This should provide consumers with increased awareness, as they will be in possession of better information about the choice of tyres. These are the ambitious targets which the European Union is setting itself with the proposed modifications to the regulations which in 2012 introduced obligatory labelling for car tyres throughout all the countries in the Union. Thanks to the new rules, people will be able to choose the tyres which consume less fuel, and which are safer and quieter.
TWO NEW PARAMETERS
The new regulations, which are due to become applicable from 1st May 2021 and which also apply to light and heavy industrial vehicles, call for a label with more complete and detailed information than the current type, in order to provide drivers with additional means of evaluation by promoting the efficiency and safety of their tyres and improving market vigilance.
In particular, the label appearing on the new tyres will have to make it clearer what impact the tyre has on fuel consumption and on safety via a system, which already exists today, similar to the one already in use for domestic appliances. An evaluation ranging from class A, which indicates the maximum level of efficiency, through to class E.
The European authorities are looking for a significant impact on the reduction of emissions thanks to the new labelling, with an energy saving equivalent to the result of eliminating 4 million cars per year from the roads. According to data from the European Commission, the rolling resistance of a car's tyres absorbs between 20% and 30% of its fuel consumption.
THE LABEL IS (ALSO) BECOMING A WINTER ONE
Furthermore, from May 2021 the new label will introduce an option to include an indication which designates tyres that are suited to driving on snow and/or ice. The two new pictograms will be in addition to the parameters which are already indicated at present, that is to say their rolling resistance, which has an impact on fuel consumption, wet adherence and rolling sound.
There will, however, be a substantial difference between the new parameters and the traditional ones. Whereas the latter are evaluated in the form of letters or numbers, the suitability of a tyre for driving on snow and on ice will be expressed in the form of one or both of the two symbols.
In the first instance, it is a matter of certifying the manufacturers who will need to declare in their tests whether or not that specific tyre model has achieved a certain minimum rating (the wet adherence index as defined under UNECE regulation No. 117).
Passing the test will allow the label on the tyre to display the symbol of the triple-peaked mountain with the snowflake inside it. On the other hand, there will be a self-certification mechanism for driving on ice: suitable tyres will show an upward-pointing triangle on their label.
The new labelling will also need to be shown on tyres for heavy industrial vehicles, which are not presently covered by such regulations, in the context of the initiatives for clean mobility. And this is where it will prove even more useful, given the heavier fuel consumption of this category of vehicles.
THE APPROVAL PROCESS
The political agreement reached last November now needs to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the European Council. The regulations, once they have been published in the official gazette of the European Union, will apply from 1st May 2021.