Bridgestone has engineered the Turanza Eco tires, specifically for Lightyear One, the world’s first long-range solar electric vehicle, which will be commercially available in Europe by the end of 2021.
Recent research from Bridgestone has shown that 50% of European drivers consider acquiring a fully electric vehicle, and yet 37% are still skeptical about doing so due to concerns around efficiency and limited range.
Lightyear One addresses these concerns head-on by offering a range of 450 miles (725 kilometres). The vehicle is charged directly by the sun through a large solar roof, minimizing CO2 emissions and the charging needs of the user while maximizing efficiency.
To ensure the vehicle’s highest efficiency, Lightyear sought a tire that offered very low rolling resistance and reduced weight to preserve battery life, maximize vehicle range, and reduce environmental impact.
Bridgestone developed custom-engineered Turanza Eco tires for Lightyear One, combining its lightweight ENLITEN and ologic technologies for the first time.
The technologies reduce weight through the use of fewer raw materials throughout the manufacturing process while cutting rolling resistance through tread patterns, larger diameters, high inflation pressures, and a slim design.
Lighter battery benefit
The very low rolling resistance of the tires also means Lightyear One can benefit from a lighter battery.
The Turanza Eco tires are designed to boost range when compared to alternative Bridgestone EV-specific tires, equivalent to nearly 200 pounds (90 kilograms) reduction in weight. In addition to helping Lightyear One travel further between charges, the tire’s silica dispersion has been improved by applying a mixing technology with approximately a 10% overall reduction in the tire’s weight per vehicle.
For the first time, the Turanza Eco tires will bear the new Bridgestone EV marking on the sidewalls. The Bridgestone EV marking is applied to tires that are tailor-made for electric vehicles and indicates the tires underwent a rigorous testing process to receive approval from car manufacturers.
As a result, these tires support the unique features of electric vehicles and meet the car manufacturer’s requirements for battery range, vehicle control and tire wear life.
Bridgestone also utilized its Virtual Tire Development technology which enables modelling of a tire’s performance without having to physically produce and test it, saving up to 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometres) in real-life outdoor and fleet testing. It can also cut product development time by up to 50%.
Emilio Tiberio, COO & CTO of Bridgestone EMIA, explains: “Lightyear has impressed us with their approach to sustainable mobility ever since we saw the team take on the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, and we’re excited to play a part in the Lightyear One project.”
Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear, adds: “We’re particularly happy to see this collaboration between Bridgestone and Lightyear, with two companies that share a vision for future sustainable mobility coming together. The world is already experiencing unprecedented change and challenges, and through innovation and cutting-edge technologies we can work together to grasp the opportunities head on and create a more sustainable world.”