Bridgestone’s New TBR Ecopia Products to Help Ease Bowser Pain for Linehaul and Regional Operators

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Bridgestone has launched its most advanced Ecopia fuel saving tyres with the release of the second generation drive tyre, the M749II, and the introduction of the R119 trailer tyre. As well as two new Ecopia products, the leading tyre company has also introduced its low-rolling resistance technology to its market leading steer tyre, the R154 to further enhance the benefits of the product.

Together the new Ecopia TBR products will deliver even greater fuel savings for operators through enhanced technologies – helping to ease the pain of rising diesel costs across Australia.

The uptake of the Bridgestone Ecopia M749II drive tyre in conjunction with the R119 trailer tyre has the potential to slash fuel expenses with real-world, local tests showing a fuel saving of up to 4.4 per cent compared to the predecessor M749/R109 combination, and up 6.9 per cent over Bridgestone’s premium M866/R168 products on linehaul and regional routes.

Figures released by the Australian Institute of Petroleum show the national average price of diesel has risen from 163.8/litre to 236.0c/litre over the past 12 months, resulting in a significant spike in transport costs over the past year. Through the adoption of the new Ecopia products, operators can offset the rising fuel cost as well as reduce their emissions through driving efficiency and economy for their businesses.

According to Sales Director at Bridgestone Australia, Claudio Sodano, the release of the new generation Ecopia tyres is not only timely, but also demonstrates how Bridgestone is assisting in the creation of business efficiencies for operators, in line with the recently launched Bridgestone E8 Commitment.

“The whole industry is striving for more efficient, economical and sustainable solutions and the launch of our new generation Ecopia drive and trailer tyres is just one way that Bridgestone is contributing to solutions for our customers,” Mr Sodano said.

“Our Ecopia tyres provide operators with several benefits: not only supporting efficiencies through less fuel use, but also in reducing in-use carbon emissions to support sustainable operations and business targets of our customers.

“Bridgestone is striving to co-create value with our stakeholders through the values of our Bridgestone E8 Commitment. We strive to create a more sustainable future through eight core values including energy, efficiency, economy and ecology – and these new Ecopia products play a key role in our ability to achieve this.”

The development of the new generation Ecopia products was spearheaded by Bridgestone’s local Technical Field Services team. Throughout their development, M749II and R119 were tested extensively in real world conditions over 5 million kilometres by Bridgestone customers on Australian highways, metropolitan routes and on/off road applications. The test program highlighted that the new tyres not only deliver fuel savings over the predecessors, but also withstands the rigours of our unique climate.

“Operators can be confident of the true benefits of these products because of Bridgestone Australia’s extensive input throughout the entire development process, and the robust testing these new tyres undertook on our roads before they were introduced to our market, ensuring they live up to Bridgestone’s market leading reputation and Ecopia’s unrivalled fuel saving benefits,” Mr Sodano added.

The company has invested significantly in new mixing technologies for its low-rolling resistance Ecopia truck and bus products, resulting in a new compound developed for the M749II and R119.

The R154 steer tyre also benefited from this investment, with the recently released enhanced version of the R154 boasting a five per cent improvement to rolling resistance coefficient (RRC than the originally launched version to complement the new Ecopia drive and trailer tyres, while maintaining its unrivalled wear life.

Group Product and Technical Field Services Manager at Bridgestone Australia & New Zealand, Garth Middleton, says the development of the new generation Ecopia tyres is a demonstration of how Bridgestone works in collaboration with the industry.

“Bridgestone worked closely with our customers to set the criteria for the new range of Ecopia products. We knew the benefits our previous generation tyres delivered and in close consultation with them, we began to understand the opportunities for improvements that would create additional value for them,” Mr Middleton said.

“From there we challenged our product development engineers to deliver on the criteria important to our market, and the result was a new compound that is now used across all positions, as well as a new drive tyre, and new pattern for the trailer tyre.”

The M749II utilises the same tread pattern as the first generation M749 drive tyre, but through the new compound boasts a 15 per cent improvement to its already market leading rolling resistance coefficient (RRC), without any compromise on performance or wear life.

Bridgestone’s development of the R119 has completely redefined the possibilities of a low-rolling resistance trailer tyre, with a 17 per cent improvement to RRC over the R109, and with a significant improvement to wear life – outperforming its predecessor by up to 15 per cent in local testing.

A contributing factor to R119’s wear life improvement of up to 15 per cent compared to the R109 comes through the tread pattern design. R119’s design is characterised by its two wide central ribs and narrow central groove, which contributes to the durability of the tyre. The sturdier rib format reduces flex within the tyre and also contributes to its fuel saving improvements.

The enhanced tread design also provides clearly better irregular wear resistance and worn appearance than its predecessor, allowing operators to maximise the life of the tyre and reduce the occurrence of premature removal.

The development of Ecopia R119 saw a significant improvement to cut/chip durability, making it more suitable for on/off road applications as well as linehaul routes. This means that operators can now realise the fuel saving benefits of Ecopia trailer tyres on even more routes and more vehicles in their fleet.

The R119 is also revolutionary in its approach with less raw materials used in its production to achieve the optimal balance between rolling resistance and its industry leading fuel saving characteristics – supporting the ecology pillar of the Bridgestone E8 Commitment by preserving natural resources in the tyre’s life cycle.

Mr Middleton says this is the first of many products that will adopt this design philosophy for Bridgestone over the coming years as it looks to realise its long-term vision of becoming a sustainable mobility solutions business.

“These new Ecopia truck tyres are significant not just for their fuel saving benefits, but particularly for the R119, it’s the start of a new design concept and business strategy for Bridgestone, called ENLITEN,” Mr Middleton said.

“The ENLITEN business strategy is being implemented as the core of our new tyre strategy and will add value across the entire life cycle of the product, from its conceptual design, through to its operational life, re-birth as a Bandag retread, and beyond its operational life.”

The sustainability benefits of the new generation Ecopia products are complemented by Bandag’s low rolling resistance retread equivalents, the BDL3 drive product and BRL3 trailer fitment.

The full range of Bridgestone Ecopia truck and bus tyres and low rolling resistance Bandag retreads are available now through the Bridgestone’s national truck store network.