Not only is the Turanza EV made for zero-emission vehicles, but it’s also made with recycled and renewable materials.
On May 19th, 2023, Bridgestone unveiled the company’s first-ever replacement tire designed exclusively for the electric vehicle market. The Turanza EV grand touring tire debuted with limited fitments aimed specifically at premium EVs, with plans to introduce additional sizes next year.
The initial fitments are aimed at the Tesla Model 3, Model S, Model X, Model Y and the Ford Mustang Mach-E. The following five sizes are now available at retailers in both Canada and the U.S.A.: 235/40R19 W XL, 235/40R18 Y XL, 255/45R19 W XL, 245/45R19 W XL, and 245/45R20 W XL. Another 13 sizes will be introduced to the Turanza EV lineup in 2024.
“We really wanted to focus this tire on those premium electric vehicle fitments,” explains Dale Harrigle, Chief Engineer of Consumer Replacement Tires for Bridgestone Americas. “Doing this gave us the opportunity to focus our development efforts on those vehicles and really give the consumer what they need for those specific vehicles.”
Harrigle says that developing the new tire for such a niche market was a new challenge for him and his team. “We typically develop tires for a wide range of vehicles,” he says. “In this case, we really laser-focused our development efforts on the performance of the Tesla and the Mach-E.”
The Turanze EV is the first Bridgestone tire to employ what the company calls “ENLITEN” technology, which in part allows Bridgestone to incorporate renewable and recycled materials when making a tire.
In fact, the Turanze EV incorporates 50% renewable and recycled materials, including recycled carbon black from end-of-life tires, synthetic rubber derived from recycled plastic bags and bottles, renewable soybean oil, and rice husk silica derived from, what else, rice husks.
To be clear, Bridgestone isn’t shredding old tires at their factory in order to source recycled carbon black. They’re buying it from a third party. The same applies to the synthetic rubber that comes from recycled plastic bags and bottles. “We have a supplier that’s providing the raw feedstock for our polymer development,” says Harrigle, “and that raw feedstock is created from recycled plastic bags and bottles.”
One of the biggest challenges facing the industry right now is the fact that EVs tend to go through tires more quickly than anticipated. Tires that would normally last three or four years on a vehicle, often need to be replaced much sooner because of the extra load and stresses associated with the weight of the batteries, and the formidable instant torque produced by some electric motors. However, Bridgestone thinks they have found a way to extend the life of their dedicated EV tire.
“The biggest challenge for us, from the standpoint of tire performance for the EV, is wear,” Harrigle admits. “One way we’re countering that performance challenge is with our PeakLife polymer, which is a Bridgestone proprietary formulation that bonds to the silica in the compound more effectively than conventional synthetic rubbers. So with PeakLife we are bonding to the silica at about a 50% level, and with conventional synthetic rubber, we’re at about 20%. So that increased bonding gives us better wear life, it gives us better-rolling resistance, and it allows us to maintain the rest of the performance envelope of the tire.”
In Canada, the Turanza EV comes with an 80,000 km warranty, and Harrigle says he and his team are confident that the new tire will exceed expectations.
A quiet ride
One of the key features EV owners want in a tire is a quiet ride. Without engine noise masking the road noise, loud tires are all the more annoying on an EV. Bridgestone believes they can offer a “whisper-quiet ride,” thanks to the QuietTrack technology embedded in the tread of the new Turanza EV tire.
QuietTrack technology is all about tread design. Bridgestone explains it this way: QuietTrack “combines precisely tuned and tested enhancements in the tread to help dampen road noise.”
Those “enhancements” Harrigle explains, are the small grooves that are cut into the tread. “QuietTrack breaks up the noise generation as the tire pattern rolls down the road,” he says, “and by breaking up that generated noise it actually gives a quieter experience for the consumer. So it’s a way to modify how the noise is generated as the tire interacts with the road, reduce that noise level, and give the consumer a quieter ride.”
The Turanza EV isn’t the first tire in Bridgestone’s lineup to take advantage of QuietTrack technology. In fact, the company has long offered a tire that is all about a quiet ride: the Turanza QuietTrack. The Turanza EV employs the same technology, and Harrigle says that the new EV tire is probably slightly quieter than the Turanza QuietTrack, which is welcome news for EV owners who cherish the ambiance of a silent passenger cabin.
Wet & snow
According to Bridgestone, the new Turanza EV tire is “wet road ready,” meaning that wet braking and handling are on par with what you would expect from a touring tire. “This tire uses our latest full-depth 3D sipe technology, which allows us to provide consistent performance across the life of the tire because the sipes go all the way through the tread volume,” Harrigle says. “Sipes increase wet performance, and they also provide winter performance, since this an all-season tire.”
While suitable for all four seasons in some parts of North America, the Turanza EV may not be the right option for drivers in some parts of Canada, where winter tires are a must. It is not 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake certified, and not engineered to deal with harsh winter conditions.
While the Turanza EV is Bridgestone’s first-ever EV replacement tire, this is not the company’s first experience with the EV market. In fact, Bridgestone already supplies OE tires for the Mercedes-Benz EQS, the Volkswagen ID.4, and the new Fisker Ocean.