Will 'skinny' tire technology benefit fleets?

Fleets of all sizes make use of maintenance management software to ensure their vehicles are in safe operating condition and performing efficiently on the road. With vehicle standards, requirements and technology changing on a regular basis, it is a challenge for fleet operators to make the best equipment buying decisions. New trends in tire design already planned for passenger cars in Europe could dramatically change the look and fuel efficiency of automobile and light-duty fleets in North America. 

New designs could offer benefits for fleets 
Tire maker Pirelli has predicted that the tires commonly seen on smaller vehicles won't remain in use for long. In fact, the corporation estimates fuel economy requirements being put in place across the world will likely require autos to be designed with taller, slimmer wheels and tires, with a look reminiscent of antique car designs. 

The company told GoAuto the average tire will probably be 21 inches in diameter by 2020, significantly larger than the tires commonly seen today. Not only will this help make cars lighter and more fuel efficient, which can help cut costs for fleets, the designs also offer better traction in snow and decrease rolling resistance, another contributor to fuel savings. 

Tall, slim models aren't the only new tires that could soon be hitting the market. Off-road vehicle specialist Polaris recently developed an alternative to the standard pneumatic tires - those filled with air - which is expected to be introduced to consumers by next year, according to Fox News. These tires don't look at all traditional - they're airless, flexible webs initially designed for off-road vehicles.

The new creations are reported to carry a variety of benefits. Fox revealed the unique design was "nothing short of astounding," as vehicles sporting the new creations were able to drive right over rocks, sharp branches, tree stumps and gravel without experiencing a problem. The tires were even reported to be in good condition after being shot by engineers. While the design is still extreme for over-the road use, fleet vehicles that spend time on rough terrain, such as construction sites or oil and gas fields, may eventually consider their use to reduce blowouts and the time and money associated with changing out flat tires.

Fleet maintenance software can track benefits
Currently available "next generation" tires and the proposed skinny tires of the future may offer fleet operators and their drivers distinct benefits over conventional styles, but measuring those benefits accurately is almost impossible without the use of fleet maintenance management software. Tracking and comparing vehicle lifecycle operating costs, fuel efficiency and tire-related repair and maintenance expense is necessary to help mid-size and larger fleets cost-justify investments in new technologies.

Companies can benefit today through cost-control and better buying decisions from the effective use of fleet maintenance management software. Implementing such systems also captures vehicle lifecycle costs and equipment performance data as a normal part of routine inspections and repairs and maintenance. It is this critical cost and performance data that will help any fleet make sense of the comparative costs and benefits of various new technologies, including tires.