SFC launches Green Trucks China pilot to scale up green tires

A pilot to build the business case for green tires in China was launched today in Beijing by the Smart Freight Centre (SFC) and the Beijing Transport Energy and Environment Center (BTEC), who were joined by Beijing carriers, tire agents, and leading institutes.

Chinese freight carriers face high fuel bills and contribute to China’s rising CO2 emissions and persistent air pollution problems. Cost-effective technologies, such as high quality or green tires, exist, but are not widely adopted yet. “Carriers lack the confidence to invest in technologies even if they save money, usually because they are not aware of available technologies or don’t trust the information they get from technology suppliers” according to Boyong Wang, SFC’s Director Freight Strategies.

SFC is trying to change this, by building a platform for carriers and technology suppliers to work together to remove these market barriers and catalyze broader technology adoption, starting with tires. “This effort comes at the right time because Beijing is currently developing a green freight strategy covering its 204,000 trucks that contribute to 33% of the city’s transport emissions,“ said Mr. Gencheng Wang, Director of BTEC and responsible for improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions from Beijing’s transport sector.

Dr. Dongbo Yang from the Research Institute of Highways (RIOH) affiliated to the Ministry of Transport defined criteria for high quality tires: they must meet minimum 3C safety standards, last more than 200,000 km, and contribute to at least 3% fuel savings compared to conventional tires.

These tires are widely applicable, proven to work and cost effective. Xinbang Logistics, one of China’s leading logistics service providers, installed high quality tires on 239 trucks combined with driver training on tires, tire maintenance and fuel monitoring, as part of the Guangdong Green Trucks Demonstration Project. “We saved 8.6% on fuel bills, or 5000 RMB per truck per year, with a payback period of only 17 months” Mr. Libin Qiu from Xinbang Logistics explained. “Trucks are also more stable at higher speeds and we have almost no tire blowouts anymore.” Each truck emits 2 tonnes CO2 less per year, enhancing the company’s green image.

The four Beijing carriers participating in the pilot are motivated to test high quality tires. Tire agents will support them with correct installation, monitor tire performance throughout the pilot, and train companies on how to optimize tire management. SFC and BTEC will help carriers to improve monitoring of their truck operating costs, such as fuel and maintenance, so that carriers can improve their fleet management and reduce costs.

“All of this will build a stronger business case for carriers to invest in green tires,” said SFC’s Executive Director Sophie Punte. Armed with the pilot results, SFC will broaden the partnership to include more cities, carriers, tire agents and other key players. Together they will draft a plan to scale up the adoption of high quality tires, which have the potential to reduce 20 million tonnes CO2 from Chinese trucks annually. Solutions to barriers tested during the pilot phase will also be scaled, including an information package, operations cost calculator, and support with installation and monitoring.

SFC will work closely with the China Green Freight Initiative, which is managed by the China Road Transport Association (CRTA), to reach China’s millions of carriers. Results can also feed into tire standards and other policy developments. Ms. Hong Zhu, Technical Economic Commission Director of the China Rubber Industry Association (CRIA) explained that a tire label is underway, which was much welcomed by the tire agents present.

This business model, once demonstrated, can be expanded to other technologies and measures within China, which SFC can scale to markets around the world.

Beijing, 8 July 2015



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