Sustainability trends and government regulation driving green tire development

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The green tire industry, composed of low rolling resistance (LRR) tires as well as those emerging from ‘green’ (sustainable) materials, is a fast-growing part of the tire industry. The rapid growth of the sector is partly due to growth in the tire market itself, but mainly due to society’s increased interest in sustainability.

The global green tire market is estimated by Smithers Rapra to be $81.6 billion in 2018, which would put it at around 38% of the global tire industry as a whole. Smithers’ Future of Green Tires to 2023 market report forecasts growth of nearly 11% per year in value and volume through 2023, when value will reach $137 billion.

Green tire market high level forecast by value 2013-2023

 

Sustainable tire technologies

The main driver of the global tire market is the growing middle classes and the resulting increase in vehicle ownership in the emerging economies, particularly Asia. Growing concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and the limited availability of natural resources to meet the demands of expanding numbers of consumers are forcing industry to meet government and market demands for more sustainable products like green tires.

As a result, tire makers are pressing forward with sustainable tire technologies, including use of renewable rubbers that perform equal or better than traditional rubber. Many tire makers have entered strategic partnerships with government, researchers and bio technologies companies to advance their efforts to develop renewable rubber on a commercial scale.

 

Government regulations and economic drivers

Drivers of adoption of green tires are regulatory with increasing pressure on vehicle makers to reduce vehicle emissions and meet rising fuel economy targets. This pressure is driving development of LLR tires and their growing OE market penetration. Growth of alternative vehicle powertrains (hybrid and electric), as well as the evolution to shared/fleet vehicle use, and autonomous vehicles are pushing green tire adoption with continued gains in rolling resistance reduction a requirement.

The replacement market for green tires has also grown through better consumer education and awareness provided by the European Union’s consumer tire labelling scheme that rates tire rolling resistance and other performance variables.

 

Key materials for green tires

Green tires are optimized to achieve the lowest possible rolling resistance by means of fillers such as highly dispersible silica (HD silica or HDS), improved carbon blacks or nanotechnology. HD silicas are playing an important role in green tire material consumption, but improvements in elastomers (e.g. functionalized) and fillers (carbon black) and other inputs such as oils and fabrics are also important.

Rising in tandem with green tire unit demand, raw materials consumption for green tires demand is estimated at over 17.8 million tons in 2018, growing to 29 million in 2023, according to Smithers Rapra’s “Future of Green Tires to 2023” market report. Elastomers, fillers and fabrics are the dominant categories by weight, and growth will be led by sustainable ones such as natural rubber and rayon fabric, with synthetic rubbers showing the least growth.

 

Green tire market materials consumption 2013-2023 by volume (‘000 tons)

 

Biobased rubber for greener tires

Biosourcing of synthetic rubbers and other ingredients, the expansion of natural rubber availability, and biological alternatives to natural rubber are key areas of attention too. In the area of biorubber, Cooper Tire and Rubber and its consortium partners, including Clemson University, Cornell University, PanAridus and the Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture, completed a five-year $6.9 million Biomass R&D Initiative (BRDI) grant called “Securing the Future of Natural Rubber—an American Tire and Bioenergy Platform from Guayule” in 2017.

The grant team studied the feasibility of using guayule in tires versus Hevea natural rubber and produced concept passenger car tires in which all natural and synthetic rubber was replaced by guayule-based natural rubber. Cooper says it could use guayule rubber in tire production tomorrow if enough material was available to meet its production needs at a competitive price.

 

The electric and autonomous vehicle market

Hybrid and electric vehicles are a natural market fit for green tires. Besides being naturally aligned, the requirements of these vehicles, such as high torque and acceleration, and the need for maximized energy efficiency to extend battery range, will increasingly place demands on tire makers. Drivers of these vehicles are also more likely to stay with LRR tires when replacing them, regardless of price.

Tire development for autonomous vehicles will be increasingly focused on reduced rolling resistance and high reliability. There will be closer attention paid to non-pneumatic and intelligent tire options that eliminate or manage tire pressure and reliability issues.

 

Market challenges

There are other aspects of the green tire market that make it attractive, as well as challenging. The availability and pricing of natural, synthetic and biosourced materials can be unpredictable, and it is not clear how quickly many of the greener technology options can progress from concepts and pilots to commercial scale.

All of the major tire companies are committed to green tires, although rates of market uptake vary depending on local regulations and preferences. The drive to reduce emissions, improve fuel efficiency and accommodate new transportation models is shared by governments and tire companies alike.

For more information from Smithers Rapra on the green tire market, visit https://www.smithersrapra.com/market-reports/tire-industry-market-reports/green-tires-to-2023.

 

Smithers to open new product testing lab in China

SUZHOU, China—Smithers Rapra will open a new 4,000-sq.-ft. product testing laboratory in Suzhou.

The facility will provide air leak and burst, cleanliness, material properties, salt spray and pressure, vibration and temperature testing, according to a Smithers news release.

