The Royal Mail postal delivery service is undertaking a trial of emission reducing tires to evaluate their impact on the environment.
Lasting between six to nine months, the trial involves 15 electric vans based at the company’s West London Delivery Depot, near Wembley in London.
The tires have been specifically designed to help reduce particulate matter emissions, increasingly fingered - along with brake dust residue - as a source of vehicle pollution.
According to Emissions Analytics, an independent global testing and data specialist, tire debris can be up to 1000 times more polluting than exhaust emissions, particularly from larger vehicles such as SUVs.
The Royal Mail trial is a joint venture with Transport for London (TfL) - the body responsible for transportation across London - and manufacturer ENSO. It forms part of the London FreightLab innovation challenge which aims to tackle pollution, congestion and road danger in London.
ENSO claims its tires produce fewer microparticles in comparison with normal tires, and can also increase vehicle range. Tests carried out by ENSO says this can be up to 11% better compared with standard tires, so there are potential efficiency and cost reduction upsides, too.
During the trial period, the tires will be monitored and weighed every six weeks to measure wear rate and to estimate reduction in particulate matter emissions. The checks will also ensure that the tires are wearing correctly and to identify any potential safety issues.
Royal Mail says that, if the trial proves a success, it may inform future purchasing decisions across its vehicle fleet.
James Baker, chief engineer and fleet director at Royal Mail commented:
“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 tires enables us to help achieve this, while allowing us to continue to deliver letters and parcels safely, efficiently and responsibly.”