Your tyre choice matters
Being a pioneer requires having expertise and sharing information. As a manufacturer of tyres that provide excellent safety and high quality, we must also carry our responsibility for improving road safety and eco-friendliness and educating people.
The use of fossil fuels, including gasoline and diesel fuel, accounts for the most of human carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide is the most significant greenhouse gas that is generated by traffic. When a tyre rolls against the road surface, the generated friction is called the rolling resistance. The higher the rolling resistance is, the higher the fuel consumption will be. The tyre, therefore, has a direct effect on fuel consumption and emissions from traffic. Fuel consumption during driving is the single most significant environmental impact over a tyre’s service life.
A difference of approximately 40% in rolling resistance results, on average, in a difference of 5–6% in fuel consumption. Such a difference may occur, for example, between tyres with a class A and class F fuel efficiency rating, respectively. With the current fuel prices, a tyre with a more economical rolling resistance can save approximately €300 over its service life, i.e. a driving distance of 40,000 kilometres.
Everyone can influence our surroundings and the world by seemingly minor choices. Each year, we communicate about the appropriate driving style to the media and consumers in the Nordic countries and Central Europe. A wise choice of tyres and a careful driving style significantly reduce the CO2 emissions from driving – and save money. We also educate consumers to check their inflation pressure, which also contributes to fuel consumption. This is also something where safety goes hand in hand with eco-friendliness.
Influencing the industry and raising discussion
Nokian Tyres has been involved in furthering the tyre industry by participating in the work of relevant organisations and discussions in the industry.
For example, we have promoted the demand for an ice grip label in public discussion. In northern conditions, ice grip is the most important property for winter tyres. Currently, consumers in the market for new winter tyres do not have any means for comparing tyres in terms of ice grip, as the current markings only include a wet grip rating. Nokian Tyres has called for a mandatory ice grip label for winter tyres. The growth of online tyre sales, used car imports, increase in low-cost products and emergence of new tyre categories (All-Season and All-Weather tyres) make it more difficult for consumers to know what kind of ice grip their witner tyres provide. International tyre manufacturers have developed a test together for measuring the ice grip of winter tyres. The test is currently being standardised by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
In 2016, Nokian Tyres proposed consistent rules for magazine testing practices to ETRMA, the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ association. We hoped that consistent rules would make magazine testing practices more transparent. In 2017, the industry decided not to establish consistent rules for reasons independent of Nokian Tyres. We published our own Test Tyre Policy on our website.
Linking the winter tyre requirement to road conditions can compromise road safety
In 2017, the Technical Forum of the Finnish tyre industry commented on the draft Government proposal for the Road Traffic Act and some related acts. The Government proposal aims to change winter tyre regulations such that winter tyres are required depending on the road conditions rather than mandating their use in December, January and February. The Technical Forum has a critical opinion of the draft Government proposal due to road safety concerns.
In its statement, the Technical Forum found it positive that the draft Government proposal would make winter tyre requirements stricter in November and March if warranted by the road or weather conditions. However, the Forum suggested that the draft proposal be reconsidered where the winter tyre requirement is dependent on the road conditions in the winter period from December to the end of February.
Tyres are the major risk factor in terms of the driving properties of passenger cars and vans, and their significance is emphasised by demanding and rapidly changing road conditions. Summer and winter tyres are designed to work in different temperature ranges, and they use different rubber compounds and tread patterns. Summer tyres perform the best in warm weather, whereas winter tyres perform the best in cold weather. According to various studies, the braking distance on ice with summer tyres may be more than double that of winter tyres.
Summer tyres do not perform properly in temperatures below approximately +5 °C. In such cold temperatures, the rubber compound of the summer tyre tread loses its elasticity, thereby degrading its grip properties on all surfaces. The colder the temperature is, the poorer the summer tyres’ grip properties become. When the temperature gets close to zero, the tyre could be considered dangerous.
Linking the requirement to use winter tyres in December, January and February to road conditions may compromise road safety and traffic efficiency. The Forum found that, in this respect, the draft proposal has room for interpretation and includes several risk factors. There is a risk of an increasing number of people driving on summer tyres under winter conditions and taking irresponsible risks with summer tyres. While most drivers would likely act responsibly under winter conditions, the change may increase the number of risky drivers on summer tyres in the winter period. These risky drivers endanger the safety of others in addition to themselves.
The Aurora intelligent road project paves the way for future road safety
Since late 2017, Nokian Tyres has participated in the Aurora programme, which is administered by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency. The multinational research project focuses on intelligent traffic: The intelligent road – a section of Main Road 21 in Muonio, Finland fitted with intelligent instrumentation – comprehensively serves the development of autonomous driving and transport, in particular by utilising arctic conditions. The ultimate purpose of the Aurora project is to further the automation of road traffic and find new, intelligent solutions for the needs of future transportation.
Nokian Tyres is an expert in arctic conditions as well as tyre technologies. By participating in the Aurora project, we want to ensure that the resulting products and services are safe and meet the changing needs of transport and customers also in the future.
One of Nokian Tyres’ research topics within Aurora is connectivity – how the vehicle, tyres and future roads communicate with each other. While AI is, in many respects, revolutionising transportation and driving, the tyres remain a vehicle’s main point of contact with the road even in autonomous driving.
SnapSkan drives road safety
The tread depth of a car’s tyres is a safety factor that affects other road users in addition to the car’s driver. The SnapSkan service, which we first launched in December 2016 and piloted more broadly in Finland during 2017, is a quick, easy and efficient way to check the tread depth. We also designed SnapSkan to notify the driver when it is time to replace the tyres.
The free SnapSkan service is used by driving the car over a 3D scanner, which can be located in a car park, for example. The system automatically creates a three-dimensional model of the tread surface and calculates the tread depth of each tyre. The results are linked to the car’s registration number. After the scan, the results can be sent to the driver by email or SMS.
As a leading expert, we want to be a pioneer in all developments concerning tyres, including the digitalisation of the tyre industry. We, therefore, want to continue creating new services relating to tyres and their safety – often together with our partners. The technology and software companies Futurice and Affecto as well as the British Sigmavision, which specialises in 3D scanning, participated in the technical development of the SnapSkan service concept.
SnapSkan targets a global user group: its purpose is to educate millions of people on tyres, improve road safety and offer peace of mind for drivers everywhere in the world.