As the future continues to look more electric, many players in the auto industry are repositioning themselves to remain relevant. One of the biggest names in tire manufacturing, Bridgestone, is following that trend by shifting to electric vehicle tires.
The Japanese company says 90 percent of its sales would be for its new tires meant for electric vehicles by 2030, as reported by Nikkei Asia. EV tires make up 11 percent of Bridgestone’s sales, and the figure will reach 20 percent by 2024. As Bridgestone says it will stop making budget tires for ICEs in Europe this year, plans are already in advanced stages.
This change will be felt in Europe first as the assembly lines will be modified to make tires for electric vehicles. Production for Japan, South America, and the US will follow. Eventually, Bridgestone will convert most of its 50 tire factories for electric vehicle tire manufacturing.
EV tires are different as they use less rubber and other materials, making them 20 percent lighter. Due to the nature of electric vehicles, the tires face 30 percent less resistance.
Bridgestone is already forging partnerships with electric vehicle makers, both old and new. Half of the top ten EV cars sold in Europe are fitted with Bridgestone tires. It supplies tires for the Volkswagen ID line, BMW i3, Fiat 500 EV, Nissan LEAF, Mercedes EQA and EQB. It aims to sign up more traditional automakers.
Fisker has also agreed to use Bridgestone’s EV tires on its upcoming electric SUV.
More precisely, Bridgestone is aiming to be the tire supplier of choice for electric trucks. That is a wise move as a boom in sales of electric trucks may be ahead. Rivian has made history by making the first production electric truck, the R1T, but will eventually face completion from the likes of Tesla’s Cybertruck, Ford’s F-150 Lightning, GMC’s resurrected Hummer EV, etc.
Emilio Tiberio, COO and CTO of Bridgestone EMIA, said: “We’re investing to make electric mobility more efficient and accessible to drivers and fleets. This is seeing us pioneer premium tires and tire technologies for EVs, dedicated fleet and mobility solutions, as well as partner with leading EV manufacturers and developing an EV-ready retail and service network.”