For the first time, Pirelli has produced a UHP tire that contains natural rubber derived from the guayule plant.
In 2013, Pirelli signed an agreement with Versalis (Eni) for exclusive supply of guayale natural rubber. During this time, Pirelli’s researchers studied the characteristics of the material closely in laboratory conditions.
Prototype tires, which were built after just two years in development, were recently tested on the Vizzola and Balocco test tracks in Italy using a Maserati Ghibli. Under extreme conditions they demonstrated the same performance as the equivalent tires made with synthetic polymers from oil-derived products.
Fabrizio Sanvito, project management and technical benchmarking engineer at Pirelli, said, “Track testing of our guayale rubber tires has been more than positive. Our decision to use a high-performance car to carry out these tests was dictated by the need to place the highest possible demands on the tires and extract the most meaningful results. After the success of this first phase, we are now assessing the possibility of trying out these prototype tires in winter conditions.”
Substituting petrochemical polymers with alternative and renewable primary materials is a key objective for Pirelli’s research division.
January 5, 2016