tires called Nanoenergy.
Based on Toyo's green nanotechnology, the Nanoenergy line follows the "Guideline for Tyre Labeling to Promote the Use of Fuel Efficient Tyres" labeling system developed by the Japan Automobile Tyre Manufacturers Association (JATMA). There are two tires in the line:
1. Nanoenergy 1: With a rolling resistance performance rating of AAA (the highest) and a wet grip performance rating of "b" (the range is from a to d), the tire offers improved wet grip with superior fuel efficiency performance. It will be available in one size, 195/65R15 91H, in February 2012.
2. Nanoenergy 2: Developed for a broad range of hybrid vehicles, the tire has a performance rating of AAA-c. It combines environmental considerations with excellent handling performance, according to the company. It will be available in 10 15-, 16- and 17-inch sizes in June 2012.
Nanoenergy tires will be available in a full range of sizes and models for the Japanese market first. Then the line will move "progressively into overseas territories, including Europe, where compulsory labeling of fuel-efficient tires is due to be introduced next autumn."
Fuel-efficient tires are designed to minimize energy losses suffered by the tire due to resistance, particularly contact friction from the road surface, thereby reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
However, reducing tire rolling resistance (a positive impact) has the unwanted effect of increasing the braking distance on wet roads (a negative impact), so the goal is to enhance braking performance and safety while at the same time improve wet grip performance.
Toyo says the environmentally friendly Nanoenergy line "represents a new approach based on different principles of tire design. It is the product of Nano Balance Technology, a systematic collaboration of four nano-level element technologies -- research, analysis, design and production."