Nokian says Europe will be the first region in the world to start using an ice grip label for tyres.

In addition to this, tyres will have a snow grip symbol and a QR code that lead to a European database.

The changes will become effective 1 May. The aim is for the new labels to help buyers compare different tyres and guide them towards safer, eco-friendlier products.

Tyre labels will be renewed across the entire EU. New labels are required on tyres manufactured after April, 2021.

All-season, summer and non-studded winter tyres sold within the EU received the first EU labels in 2012. Thus far, the label requirement has applied to tyres for passenger cars, SUVs and vans and the required information has included rolling resistance, wet grip and external rolling noise.

The labels are now changing and the information must also cover grip on snow and ice, the previous scale is being renewed and a QR code is added to the label. The requirement does not apply to studded winter tyres.

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“In practice, wet grip is the opposite of ice grip: developing one usually reduces the other,” said Nokian Tyres Technical Services manager, Matti Morri.

“Tyres designed for Central Europe emphasise the characteristics required on bare roads, whereas the ice grip symbol indicates the tyre genuinely works and remains safe in the challenging Nordic winter conditions.

“We do not recommend using tyres designed for Central Europe under conditions they are not intended for.”

Nokian adds the new labelling system may even guide tyre choices on the B2B side, as the requirements will now extend to truck and bus tyres. There, labels have only been used in marketing materials. These tyres will not have an ice grip symbol.

“The increased emphasis on sustainability will make low rolling resistance and fuel economy even more important,” said Nokian Heavy Tyres product manager, Teppo Siltanen.

“On the other hand, snow grip is very important especially in Germany and the Nordic countries. We need to remember to maintain a good balance between the different characteristics.”

Nearly 90% of a tyre’s carbon footprint is generated during its use, with Nokian Tyres noting it has been working for a long time to lower the rolling resistance of its products. It has reduced rolling resistance of its tyres by 8.5% on average compared to 2013. Lower rolling resistance means lower fuel consumption and lower carbon dioxide emissions.

“When the EU wanted to add a rolling resistance label on tyres in the early 2000s, the tyre industry required a wet grip label alongside it in order to avoid an emphasis on energy efficiency at the cost of safety,” added Nokian SRA manager, Jarmo Sunnari.

“The environmental organisations wanted to have a noise-related characteristic on the label and this led to the original label that indicated rolling resistance, wet grip and external rolling noise.”

“The QR code is a new item on the tyre label that will guide you to a massive database that accumulates information on all of the tyres available on the European market. The product information is standardised, allowing for an easy comparison of the tyres.

“In the future, the tyre labels will be expanded further, as they will also report abrasion, or tyre wear and mileage or the tyre’s service life on the road. The decision has already been made, but confirming the test methods will take years.”