Bridgestone has been chosen by the BMW Group to develop a range of tyres for its i3 electric vehicle. As the exclusive tyre supplier for this milestone in automotive history, Bridgestone has put all its technological and engineering knowhow, and above all passion into developing an exclusive tyre that translates BMW’s vision for a future sustainable mobility.
A Unique concept for a unique car
BMW has achieved a genuine milestone with the i3 electric car. Doing justice to its unprecedented levels of both efficiency and performance demanded more than just a new tyre but an entire new tyre concept. Bridgestone’s answer came in the form of the ologic technology, which capitalises on the synergies of a large diameter coupled with a narrow tread design. The result is a tyre that delivers significant improvements in aerodynamics and rolling resistance, while still offering optimized grip in wet weather conditions (1).
Combining a large diameter with a narrow tread pattern has several advantages. While the tread on smaller diameter tyres is typically inclined to excessive movement or “deformation” during driving, larger diameter and higher belt tension significantly reduce tyre deformation and therefore conserve energy that is otherwise lost through internal friction which helps to reduce rolling resistance. By the same token, the narrow tread concept improves aerodynamics. Moreover, these improvements do not involve a trade-off in terms of safety. The tyre’s long contact patch (relative to its narrow width), new tread design and compound still ensure grip in both wet and dry conditions.
A vision for the future tyre
A shared commitment placing energy efficiency and safety at the top of the agenda has made the decision to collaborate on this ground-breaking project a logical one. This ologic technology should help realise one of Bridgestone’s Long-term Vision goals: to contribute to a globally agreed-upon target of 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.
Franco Annunziato, CEO and President of Bridgestone Europe: “The BMW i3 is very much a car for the future. Developing a unique tyre for this unique vehicle was therefore an enormously challenging but also rewarding experience. Energy efficiency is an important development criteria for all our tyres at Bridgestone. However, it becomes an even more critical factor in an electric car. This is why we have put all our knowhow, skill and passion into developing this unique tyre concept. One that we are confident delivers the premium performance, safety and economy towards consumers who have come to expect it from both brands.”
Bringing the ologic tyre concept to the market
Released together with the BMW i3 in November 2013, the Ecopia EP500 ologic tyre is available in four sizes – 155/70 R19 84Q, 175/60 R19 86Q, 155/60 R20 80Q and 175/55 R20 85Q– and two winter varieties –the BLIZZAK LM-500 ologic a lamellen tyre and the BLIZZAK NV ologic a studless tyre (with Multicell® (2) compound for Nordic conditions).
The new Bridgestone i3 tyre is the latest product of a longstanding partnership with BMW both on and off the racing track. Over the past 17 years, that partnership has included a long list of original equipment fitments, joint technological developments (such as Run-Flat Technology tyres), exclusive collaboration on BMW’s Driving Experience and now, working as an exclusive development partner for the BMW i3.
1 The ologic technology was tested at Bridgestone’s Tochigi (Japan) Proving Ground in 2011 in size 155/55 R19 against 205/50 R18 and 175/65 R15.
2 The Multicell rubber compound contains microscopic bubbles and tubes which clear water rapidly from between the tyre and ice or snow surface and assure a proper contact of the tyre on the road. As the water is cleared, the ‘bite’ particles come into contact with the ice surface, improving the grip even further.