In three years all tyres on sale in Europe will be classified and labelled for fuel efficiency, wet grip and external rolling noise performance. The European Parliament formally adopted the labelling system on 25 November, with information design by Applied Information Group and project management by Mostra.
"The new labelling system is a straightforward measure with great advantages for the environment and the consumers," said rapporteur Ivo Belet (EPP, BE), adding that the cost to manufacturers should be minimal.
The label is part of an EC drive to reduce CO2 emissions towards meeting post-Kyoto targets; tyres with lower rolling resistance mean less fuel consumption. While there is already legislation in place for new cars to be fitted with low rolling resistance tyres, the replacement tyre market suffers from low consumer awareness. The aim of the information is to ensure that consumers can make more informed decisions, helping to stimulate innovation in the tyre market.
"For many drivers, tyres have remained objects of mystery and purchasing decisions can be arbitrary or given over to the dealer," commented John Alderson, Lead Designer. "The labelling Regulation enables drivers to compare tyres in terms of economy, safety and traffic noise. The challenge met by information design is how to communicate these concepts and values across all the languages and cultural barriers of Europe, thereby more squarely placing choice in the hands of the consumer."
AIG has developed three pictograms for the information system, components of which are based on international standards for symbols, and subsequently tested options with would- be users. The designers gave consideration to the pictograms' representation at small sizes and at low resolution, for future multichannel applications.
The labels also include the iconic energy scale used on EC labels for domestic appliances. AIG consulted tyre manufacturers to ensure the new labels conform to existing standards in terms of size and production methods to avoid adding an extra cost burden to the industry. All tyres produced after 1 November 2012, including for passenger cars, light and heavy duty vehicles, must either have a sticker or be accompanied by a printed label when distributed from the factory.