Europe will be the first region in the world to start using an ice grip label for tires. In addition to this, tires will have a snow grip symbol and a QR code that lead to an extensive, European database. The change will become effective on May 1. The aim is for the new labels to help buyers compare different tires and guide them toward safer, eco-friendlier tire choices. As a winter tire pioneer, Nokian Tyres has been working for a long time to develop the labels. This work is now paying off.
Tire labels will be renewed across the entire EU. New labels are required on tires manufactured after April 2021, so the new labels will start gradually appearing on tires that are offered for sale.
All-season tires, summer tires, and non-studded winter tires sold within the EU received the first EU tire labels in 2012. Thus far, the label requirement has applied to tires 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 tires.
– In practice, wet grip is the opposite of ice grip: developing one usually reduces the other. Tires designed for Central Europe emphasize the characteristics required on bare roads, whereas the ice grip symbol indicates that the tire genuinely works and remains safe in the challenging Nordic winter conditions. We do not recommend using tires designed for Central Europe under conditions that they are not intended for, says Technical Customer Service Manager Matti Morri from Nokian Tyres.
Truck and bus tires will also receive labels
The new labeling system may even guide tire choices on the B2B side, as the requirements will now extend to truck and bus tires. There, the tire labels have only been used in marketing materials. These tires will not have an ice grip symbol.
– The increased emphasis on sustainability will make low rolling resistance and fuel economy even more important. 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, says Product Manager Teppo Siltanen from Nokian Heavy Tyres.
Nearly 90% of a tire’s carbon footprint is generated during its use, which is why Nokian Tyres has been working for a long time to lower the rolling resistance of its products. We have reduced
the rolling resistance of our tires by 8.5% on average compared to 2013. Lower rolling resistance means lower fuel consumption and lower carbon dioxide emissions.
Massive database of all tires
– When the EU wanted to add a rolling resistance label on tires in the early 2000s, the tire industry required a wet grip label alongside it in order to avoid an emphasis on energy efficiency at the cost of safety. The environmental organizations 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, says Jarmo Sunnari, SRA Manager for Nokian Tyres.
The goals for the renewal of the tire labels include making choice easier for tire buyers and improving overall driving safety. The original goal for the tire labels – that is, reducing emissions – remains valid.
– The QR code is a new item on the tire label that will guide you to a massive database that accumulates information on all of the tires available on the European market. The product information is standardized, allowing for an easy comparison of the tires, Sunnari says.
– In the future, the tire labels will be expanded further, as they will also report abrasion, or tire wear, and mileage or the tire’s service life on the road. The decision has already been made but confirming the test methods will take years.