TOKYO (Feb. 14) — Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. has developed a process that combines citrus oil with natural rubber to form a compound the company claims reduces the use of petroleum products in tires by 80 percent.
The development of the new compound — dubbed Super Nanopower Rubber —is part of Yokohama´s global EcoMotion environmental program. The first product to use SNR is a passenger tire being launched in Japan called the Decibel Super E-Spec, Yokohama said.
That new tire also is lighter, offers lower rolling resistance and incorporates a new polymer inner liner that YRC said improves air retention, thereby helping consumers maintain proper tire inflation pressures, which in turn help cut fuel use.
Yokohama claims the new tire has 18-percent lower rolling resistance than comparable previous generation tires.
At this point, there is no projected launch date for the tire in North America, according to Jim MacMaster, executive vice president, business division, of Yokohama Tire Corp., YRC´s U.S. subsidiary based in Fullerton, Calif.