Continental is currently testing prototype tyres for electric buses at its Contidrom proving ground in northern Germany. These prototypes, developed built by the tyre maker’s Prototyping department in Hanover-Stöcken and featuring hand-carved tread patterns, are the fruit of joint work with vehicle manufacturer VDL Bus & Coach. The partners’ aim is to reduce the time taken to complete the tyre development cycle, which currently takes three to five years from initial prototype to volume production.
On 26 October 2020, The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 statutory instrument was made. Three days later it was laid before Parliament. It comes into force on 1 February 2021. As a result, 10 year-old and older commercial vehicle tyres will be illegal in the UK from the 1 February 2021. And therefore, the Tyred campaign to ban old and dangerous tyres led by Frances Molloy has achieved a key goal.
Twenty Wrightbus hydrogen double-decker buses have been ordered by Birmingham City Council as part of its Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot. The buses will be added to the National Express West Midlands fleet and will operate from April 2021. The city already has 29 battery-electric double-decker buses in circulation and this order represents the council’s latest move to drive down emissions.
Giti Tire has extended its Giti GAU867v1 all-position tyre range to size 215/75R17.5. The tyre is suitable for small ‘stop-start’ city buses and 7.5 tonne delivery vehicles within the growth market of urban transportation. The tyre replaces the established Giti GAR820 in this size.
Aeolus has launched its new NEO Urban D bus tyre in size 275/70R22.5. The tyre has been specially developed for the drive axle. Jeroen Vos, Aeolus product manager comments that the new addition “allows us to offer a complete range of tyres for city buses, in a variety of sizes and patterns.” The tyre is available in much of Western Europe via Heuver, which has distributed the brand since 2004.
Hankook has introduced a new line of Laufenn brand commercial vehicle tyres in the UK. With Laufenn the Korean tyre manufacturer targets the second tier of the market. Hankook initially launches Laufenn in the UK with nine patterns covering more than 85 per cent of tyres in the market for goods and people transportation, as well as construction truck tyres. Hankook adds that most sizes offer the three peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) marking for use in winter conditions. The Laufenn CV tyre range was due to be presented in the UK at the Commercial Vehicle Show, before the Birmingham NEC event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
A cross-party group of MPs with bus manufacturing sites within their constituencies have written to the Prime Minister to demand the £3 billion he committed in February to fund investment in “at least 4,000 new zero emissions buses” is brought forward as soon as possible.
Continental Tyres has unveiled a new commercial vehicle steer tyre, designed for high mileage and even wear during both regional and long-haul use – the Conti Hybrid HS3+. The Conti Hybrid HS3+ will be available in the UK from August 2020.
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.