Royal Mail to trial innovative tyres that could boost EV range

The trials will last for six months

The company has today (19 August) announced the start of the trials, which involve tyres made by manufacturer ENSO.

ENSO claims that its tyres can increase an EV’s range by up to 11%, compared to standard tyres. The range-boosting properties have already been proven on cars, delivering a 50-mile increase for a Renault Zoe in trials. But, for Royal Mail, the tyres will be fitted to electric vans – specifically, 15 vans based at its West London delivery office near Wembley.

During the trials, the tyres will be monitored and weighed every six weeks to measure their wear rate and the range achieved in comparison to standard tyres.

Royal Mail will also measure the amount of particulate matter emitted from the tyres. All tyres generate particulate matter through wear. Smaller particles contribute to air pollution while larger microplastics can pollute nature. A 2018 study found that between 9,000 and 32,000 tonnes of microplastic pollution enter British waterways each year from just four sources, tyre abrasion being the largest single source.

ENSO claims that its tyres produce fewer microparticles in comparison to normal tyres. Particulate matter production is a key environmental concern in the EV transition; EVs typically see their tyres emitting more particulate matter than diesel and petrol models, due to their increased weight and torque.

Transport for London (TfL) is contributing funding for the trials as well as Royal Mail. ENSO was a winner of TfL’s London FreightLab innovation challenge, set up to tackle pollution, congestion and road safety issues related to London’s freight and servicing sector.

“As a company, we are committed to making changes to our operations that reduce our environmental impact,” Royal Mail’s chief engineer and fleet director James Baker said.

“The trial and potential wide-scale introduction of more efficient and environmentally friendly tyres enables us to help achieve this, while allowing us to continue to deliver letters and parcels safely, efficiently and responsibly.”

EV commitments

Last month, Royal Mail joined a string of other major commercial fleet operators in pledging to collectively source 70,000 British-built electric vans by 2030, if the Government can overcome barriers related to grids and charging infrastructure.

The other supporters of this target are BP, BT, Direct Line Group, Royal Mail, ScottishPower, Severn Trent and Tesco.

The announcement came shortly after Royal Mail announced plans to add an additional 3,000 low-emission delivery vans to its fleet – a tenfold increase on current levels. A date has not yet been set for completing this roll-out. The business has also committed to switching all petrol and diesel company cars with EVs by 2030, with salary sacrifice schemes and mileage reimbursement packages set to be adjusted to only account for low-carbon forms of transport.

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Sarah George

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