Read the source article at Rubber and Plastics News

Smithers Rapra introduces rubber compounding webinar series

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AKRON — Smithers Rapra will run a free four-part series on rubber compounding led by Christine Domer, general manager of Smithers’ analytical and physical testing labs.

Read the source article at Rubber and Plastics News

Smithers Rapra: Motorcycle tire demand spurred by trends in emerging markets and technology

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Rising incomes in emerging markets have led to the rapid growth of motorcycle ownership, particularly in Asia, resulting in a strong increase in motorcycle tire sales. Growth is being driven by the increasing number of households in industrializing regions that are now able to afford motorcycles.

Motorcycle tire market demand is estimated to rise to $19.4 billion in 2023, representing an annual compound growth of 6.5% from $14.2 billion in 2018, according to Smithers Rapra data.

In the report The Future of Motorcycle Tires to 2023, Smithers Rapra attributes growth to rising living standards, urbanization and mobility improvements, demographics, and technological changes. Those with disposable income are showing growing interest in motorcycles, including electric and self-balancing models and other new technologies.

The highest growth is seen in the Asia-Pacific region, driven by China and India. Data shows that by 2023, Asia-Pacific’s region share will be over 16 million units. Japan-based multinational companies such as Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha dominate the two-wheeler sector’s world market.

Trends in mobility

The evolution of mobility and transportation technologies, along with road conditions, play a role in customer preferences, driving patterns, tire wear, and ultimately motorcycle and tire design.

The role of motorcycle tires is complex, and they must satisfy performance and safety parameters depending on the application and type of motorcycle. There is extreme variation of motorcycle tire types depending on vehicle characteristics, intended driving surfaces, and tire construction.

Evolving tire construction

Developments in tire materials continue to include new compounds, as well as a greater range of compounds, to optimize the attributes most required by industry and to better target tires to applications, according to Smithers Rapra.

Among performance and safety attributes, grip remains the most important and is still being improved even as other attributes compete for attention. A trend towards a richer silica content is ongoing, owing to the importance of grip. Carbon black is also important, with the grades used in motorcycle tires similar to those used in ultra-high-performance and race car tires. Traditionally, all motorcycle tires were bias ply. A clear trend for motorcycles up to 400cc is the increased use of radial tires, especially seen in Asia and South America where they are equipped on more sporty motorcycles.

The impact of electrification

Electrification will initiate further tire evolution, as will the requirements of motorcycle connectivity and progressive automation, leading eventually to ‘smart’ tires. Tires will be expected to have sensors measuring and reporting pressure, temperature, grip, road surface conditions, and tire wear/condition.

Smithers Rapra market report The Future of Motorcycle Tires to 2023 offers in-depth analysis of  the economic demand and growth of the global motorcycle tire market from 2018-2023, and cutting-edge technology developments in materials, components, design, and safety attributes.

Read the source article at smithersrapra.com

Tire industry should prepare to adapt to automotive trends

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Akron, Ohio – The tire industry needs to continue to adapt as autonomous and electric vehicles become more popular, according to Jim Popio, vice president of operations in North America for Smithers Rapra.

Popio focused on developments driven in the automotive industry by ACES, or autonomous, connected, electric and shared vehicles in his presentation at the International Tire Exhibition & Conference in Akron 11-13 Sept.

Jim Popio, vice president of operations in North America for…

Read the source article at European Rubber Journal

Consumer and retail trends driving growth of tire market e-commerce

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E-commerce has been a key business disruptor across all industries and is forcing change, innovation and growth in the tire market. Still relatively new to the business-to-consumer replacement tire market, online tire sales sites have become significant for consumer research into tire types, attributes, reviews, pricing and availability. This trend and the expansion of e-commerce in general are leading to growth in online sales of tires, according to a new Smithers Rapra report, The Future of E-commerce for Tire Markets to 2023. (TRAC Members receive 15 per cent discount).

Across major tire market segments and geographic regions, the number of B2C replacement tires purchased online is estimated by Smithers Rapra at nearly 100 million units in 2018, or about 6.5% of the global market. This is expected to rise by an average of almost 19% per year to over 236 million in 2023, when the share will be nearly 13%.

 

E-commerce tire sales channel market 2015-23, by volume (million units)

 

Source: Smithers Rapra

 

Value growth will be somewhat higher, at 19.7% per year CAGR, from $7.1 billion in 2018 to $17.3 billion in 2023, faster than unit growth and reflecting modest price increases. While a degree of price competition within the online channel and versus offline retail will continue, the convergence of online and offline channels and the increasing importance of user experience relative to price will support higher prices in the channel over time.

End-use applications

Reflecting the numbers of vehicles in use, rates of tire replacement and rates of e-commerce penetration, the passenger car and light truck (light vehicles) segment is by far the largest, at 81% of volume in 2018, followed by motorcycles (12%) and then medium and heavy trucks and buses (7%). Light vehicles have been and remain dominant in absolute value and volume terms. In unit terms, motorcycles are a distant second, but in value terms, medium- and heavy duty trucks and buses are the next most important, although a much smaller segment.

