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Bridgestone joins DOE fuel-efficiency initiative

Bridgestone — which earlier this year joined a $1.25 million collaborative project with PPG Industries to study this same subject  — will receive federal funding toward its research as a team member of the Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck II program.

“Bridgestone is committed to engineering innovative products and solutions that maximize uptime, improve efficiency and deliver best-in-class performance for our commercial customers,” said Steve Charles, vice president of product development, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations.

“Additionally, this project is closely aligned with our internal goal to produce best-in-class products that contribute to reducing global CO2 emissions by 50 percent or greater by the year 2050.”

Bridgestone said its involvement is aimed at significantly reducing the environmental impact of the 3.5 million-plus heavy-duty Class 8 long-haul tractor trailer trucks on the nation’s roads. The DOE will match the Bridgestone investment dollar-for-dollar to create prototype tires for the steer, drive and trailer axle positions.

The program will incorporate six different tire technologies, Bridgestone said, including tire sizing, curing, casing construction, casing compounds, tread patterns and tread compounding.

The prototype tires are expected to deliver an improvement in fuel efficiency of up to 6 percent through a 30-percent drop in rolling resistance compared with the DOE’s baseline product tires, while meeting or exceeding customer expectations in wear and traction.

Bridgestone estimates full implementation of the technology over the Class 8 vehicle population would save nearly 3 billion gallons of diesel fuel per year, which corresponds to 30 million metric tons of annual CO2 emissions reduction.       

The SuperTruck II program was created by the DOE to research, develop and demonstrate technologies to improve heavy-truck freight efficiency by more than 100 percent, with an emphasis on technology, cost-effectiveness and performance.

The DOE awarded $1.5 million grants to Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Goodyear and PPG Industries Inc. in 2011 to study, evaluate and develop technologies for improving the fuel economy of the nation's vehicle fleet.

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