can you guess the winner of AUTA’s ‘Eco Tyre of the Year’?

The best Eco tyres need to offer more than just low fuel consumption. That’s why the team at Asia’s Ultimate Tyre Awards (AUTA) pushed some hot favourites to the extreme – all in a bid to crown the ultimate Eco tyre.

AUTA is Singapore’s first-ever comprehensive and scientific tyre test which compares popular tyres to determine which are most useful to Singaporeans. That means testing the correct, localised-spec tyres for our market, in a local venue and under local weather conditions.

There used to be time when all an Eco tyre needed to do was simply reduce a car’s fuel consumption. While this is still a priority in this category, eco tyres now need to have a wider variety of talents in order to be the natural choice for the burgeoning Electric Vehicle (EV) market.

This represents new challenges for this category. Firstly, EVs tend to be heavier than Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars. As a result, these tyres now have more loads to handle, so tyre manufacturers can no longer get away with skimping on the tyre’s construction to lighten the unsprung mass.

Next, EVs also are known for their phenomenal acceleration. There are countless examples of Teslas out-dragging supercars on YouTube ad nauseam. This places a premium on grip, which somewhat works against lowering rolling resistance which is the biggest contribution a tyre can make towards lowering energy consumption.

With these seemingly opposing demands, the latest Eco tyres have a big challenge ahead of them.

This year, the tyres that are up to the challenge of being the ultimate Eco tyre are:

  • Hankook Ventus Prime 3
  • Nexen NBlue HD
  • Pirelli Cinturato P7
  • Yokohama BluEarth-GT AE51

These tyres were tested in 215/55 R17 size and fitted to a Kia Niro EV. With strong interest in Electric Vehicles (EVs), it made sense to use one of the most accessible models in the segment that comfortably strikes a balance between value and capability.

As efficiency is still paramount in an Eco tyre, we placed the highest emphasis or percentage weightage on Rolling Resistance. Additionally, as we envision that more Eco tyres will be fitted on whisper-quiet EVs, the last thing an EV driver would want is for the smooth and silent drive to be ruined by tyre noise intruding into the cabin. Hence why the results of the Noise Test also accounts for a large part of the final score.

With the considerable weight of EVs, braking performance would also be a concern as well. Lastly, we factored Dry Grip into our final score because that translates to the tyre’s ability to handle the instantaneous torque that so many EV drivers love as it allows them to show off how fast their cars can go in a straight line…

For the Eco category, our weightages were:

Rolling resistance – 35%
Noise – 15%
Dry Braking – 15%
Wet Braking – 15%
Dry Grip – 10%

the raw data.

the results.

4th: Yokohama BluEarth-GT AE51 (83.23%).

Yokohama Blue Efficiency GT AE51 Eco Tyre AUTA 2022 Singapore
Test StationWeightagePositionRaw ScoreDiff. to LeaderDiff. to Leader (%)
Dry Handling (Circuit)02nd72.74 s+0.34 s-0.47%
Dry Grip (Skidpan)10%4th0.712 g-0.047 g-6.18%
Wet Grip (Skidpan)15%3rd0.695 g-0.018 g-2.53%
Dry Braking10%4th26.20 m+6.07 m-30.13%
Wet Braking15%3rd26.30 m+1.87 m-7.64%
Noise15%3rd87dB+7 dB-8.75%
Rolling Resistance35%4th70.70 m-29.50 m-29.44%

As with some other categories. The competition was also tight in the Eco category. Which means that all the tyres here are already very capable. In this case, just 10% separates the Yokohama BluEarth-GT AE51 from the winner of this category.

Unfortunately, the Yokohama did well in almost all stations but fell behind where it counted most, the Rolling Resistance test, where it trailed the leader by a whopping 30%.

RRP: S$180

3rd: Nexen N’Blue HD (91.58%).

Nexen N Blue HD Eco Tyre AUTA 2022 Singapore
Test StationWeightagePositionRaw ScoreDiff. to LeaderDiff. to Leader (%)
Dry Handling (Circuit)04th74.65 s+2.25 s-3.12%
Dry Grip (Skidpan)10%2nd0.729 g-0.030 g-3.85%
Wet Grip (Skidpan)15%4th0.651 g-0.062 g-8.80%
Dry Braking10%3rd25.20 m+5.07 m-25.17%
Wet Braking15%4th27.27 m+2.84 m-11.60%
Noise15%2nd85 dB+5 dB-6.25%
Rolling Resistance35%2nd95.83 m-4.37 m-4.36%

The fight between the Korean tyres for second and third placings turned out to be as intense as the final round of Squid Game. Eventually, the Nexen couldn’t brake or grip as well as its Gganbu, in the wet or dry. Instead, this is a tyre that favors efficiency over performance so it did reasonably well in the Rolling Resistance and Noise tests. Too bad though, that the Nexen had to be eliminated.

RRP: S$122

2nd: Hankook Ventus Prime 3 (95.77%).

Hankook Ventus Prime 3 Eco Tyre AUTA 2022 Singapore
Test StationWeightagePositionRaw ScoreDiff. to LeaderDiff. to Leader (%)
Dry Handling (Circuit)01st72.40 s
Dry Grip (Skidpan)10%1st0.759 g
Wet Grip (Skidpan)15%1st0.713 g
Dry Braking10%2nd22.78 m-2.65 m-13.16%
Wet Braking15%1st24.43 m
Noise15%1st80 dB
Rolling Resistance35%3rd91.87 m-8.33 m-8.32%

Here is what happens when a performance tyre tries to sneak into the Eco category. The Hankook was actually the grippiest in the dry, had the shortest braking distance in the wet and was also the quietest in the group. Ultimately however, the Rolling Resistance Test once again claimed another victim and this time, it cost this Korean tyre the Eco title.

RRP: S$142

1st: Pirelli Cinturato P7 (96.47%).

Spotlight background
Test StationWeightagePositionRaw ScoreDiff. to LeaderDiff. to Leader (%)
Dry Handling (Circuit)03rd73.87 s+1.47 s-2.03%
Dry Grip (Skidpan)10%3rd0.719 g-0.040 g-5.15%
Wet Grip (Skidpan)15%2nd0.711 g-0.002 g-0.36%
Dry Braking10%1st20.13 m
Wet Braking15%2nd24.67 m+0.24 m-0.95%
Noise15%4th95 dB+15 dB-18.75%
Rolling Resistance35%1st100.20 m

So congratulations go to the Pirelli P7 Cinturato. Dominating where it mattered most, the Rolling Resistance Test, it recorded the outright longest distance of any tyre in the entire event, let alone in this category. The Italian tyre also out-braked the other tyres in its group in the dry. This, along with 2nd best scores in the Wet Braking and Wet Grip tests were enough to see this Pirelli clinch victory in the Eco category.

RRP: S$223

*Story first published at Asia’s Ultimate Tyre Awards 2022.

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sheldon trollope

Sheldon has a complicated relationship with EVs. He likes driving them, but also thinks diversity in powertrain technology is the best way forward. Oh, and he also enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.

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