Enso Tyres will supply its product for 15 electric postal vans to be retrofitted in London in the trial that is being run ahead of a potential roll-out across the company’s van fleet.
Designed to be lighter and more durable, as well as being sourced lower-carbon raw materials, these “sustainable tyres” aim to help reduce rubber pollution from tyre wear, specially calibrated for EVs.
While Royal Mail is slowly replacing its petrol vans with electric models, it acknowledged that as electric vans are heavier they may lead to more rubber particulate emissions.
“We are committed to making changes to our operations that reduce our environmental impact,” said James Baker, Royal Mail’s chief engineer and fleet director.
Enso, which in June secured GBP1.5mln from high-net-worth investors and the UK Future Fund, followed by GBP1.8mln in a crowdfunding round, said its tests show the tyres can also help vans run more efficiently, increasing range by over 10% and have achieved ‘A’ energy efficiency ratings in Germany.
As part of its partnership with FreightLab, the London-based tyre maker is also carrying out trials with DPD, and has plans to expand to California by 2022.
It is looking to operate using a direct-to-customer ‘pay-per-mile’ model, designed to “disrupt legacy distribution to serve EV-carmakers, fleets and private individuals directly” by “shifting financial incentives away from shorter-life highly-polluting tyres, towards affordable, durable and low-emission tyres”.
Royal Mail, which is also trialling new shorts for its postal workers, and trial partner FreightLab will monitor and weigh the tyres every six weeks for at least six months.
Gunnlaugur Erlendsson, founder and chief executive at ENSO, said: “Through TfL’s FreightLab trial with Royal Mail, we aim to demonstrate their contribution towards reducing air pollution in London.”