Royal Mail begins emission-cutting tyre trial for electric vans

The six to nine-month trial will see innovative tyres fitted to selected electric vans to test their emission-reducing and efficiency-enhancing capabilities.

Royal Mail is to embark on a six to nine-month trial of new tyres on a number of electric vehicles (EVs). The tyres are specially designed to help reduce particulate matter emissions and improve the range, efficiency and longevity of vehicles.

The trial is a joint venture between Royal Mail, Transport for London (TfL) and ENSO, as part of the London FreightLab innovation challenge. This challenge aims to tackle pollution, congestion and road danger in London.

The tyres, from manufacturer ENSO, claim to produce fewer microparticles in comparison to normal tyres, and increase vehicle range. Tests carried out by ENSO have also shown that its tyres can increase EV range by up to 11%, compared to standard tyres[2].

Fifteen electric vans at the West London Delivery Office, near Wembley, will be fitted with the new tyres during the trial.

Throughout the six to nine-month period, the tyres will be monitored and weighed every six weeks to measure their wear rate and to estimate reduction in particulate matter emissions. The checks will also ensure that the tyres fitted are wearing properly and that there are no health, safety or vehicle wear and tear issues.

If the trial is successful, its results may inform future purchasing decisions across Royal Mail’s fleet.

To further enhance the benefits of switching to electric vehicles, innovations in tyre design could help reduce particulate matter emissions from tyre wear and tear. EVs are generally heavier than internal combustion vehicles and, according to some reports, this extra weight increases wear and tear, thus contributing to particle pollution.

ENSO’s range-extending and pollution-reducing tyres recently broke a world hypermiling record, achieving the longest distance ever driven by a Renault Zoe on a single charge (475 miles); outperforming an identical vehicle fitted with OEM tyres (which itself covered 424 miles, an increase in range of over 50 miles).

This trial may help Royal Mail explore additional ways to reduce its operational footprint.

James Baker, Chief Engineer and Fleet Director at Royal Mail, said: “As a company, we are committed to making changes to our operations that reduce our environmental impact. The trial and potential wide scale introduction of more efficient and environmentally friendly tyres enables us to help achieve this, while allowing us to continue to deliver letters and parcels safely, efficiently and responsibly.”

Gunnlaugur Erlendsson, founder and CEO at ENSO, said: “ENSO’s innovative EV tyres are designed to be EV-range-extending and PM-pollution-reducing, and through TfL’s FreightLab trial with Royal Mail, we aim to demonstrate their contribution towards reducing air pollution in London.”

“ENSO’s mission is to disrupt the £200billion global tyre industry and deliver the most efficient, durable and sustainable tyres for EVs. By developing better EV tyres, we can reduce pollution and carbon emissions in line with the UK, and indeed global commitments, to reach Net-Zero.”

“Ultra-low energy consumption per mile means that our EV tyres not only save cost and electricity but also improve vehicle operations while extending EV-range, moving the tyre industry truly into the electric age.”

Rikesh Shah, TfL’s Head of Commercial Innovation, said: ‘We’re really excited that our London FreightLab Innovation Challenge has helped to produce this partnership between Royal Mail and ENSO, which is helping us to explore how to make tyres more sustainable, durable and efficient.”

“London FreightLab is a completely new way of looking at freight for TfL and it is fantastic to see innovative products such as EV-tyres in action on the capital’s streets, helping to extend the life of tyres on electric vehicles, which are a vital part of reducing air pollution in London.”

Image: courtesy Royal Mail press office

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