New Bridgestone U-AP 002 developed on Manchester bus fleet
Manufacturer’s ‘quietest-ever’ bus tyre features rolling resistance improvement, for a ‘cleaner, greener’ tyre
April’s launch of Bridgestone’s quietest bus and coach tyre ever made followed 18 months of internal testing with its biggest fleet customer. The tyre is in part a product of a lengthy development project with Stagecoach, whose Manchester city centre fleet of green vehicles became the first in Europe to operate on the product. The U-AP 002 reduces rolling resistance, extends mileage, and reduces fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and total cost of ownership according to Bridgestone’s testing against its predecessor in size 275/70 R22.5. The tyre was developed to fulfil the requirements of an electric and hybrid bus fleet, a quickly growing target market.
Bridgestone’s commercial sales director Greg Ward said the creation of the product was “a feat of engineering.” He said: “There is often a compromise in performance when meeting the environmental needs of a fleet, but this isn’t the case with the U-AP 002. It is the quietest tyre we have ever made, whilst also offering greater wear life performance versus predecessor.
“Fleets need to hit greater sustainability and efficiency targets whilst also looking for a long lasting, top performing product regardless of the powertrain. We’ve ticked all of the boxes with the U-AP 002.”
Tyre characteristics and features
At 69dB, the U-AP 002 is Bridgestone’s quietest bus product to date, reducing noise pollution by 2dB compared to its predecessor. It has a higher load capacity versus the 001, which is crucial when factoring in battery weight. The U-AP 002 is certified to eight tonnes in steer axle.
The tyre boasts a B-grade in rolling resistance, reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. It also offers 9 per cent longer tyre life to ensure excellent mileage, Bridgestone testing confirms. The tyre’s thick sidewall protection and strong casing mean it is robust and suitable for multiple retreads, also reducing the total cost of ownership. It is fully winter ready, with 3PMSF and M+S markings.
The U-AP 002 will also be supplied with electronic tagging system RFID (radio-frequency identification) which will bring further value to fleet customers by enhancing the traceability of their tyre casings and providing a time-efficient and accurate system for data sharing and entry. Customers will be able to freely access their report findings, which will ultimately help to educate the business and optimise their total cost of ownership.
Greg Ward added that the ability to test the tyre with Stagecoach over 18 months was crucial in the tyre’s overall development; the specification of which will be replicated in many other European markets as a result.
“To be able to work with Stagecoach meant a huge amount to us at Bridgestone and it underlines the relationship we have with the prestigious fleet.
“The sight of their green double decker buses silently travelling through Manchester really does make you feel proud. We have managed to design a solution that not only benefits Stagecoach’s unique requirements, but society and the environment as a whole.”
He said that future conversations about bus and coach tyres would move to battery efficiency, in much the same way that fleets discuss fuel efficiency today.
“This will become a more prevalent factor in the future, as battery life will be something that fleets want to prolong for as long as possible, for obvious reasons. The fact that our tyres assists in this area is a feature that we will look to communicate in the future, for definite.”
Sam Greer, regional director for Stagecoach added: “As more and more electric vehicles roll out across the country, it’s crucial that we have a reliable product that supports our aim of delivering cleaner air in the towns and cities we service.
“We’re pleased to have worked with Bridgestone on the development and testing of their U-AP 002 tyre on our Manchester fleet. This cleaner, greener and quieter bus tyre has met all of our expectations and supports our drive to improve sustainability of our services.”