Bridgestone is to roll out run-flat tyres as replacement options in the European market this spring.
According to a Nikkei report, the company is citing the innovation of strengthened sidewalls that enable uninterrupted travel to a service station.
DriveGuard tyres allow cars to travel 80km at 80kph after they become deflated. Its softer fortified rubber makes the product suitable for any model as an aftermarket option, it is claimed. With Europe requiring all new cars to have tyre-pressure-monitoring sensors starting in November 2014, Bridgestone decided they could gain wide traction among drivers there.
This will be the fourth market for Bridgestone's DriveGuard tyes, following the US, China and South Africa.
Extended mobility tyres (or run-flat tyres) provide reliable assistance in the event of a loss of pressure. They allow a vehicle to safely continue on its way at a specified maximum speed for a certain distance.
There are basically two types of run-flat tyres:
- Reinforced tyre sidewalls – as the name suggests, the sidewall of the tyre is reinforced to enable the tyre to support the vehicle's weight. This technology is being used by a number of tyre makers, including Bridgestone, Continental, Dunlop, Goodyear and Pirelli.
- Rubber clip on tyre rim -- the clip prevents the tyre rim cutting into the tyre in the event of a sudden loss of air pressure. Michelin uses such a system, known as the PAX System
Both types operate with tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS).
Despite a slow start, manufacturers are reporting a brisk business for run-flats. Over the last decade a number of automakers have added run-flat tyres on their vehicles, either as standard or optional fitment. These include BMW, Ford, Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Toyota, Lexus, Mazda, Volvo, Volkswagen, Audi and Nissan. Traditionally, automakers tend to use run-flats on sports cars but other non-sporty cars have it, too.