With the 2019/20 season’s Premier League back underway, runaway leaders Liverpool FC’s team bus is primed to roll on official tyre sponsor, Falken rubber. The manufacturer’s RI151 pattern is fitted by Protyre and supplied in the UK by Micheldever Tyre Services.
While much of the tyre industry has helped keep Britain rolling during the coronavirus lockdown, commercial vehicle technicians have played a particularly key role since they have serviced the fleets that have kept the blue lights flashing, the food deliveries moving and much more. In order to gain an inside perspective, Tyres & Accessories spoke with Bridgestone North Region Commercial Business Unit Director Greg Ward who, prior to his promotion into this role in October 2019, served as the company’s commercial sales director, UK and Ireland, for 17 years.
Say hello to new generation of Pirelli tyres for buses and coaches engaged in regional and long-distance service. The H:01 Coach line-up includes the FH:01 all-axle and the specialised TH:01 drive tyre fitment. Manufacturer Prometeon says its R&D team aimed to develop a product that satisfies the needs of operators in the sector while keeping pace with the evolution of both vehicle technologies and regulations covering CO2 emissions and noise.
Bridgestone Corporation has named its barrier-free bus stop kerb system, and that name is PlusStop. The company says the name PlusStop was selected as it represents the “extra value the system adds to a traditional bus stop”.
Although numerous manufacturers are currently engaged in testing with major customers, electrification hasn’t yet come to the commercial vehicle segment in a significant way. The exception to this is bus transport. China has taken the lead here, with some 400,000 electric buses – at least a tenth of China’s bus parc and 98 per cent of the world total – plying the country’s urban areas. And while (according to Wood Mackenzie) just 3,700 electric buses were in service across Europe last year, just 0.5 per cent of the region’s total bus fleet, this figure is rising. Tyre makers are following this trend closely.
Giti Tire has launched its next generation, three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) certified, all-position urban-bus tyre, the Giti GAU867v1. Replacing the popular Giti GAU861 and Giti GT867 patterns, initial key sizes include 275/70R22.5, 295/80R22.5 and 11R22.5, all of which possess market standard load and speed indices. The manufacturer states that the tyre is designed for hard urban use, and utilises the manufacturer’s latest casing construction, enhancing mileage and handling and retreadability, a key market stipulator due to a short original lifespan.
Michelin has secured a major new five-year deal with East Midlands bus operator trentbarton. The EffiTires contract will see Michelin supply, fit and manage tyres across trentbarton’s 463-strong fleet, which operates more than 40 services throughout Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire. The bus company has returned to Michelin following three years fitting a competitor brand of tyres.
Italian distributor of replacement tyres, Fintyre has been awarded the tender for the supply of tyres for public transport vehicles, launched by ATM (Azienda Trasporti Milanesi), with an auction base of 2.632 million euro.
Hankook tyres will be fitted to more than 1,100 city buses in Barcelona under a new supply agreement with the city’s main public transit operator, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB). Tyres will be supplied and fitted by Grupo Soledad, Hankook Tire’s distributor in Spain.
The Conti Urban HA3 is the Continental commercial tyre of choice for city-based usage. The range has now been extended with the introduction of a tyre optimised for the weight requirements and torque delivery of electric city buses.
Following strenuous campaigning from the industry, Tyred and Frances Molloy in particular, the government announced on 26 February that it will consult on “options to ban older tyres from use on buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles and mini-buses to help keep road users safe”. The Department for Transport explained that the proposed legislation will make it illegal for these vehicles to run with a tyre aged 10 years or over.
Having published its definitive decision on Chinese-produced truck tyre dumping, the European Union has also rejected claims that Pirelli is not related to either China National Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd (CNRC, which is owned by ChemChina) or Aeolus. Therefore, any tyres made by any of the related companies in China have to be subject to comparable import tariffs.