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Vehicle fleet operators save fuel using "green tires"

Pilot project as part of SmartCity Cologne

The Lanxess and RheinEnergie joint practical tire test is part of the SmartCity Cologne project, which was launched by RheinEnergie and the City of Cologne in 2012.

"Through the SmartCity initiative Cologne is looking to demonstrate that successful commercial development and the goals of environmental protection are not mutually exclusive," explains Dr. Barbara Möhlendick, climate protection coordinator of the City of Cologne. "I am firmly convinced that state-of-the-art technologies can offer innovative approaches for solving not only pressing climate and environmental protection problems but also urban planning issues. The success of the practical tire test is a perfect example."

SmartCity Cologne is a platform for various projects relating to climate protection and the energy revolution. Anyone can take part – private individuals, companies, associations and initiatives. Together, they develop intelligent ideas and pioneering technologies that make Cologne a better place. The key players are using SmartCity to respond to the challenges posed by climate change. As part of the project, technologies and services are being tried out that will shape eco-friendly urban living in the future.

Details of the Lanxess and RheinEnergie practical tire test

Over a period of half a year, the fuel consumption of six identical RheinEnergie utility vehicles was examined under real conditions. The performance for both "green tires" and standard tires was compared to establish the potential savings. Weighing approximately two metric tons, the vehicles covered similar areas in the City of Cologne and the surrounding area during the test period. Driver, loaded weight and refueling procedures were identical for the vehicles. Over the length of the trial, all six vehicles covered a total distance of approximately 37,000 kilometers.

To achieve valid results, the half-yearly test was conducted in two phases. During the first three months, the three vehicles in group 1 were fitted with "green tires" (rolling resistance class B on the EU tire label), while the other three, in group 2, had standard tires (rolling resistance class F on the EU tire label). This was reversed in the second phase. The results showed that the maximum fuel saving amounted to 6.96 percent and CO2 emissions dropped by up to 155 kilograms per 10,000 kilometers.

Compulsory EU labeling since 2012

Compulsory labeling of new tires with the EU tire label came into force on November 1, 2012. This applies to tires for both private cars and light and heavy commercial vehicles. The label grades the rolling resistance (i.e. fuel consumption) of a model on a scale of A (low) to G (high). It also provides buyers with information about wet grip (safety) and the rolling noise volume. "Green tires" attain particularly good marks on the EU label.

Lanxess calculators help to save fuel

Specialty chemicals company Lanxess also provides a specially designed calculation program for fleets, the "Lanxess Vehicle Fleet Calculator". This helps operators efficiently reduce their vehicles' fuel consumption and lower operating costs. It enables fleet operators to calculate for themselves how much fuel they could save in the long term by switching their vehicles to "green tires." The program also shows the point from which it is worthwhile making that kind of investment and the reduction in fleet CO2 emissions. Lanxessdeveloped the calculator in collaboration with the Technical University of Munich. The full program is available free of charge online, requiring only a brief registration process, at http://flotte.green-mobility.de/en.