Bridgestone's Keith Iwinski stands next to the new Ecopia R197 tire (the black tire) and the retreaded Bandag FuelTech equivalent (the green tire) at an Ecopia Road Show stop in Allen Park, MI. The road show will make stops at dealer locations and trade shows across the U.S. and Canada during the next several months. (Kami Buchholz)
Bridgestone’s Ecopia commercial-truck tire relies on advanced tread compounds for lower rolling resistance and new tread design choices to promote long, even wear.
“The Ecopia tire in the over-the-road steer axle position is the longest-wearing tread that we have in the Bridgestone product lineup,” Keith Iwinski, Marketing Manager–Commercial Distribution for Bridgestone Commercial Solutions (BCS), told SAE Magazines.
Bridgestone representatives are showing customers new tires for the steer, drive, and trailer axle positions via the Ecopia Road Show, which made its first dealer stop on June 6 in the parking lot of Belle Tire’s commercial-truck retread facility in Allen Park, MI.
Although the Ecopia tire debuted in the light-duty passenger vehicle market more than a year ago, the commercial truck Ecopia product line began rolling out to customer outlets in the spring of 2012.
According to Matt Frank, Product Marketing Manager for BCS, “Where appropriate, the technologies are the same between commercial-truck and light-duty-vehicle Ecopia tires.” For example, the patented NanoPro polymer technology, which reduces the internal friction as the tire rotates, is incorporated into both commercial-truck and light-duty Ecopia tires.
“However, due to the different applications between commercial trucks and light-duty passenger vehicles, construction technologies developed for commercial-truck tires are unique to those tires,” noted Frank.
In addition to NanoPro technology, the Ecopia tire features several other innovations. The patented Waved Belt refers to a wave-shaped strip of steel cords that are wrapped circumferentially to maintain a stable footprint and enhance the tire’s casing stability and durability. The Stone Rejector Platforms are flexible elements at the groove’s bottom that reject stones to help avoid tire casing damage.
Bridgestone’s proprietary Fuel Saver Sidewall compound reduces heat generation, which in turn lowers rolling resistance and improves fuel economy, while the Defense Side Groove creates a uniform pressure along the footprint at the shoulder to help extend tread life.
There are more than a dozen unique technologies comprising the Ecopia commercial-truck tire. “Although not every technology is offered on each Ecopia product, it is the combination of these technologies that maximize the advantages as necessary for the specific application of the tire,” Frank explained.
Ecopia truck tires deliver the lowest total cost of ownership when compared to other tires in the Bridgestone commercial-truck tire family, according to Frank.
For over-the-road applications, steer axle positioned tires typically need to be replaced at a faster rate due to worn treads than do tires at the trailer and drive axle positions, according to Iwinski.
“By having more miles before the Ecopia tires wear out and in combination with the tires’ lower rolling resistance, this means that fleet owners will realize significant savings in their overall operational costs,” said Iwinski.
Tread-worn Ecopia tires—in 22.5- and 24.5-in sizes—as well as any other over-the-road tires can be refaced with one of four new FuelTech retreads from Bandag, a Bridgestone company.
According to Frank, “Bandag FuelTech uses unique compounds combined with a nearly identical tread pattern to achieve the lower rolling resistance and improved tread wear found in Ecopia new tires.”
The first Ecopia truck tire (the 295/75R22.5) aftermarket-launched in April 2012. Other Ecopia commercial-truck tires will become available throughout the year.
The new line of Ecopia and Bandag FuelTech radials are U.S. EPA SmartWay-approved and comply with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements.