Following reports at the end of June that the UK government is consulting on current and forthcoming tyre legislation, it is worth taking a closer look and clarifying exactly what rules are passing through the labyrinths of legislative bureaucracy. In short, there are three strands of UK tyre legislation on the table at the moment: minimum standards legislation; current tyre labelling legislation; and forthcoming tyre labelling legislation. Taken together they will likely bring with them the largely unannounced consequence of having both old and new tyre labels in the market at the same time, for a while at least.
Following the news that new European tyre labels come into force on 1 May 2021, the UK government embarked on an “Improving new vehicle safety and environmental compliance plus passenger vehicle digital radio requirement” consultation on 1 June 2020.
The European Tyre Manufacturers’ Association has welcomed European Parliament’s vote to revise its Tyre Labelling Regulation. As a result of the update, industry must upload information about around 120,000 different tyres to be placed on the market to the European Product Database for Energy Labelling (EPREL) by 1 May 2021. The addition of this requirement is in line with the re-design of the label itself to conform with other applicable products. The association said this would better inform and further empower tyre buyers, while promoting uptake of tyres with the best safety and environmental performances. It also sounded a note of caution about the timescale for compliance with the update. The EPREL’s tyre application is still in development.
Many international manufacturers view a good EU tyre label result as a benchmark of product performance. At the end of 2018, Prinx Chengshan’s research and development centre in China began work on its ‘AA1’ project, with the aim of developing a product achieving the best label category for wet grip, rolling resistance and noise. The tyre maker reports that it’s achieved its goal.
On 29 April, the European Parliament announced that new tyre labelling rules have moved a step closer to implementation. The European Parliament and the Council of EU reached an informal agreement on the labelling scheme in November 2019. The Council formally endorsed the rules in February 2020 and Parliament’s industry, research and energy committee voted in favour of them on 28 April 2020. The Parliament as a whole must now approve the deal in order for the new labels to be rolled out.
Having hinted at its impending introduction in February, Goodyear has launched the Vector 4Seasons Gen-3. The most recent instalment in its award-winning range of all-season tyres, Goodyear’s latest generation tyre is designed to provide “improved snow, wet and dry performance”.
Following the news that there will be a new EU tyre label in 2021, the Council of the European Union has announced that it will officially adopt its position relating to the new label on 25 February 2020. In short the new tyre label has been confirmed and will in time be extended to include retreads. At the same time, the rescaling of fuel efficiency and wet grip measures has been halted.
Proposed changes to the EU Tyre Labelling Regulation came a step closer to becoming reality on Wednesday when the European Parliament, Council and Commission reached a political agreement on the matter. The text of the Regulation now awaits formal approval by the European Parliament and the Council. Once both endorse the updated Regulation in the coming months, it will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and will enter into force 20 days after publication. The new Regulation will apply from 1 May 2021.
The debate over how much tread depth is sufficient and recommendable has been going on for years. While some tyre makers and motoring groups support changing the legal minimum tread depth to 3mm as a move towards greater peace of mind, Michelin has been a vocal advocate of not only keeping 1.6mm the legal minimum but of actually using tyres right down to this tread depth. It is also one of a growing number of parties calling for legislation that informs consumers how tyres perform when worn. Earlier this month, Michelin shared the latest developments in the quest for ‘Long Lasting Performance’.
Michelin has been a vocal advocate of whole life tyre performance for several years now. Its belief that tyres should perform safely until reaching the legal tread depth limit of 1.6mm is gaining traction, and Michelin is confident that, within the next few years, tyre labelling will provide greater insight into how wear affects performance, particularly in wet conditions. The tyre maker is currently reiterating its commitment to ‘Long Lasting Performance’ and sharing the latest efforts to better inform tyre buyers. Further details will be reported here on Tyrepress.com and in next month’s Tyres & Accessories magazine.
Test World officially opened additional new indoor test facilities at its Ivalo, Finland operation on 27 March 2019, signalling the culminating of that latest part of a multi-million-euro series of investments in Test World. The recently constructed indoor facilities increase Test World’s capacity for year-round cold weather testing, allowing for simultaneous testing on snow, ice, and wet and dry asphalt, 365 days a year.
The European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) is ready to enter the final phase of the review on the 2009 EU Tyre Labelling Regulation, following the outcome of the European Parliament plenary vote to replace the existing regulation. The association said that “an improved Regulation” could be adopted in early 2020, should the new European Parliament move the file into trilogues in the second half of 2019. ETRMA added that it is pleased with the commitment and efforts by the European Institutions to pursue a new Tyre Labelling Regulation, as it “increases consumer awareness of the label and strengthens market surveillance and enforcement in EU Member States.”
On 4 March 2019 the European Union adopted its negotiating position on the introduction of the next phase of its European Tyre Labelling legislation. In short, the EU is updating its rules in order to add information on snow and ice grip and raise the prominence of labels for consumers. At the same time there are plans to broaden the scope of tyre labelling to include wear/mileage performance once suitable testing methods have been found.
The Tyre Industry Federation (TIF) has announced that it understands the Department for Transport (DfT) intends to retain alignment with future evolutions of the EU tyre labelling regulations in the UK, at least as far as the label itself is concerned. The rationale is to ensure a smoothly working market for tyres, the TIF adds.