The Japanese manufacturer has refined a formula which allows it to use the oil from waste orange peels in the production of tyres, reducing the amount of petroleum required by up to 80 percent.
Yokohama director of strategic marketing, Mark Chung, said his company had been working on the technology for the past 20 years and recent testing in the Porsche GT3 Class series had been successful.
“Most eco-tyres are just a harder compound, which means they have less grip until they heat up, but the base temperature of an orange tyre is better.
“It’s also stickier at heat, because the natural rubber and orange oil interact,” he said.
Chung said braking performance and wear for the street version was similar to other tyres and that the only noticeable difference was slightly more squeal when the car was pushed hard.
Initially pitched at after-market sale to environmentally conscious drivers, the orange tyres have 22 percent lower rolling resistance than those on a Toyota Prius, maintain pressure almost twice as well and weigh around one kilogram less than many competitors.
Yokohama will sell the tyres as replacements on the Mini Cooper, Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid and Insight and the Nissan Versa (Tiida) for AUD$115 – around $35 more than standard replacements.
The production of a new set of tyres takes around 75 litres of oil.
If almost one million new vehicles are sold in Australia every year, that equates to half a million barrels of oil required simply to make the tyres.
Orange tyres could cut this to closer to 100,000 barrels, and being produced with discarded peels from juice factories in an emissions-free plant, the environmental impacts are minimal.
(with Automotive News)