Focus more on tires to reduce emissions in all vehicles, not just EVs

Nearly 15 million cars were sold in the US last year.  What if we could save over 4 million tonnes CO2 just by fitting them with CarbonX tires?

Scaling up electric vehicles is vital for achieving Net Zero by 2050.  But conventional cars will likely be on the road for decades to come and CO2 emissions will remain in the atmosphere for centuries. Technologies that improve fuel efficiency would give everyone the opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions for all vehicle types, starting now.


Most tire-related emissions in the use phase

Emissions associated with tire performance in the use phase are far greater than the CO2 emitted during production. But conventional fillers used in tires can no longer improve fuel efficiency without compromising grip or wear. The truth is, reducing tire emissions in the use phase is still a challenge, so they are all too often avoided.

This is where CarbonX comes in.


CarbonX® tires improve rolling resistance by 6.5%

Last year were able prove that CarbonX® improve fuel efficiency without compromising grip or wear by substituting silica and carbon black in a summer tread. Within a year, we scaled up our formulation and made our own tires. Road tests confirmed that CarbonX® improved rolling resistance by 6.5%.  But what does that mean in terms of fuel efficiency and emissions reduction?

Calculating emissions saved with CarbonX

We used a Life Cycle Assessment  to validate the CO2 savings that can be achieved by using CarbonX as a tire tread material in EV and ICE tires in Europe. But emission savings can vary widely depending on average fuel consumption, fuel efficiency, tire lifetime, and the emission intensity of the electricity grid. Interestingly, we found that the potential impact of CarbonX® on CO2 reduction in the US is even greater.


ICE tires: Saving 73 kgCO2

Why are the CO2 savings higher? The combination of bigger, heavier cars along with lower fuel efficiency in the US can make quite a difference.

US cars consume 80% more fuel: Passenger car in the EU consume an average of 6 litres per 100 km. The average fuel economy for gasoline cars in the US is 22.0 miles per gallon, which means fuel consumption is equivalent of 10.7 litres per 100 km – 80% higher than in the EU.

US cars have 40% higher CO2 emissions: Calculating emissions is a function of fuel consumption and the emission intensity for that fuel. The emission intensity for gasoline in the US is 8.887 kgCO2 per gallon. This means gasoline cars emit about 404 grams CO2 per mile (251 gCO2/km) – about 40% higher than the 182 gCO2/km emitted in the EU.

CarbonX improves fuel efficiency by 1.3% : Using a 5:1 conversion for rolling resistance to fuel efficiency set by a 2011 ICCT report, the 6.5% improvement in rolling resistance achieved with CarbonX translates into 1.3% fuel savings – which translates into an emission saving of about 5 gCO2/mile.

CarbonX saves 73 kgCO2 in ICE tires: We multiply the emission savings per tire to by the average lifetime (in miles) of a conventional tire in the US, we determined that CarbonX could save 73.5 kgCO2 per tire over its lifetime. in other words, every car fitted with CarbonX® tires could save 300 kgCO2 in emissions.


EV tires: Saving 35 kgCO2

While they may not emit CO2 at the tailpipe, EVs still have a carbon footprint – depending on the emission intensity of the electricity it consumes and its battery range. One way to extend battery range and reduce more emissions is by making the car lighter. Another is by reducing the rolling resistance in tires.

2.3% energy savings with CarbonX®: EVs are 20-30% heavier than their conventional counterparts, we can safely assume that tires account for at least a third of the fuel consumption, mostly due to rolling resistance. This means a 6.5% improvement translates into a 2.3% energy saving. The electricity generated in the US emits 0.85 lbs per kWh (385 gCO2/kWh), which is about 67% greater than the EU average. Applied to a Tesla Model Y Long Range that consumes 0.28 kWh per mile would result in emissions of 109 gCO2 per mile.

CarbonX saves 35 kgCO2  in EV tires: Applying the 2.3% energy savings due to CarbonX would thus reduce emissions by about 2.5 gCO2 per mile. Assuming the EV tire lasts as long as a conventional one, CarbonX could still save an additional 35 kgCO2 per tire.


More fuel-efficient tires reduce CO2 in all vehicles, including EVs

Of the 15 million cars sold in the US last year, only about 630,000 were electric. A 50% target for new vehicles sold could bring EV sales up to 8.7 million by 2030, but the US still has 285 million cars on the road. If we want to keep reducing global emissions, we must improve fuel efficiency as much for conventional cars as for EVs. CarbonX tires would give everyone the opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions no matter what type of vehicle they drive.


Are you a tire manufacturer based in the US? We can help you develop tread compounds that help you save more CO2 for all tire and vehicle types. Visit our Products & Services page and fill out the form to contact our team directly.

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