Trends driving e-commerce tire sales

 

Consumer behaviour

Consumer preferences are ultimately the main market drivers for tire e-commerce with technology and retail developments enabling the change. Consumer behaviour and retail trends behind the uptake of e-commerce in tires include price sensitivity, reduced brand loyalty, time sensitivity and, increasingly, a desire for an omni-channel, which blends features of online and offline channels (already the case to some extent due to tire installation requirements).

Fitment proliferation

Fitment proliferation, the increasing number of available tire sizes, is also contributing to the growth of tires sales via the internet. This has been driven in part by the increase in rim diameters and the greater use of high-performance tires as OEM fitments, which is putting a strain on physical showroom and inventory space. E-commerce options help retailers and customers alike with education and availability. 

Growing economies and emerging markets

General economic and demographic growth serve as top drivers for tire e-commerce. B2C replacement tire e-commerce was initially a phenomenon of developed markets, led by Western Europe, followed by the US, which still enjoy the highest penetration rates. However, Asia-Pacific has already become the largest in unit terms and is on track to pass Europe in value terms during the forecast period, due to its large population and rapidly growing tire market (mostly motorcycle tires). Greater internet penetration and e-commerce readiness in developing markets are fueling the expansion of online tire sales. Very rapid growth will come from Eastern European countries and emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil, where levels of e-commerce penetration and vehicle density are comparatively low and growing.

For more information on the Smithers Rapra market report The Future of E-commerce for Tire Markets, visit https://www.smithersrapra.com/market-reports/tire-industry-market-reports/the-future-of-e-commerce-for-tire-markets-to-2023

Rapid EV growth to 2028 will drive changes in tires, new Smithers Rapra report says

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As part of the biggest automotive industry disruption in recent history, tire makers are increasingly focusing their business strategies on serving the electric vehicle market.  Electric vehicles (EVs) will make up a relatively small part of new vehicle sales and an even smaller part of the global vehicle park by 2028, but the segment is still exhibit dynamic growth.

In its market report The Impact of Electric Vehicles on Tires to 2028which is scheduled for release in October, Smithers Rapra estimates the number of EV passenger and light goods vehicles and the EV truck and bus segment will grow to nearly 432 million units with a CAGR of 35% over 2018-2028. This same segment is forecasted to reach nearly $33 million in value. Passenger car/light goods vehicles are forecasted to drive most of this volume and value growth.

As a baseline for comparison, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that there were over 750,000 new Battery Electronic Vehicle (BEV) and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) registrations around the globe in 2016.

Smithers’ research into regional development shows that China will be by far the biggest electric vehicle market due to government policies to reduce pollution and dependence on imported oil. Most importantly, China’s government desires to dominate the industry.

Tires for hybrid vehicles will have more emphasis on low rolling resistance. Tires for plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) and especially for BEVs will need to handle greater torque generated by the battery, extra battery weight and the requirement for reduced cabin noise. Vehicle weight distribution is also likely to be significantly different, which can affect tire design.

The main drivers for tires to enhance EVs include fuel efficiency, grip, load bearing, wear, noise and vibration, overall property balance, air retention, and puncture resistance. Fuel efficiency is the most important issue. By 2025 US CAFE standards for passenger cars/light goods vehicles and trucks and buses indicate targeted MPG for car fleets should be an average 54.5. In comparison, OEMs are focused on long-range EVs that provide 200 or more miles on a single charge.

Current market influencing trends on EVs and tire development include reducing CO2 emissions, the speed of technological change, the increasing affluence and growth of the middle class in emerging/BRIC markets, urbanization, and aging populations. Also important is the greater use of sustainable materials in tire construction, increased emphasis on recycling, and growing fleet operation.

The Smithers Rapra market report The Impact of Electric Vehicles on Tires to 2028offers in-depth analysis of the growing electric vehicle market and its influence on tire development and manufacturing.

Smithers Rapra estimates for the next 10 years the strongest growth for Mild Hybrid quickly followed by BEVs for the passenger car/light goods vehicles plus the truck and bus segment

Traction Summit Reminder: Standard Rate Expires Today

The Standard Rate for the 2018 Traction Summit expires today. Don’t miss your opportunity to hear the latest opportunities and challenges for the tire industry, in this new, disruptive age; build relationships, learn about next steps, and much more. 

 

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Smithers Rapra to present at ITEC

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AKRON—Smithers Rapra representatives will provide insights into emerging tire industry trends with a trio of presentations at the International Tire Exhibition & Conference, set for Sept. 11-13 at the John S. Knight Center in Akron.

Read the source article at Rubber and Plastics News

Smithers Rapra upgrades allow for testing of larger tires

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RAVENNA, Ohio—Polymer products testing company Smithers Rapra has upgraded the wheel-testing capabilities at its Tire and Wheel Test Center in Ravenna to handle wheels with rim diameters up to 24 inches.

Read the source article at Rubber and Plastics News