Bridgestone Americas is working with PPG Industries to create commercial tires designed to improve fuel economy for trucks and buses.
The two companies, funded by a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, will determine if specialized silica developed by PPG will not only improve tire traction and durability but also improve vehicle fuel efficiency by 4 to 6 percent.
Prototypes of the tires should be ready in about three years.
Pittsburgh-based PPG says that their high-performance silica known as Agilon improves fuel consumption by reducing rolling resistance in tires. Extended tread wear and improved traction are also to be expected, the company tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. struck a deal with PPG last year to manufacture tires with Agilon. PPG’s plant in the Netherlands is stepping up production of the silica.