In my experience as a motorist, car owners can be classified into two groups: the practical and the impractical. The practical motorist’s only concern is to get from point A to point B. He doesn’t need the top-of-the line model, or a sports car to shuttle his kids to school. If it works, it’s good enough for him. The impractical motorist is all about style and substance; always aiming for the best, the biggest, the fastest, even if it means spending some extra cash to get it. It’s not a matter of which school of thought is right or wrong, they simply prefer to enjoy their vehicle in different ways. But there is one common denominator between the two – they are both looking to achieve their motoring goals with the best bang for the buck. And believe it or not, Bridgestone’s Ecopia tires have something to offer for both.
The Ecopia is Bridgestone’s answer to the worldwide call for eco-conscious solutions to growing environmental concerns. By delivering low rolling resistance, the tires minimize wasted energy, reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Everything from the sidewall to the tread compound is designed to return more energy back to the tire instead of generating heat. This, plus the fact that they’re made using recycled ground rubber which contributes to at least 5% of the tread of each tire means that simply rolling on these tires greatly contribute to making the environment a better place. But how does it perform in real-life scenarios?
The Ecopia Eco-Run
Bridgestone distributor Philippine Allied Enterprises Corp. recently held the Ecopia Eco-Run, a fuel-economy event that called for its participants to drive as fuel-efficiently as possible from Makati City to Clark in Pampanga while doing certain activities in between. Unlike an ordinary eco run where the goal is to get from start to finish using the least amount of fuel possible, the Ecopia Eco-Run aimed to simulate a day in the life of someone who needed to get to several destinations in one day. The usual fuel-saving techniques still come into play such as planning your trip, inflating the tires properly, using the throttle gently and avoiding sharp braking but now there were other things to worry about. The day’s activities included go-kart racing in the Clark Speedway, tree-planting, zip-lining, wakeboarding and even ultra-light plane flying, all of which needed to be done in a limited amount of time. It’s a great way to get Ecopia’s message across – to do more while using less.
The Ecopia’s low rolling resistance was immediately apparent upon hitting the long stretches of the North Luzon Expressway. Driving our 1.3 liter, 5-speed manual Vios equipped with the Ecopia EP200, Editor-in-Chief Vince Pornelos would occasionally comment on how coasting along the highway seemed effortless, as the eventual slowdown caused by friction between the road and the tires took much longer than usual. Bridgestone claims the Ecopia EP200 can achieve up to 8.1% better fuel economy compared to conventional tires.
For the sake of proper testing and to get a realistic result on how well the Ecopia tires perform, the Autoindustriya.com team drove the car without using extreme measures, such as switching off the air conditioning, or turning the engine off during downhill or high-traffic situations (yes, we lost the competition for you, dear readers). The result? 17 km/L. The 1.3 liter Toyota Vios is known to have a fuel consumption of 15 km/L in mixed driving conditions on standard tires. That amounts to a difference of around 13%.
Do the tires work? Yes they do.
Besides the environmental-saving aspect of the Ecopia tires, the real grit of the issue to your everyday motorist is how much money he or she can save on fuel. Using Bridgestone’s very own Ecopia Fuel Savings Calculator at http://www.bridgestonetire.com/fuel-calculator, you can see for yourself how much money you could hope to save, assuming you drive responsibly and economically of course. The test for sedans works with the basis of a 36% improvement in rolling resistance of the Ecopia EP422 tires compared to the Bridgestone Turanza EL400 with a size of P195/55/R16, using a 104,600 kilometer tire-lifespan. I entered the values of my everyday driver with the price of unleaded fuel as of this writing and got savings of around P8,200 by the end of the tire’s lifetime. That’s not a bad figure at all, and is heaven sent for practical drivers everywhere. And as for the “impractical drivers”? If you input a typical large SUV or sports car mileage of around 6 km/L, that amounts to savings close to P11,000. Guess what. Your tires pretty much just paid for themselves. And who wouldn’t want that?