Bridgestone: Helping to drive the auto industry forward
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Although many of today's drivers know very little about their tires, a vehicle's performance begins where it makes contact with the road. While tires are one of the most overlooked features of a vehicle, they also are one of the most sophisticated and technologically-advanced components on a car.
A leader in the tire and rubber industry, Bridgestone continually challenges itself to innovate and improve. Through innovation, a commitment to world-class products and partnerships with automakers around the world, Bridgestone has solidified its role as a global enterprise that is revolutionizing the tires today's consumers find equipped on their vehicles.
A truly global company
Bridgestone is the world's largest tire and rubber company, operating in more than 150 countries worldwide. The company, which includes both the Bridgestone and Firestone brands, has a tradition of innovation, service and quality that spans 115 years. The legacy of the company's founders is very much alive today and is embodied in Bridgestone's 143,000 employees globally, who are pioneering new technologies to bring innovation to today's consumer, as well as tomorrow's.
In 2014, Bridgestone further cemented its position as a global leader when it signed on as one of 12 TOP Worldwide Olympic partners, connecting the brand to one of the biggest and most celebrated events in the world. The partnership, which runs through the 2024 Olympic Games, demonstrates Bridgestone's passion for performance – a passion that can be seen throughout its original equipment and replacement tire product portfolios.
Bridgestone works closely with virtually every global automotive manufacturer, including BMW, FCA, Ford, GM, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota, among others. The company innovates and engineers tires that deliver maximum performance on many of today's most popular vehicles—including the Mazda MX-5 Miata (featuring the ultra-high performance Potenza line), the Lexus RX (featuring the Bridgestone Ecopia line) and the all-new Toyota Tacoma (featuring the Firestone Destination tire line).
The company has been at the forefront of consumer automotive trends, while working in partnership with manufacturers to provide tire fitments attuned to drivers' needs.
"Technology is rapidly changing the automotive industry and tire innovation is playing a key role in this technology revolution," said Mike Martini, president, original equipment, U.S. and Canada Consumer Tire Sales Divisions, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. "Tires are an important tuning knob for a vehicle. They play a vital role in delivering the automaker's desired vehicle performance."
ologic Tire Technology from Bridgestone
There is perhaps no greater testament to Bridgestone's ability to deliver innovation in partnership with an automaker than the tires outfitting the revolutionary BMW i3. Offering unprecedented levels of both efficiency and performance, the i3 required more than just a new tire – it demanded a next-generation concept: a revolutionary tire built for efficient mobility. Bridgestone introduced the Ecopia EP500 ologic tire, created exclusively for the BMW i3. The result is a highly fuel-efficient tire that comes standard on all BMW i3 electric vehicles.
Despite the Ecopia EP500 ologic tire's narrow width, its large diameter creates a long contact patch relative to its width. This feature, combined with a newly developed tread pattern and exclusive tire compound, gives the Ecopia EP500 ologic tire impressive grip in wet conditions.
Additionally, manufacturers — as well as today's drivers — want to know that the products they buy are environmentally-responsible. Bridgestone is leading the way by exploring innovations to respond to these expectations, whether that be manufacturing with the smallest impact on the environment or developing bio material, which will help reduce the need for oil-based ingredients in tires.
Bridgestone's Ecopia line of tires, which allow drivers to go farther on less energy, demonstrates the company's commitment to engineering fuel-efficient tire performance technologies. Ecopia tires deliver low rolling resistance, meaning each tire uses energy efficiently, helping to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The flagship line contributes to a global goal of Bridgestone: to improve tire rolling resistance by 25 percent by 2020.
So, what's next?
What does the future hold? According to Martini, Bridgestone's vision is a tire that weighs half of what it does today in order to meet manufacturers' goals to design lighter vehicles in compliance with Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards (CAFE standards require automakers to raise the average fuel efficiency of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025). To accomplish this aggressive goal, everything in the tire will have to be designed with improved materials and processes.
"We've made progress in the lower weight concept," says Martini. "In fact, we have begun to implement it in tires you see today."
Learn more about how Bridgestone is driving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions at BridgestoneAmericas.com
This story is provided and presented by our sponsor Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.