From 1st May 2021, a new tire labeling system will be introduced in Europe to give consumers more information about the performance of specific models.
The new Euro label 2021 still presents the basic tire data (provided by the manufacturers and may not coincide with independent tire tests), as on previous labels. But now this data is accompanied by additional information. It is interesting that despite the apparent advantages of the new euro labeling system, it has already managed to receive a huge amount of critical feedback in its address. So let’s figure out what’s good and what’s bad about the new labels.
The Main changes in the Euro Labeling System of Tires in 2021
So first, let’s list all the changes. First and foremost, of course, is the design. Also, in comparison with the labels applied in the territory of Europe for the last 9 years, the text part of the labels is more complete, information about the brand, the name of the model and the tire size has been added, the article number and the QR code have been highlighted.
In addition to this, the classification of rolling resistance and wet braking characteristics is simplified, now it’s much easier to read the information about these indicators from the labels, and the noise level will be displayed both in decibels and letters (A, B, C).
From May 2021, the new Euro labels will also be available for tires designed for heavy commercial vehicles (class C3). But studded tires, as well as retreaded tires, will do without the Euro label of 2021 for now and will use the familiar old system of labels.
Euro Regulators and the New Winter Tires Labeling
Now let’s go into more detail. So, in addition to the usual information about tires’ wet grip, energy efficiency, and noise levels, the new Euro tire label system will let you know if the tire’s grip properties on snow meet EU standards, and if it provides the necessary level of grip on ice, according to the new ISO standard. As you can see, the greatest emphasis is on safety.
For tires that may be used in winter, icons will be added to the bottom of the label to indicate the level of traction in the snow – the pictogram 3PMSF (a mountain with three peaks and a snowflake on its background) and on-ice – the pictogram Ice Grip (a mountain with an icy peak). The combination of these symbols will tell the consumer how the tire will cope with snow and ice. The graphic icons are good in design and easy to read.
New Rating Scale Shift (A-E)
This is probably where users will be most confused at first. On the new labels, the main grades from A to C will remain unaffected. However, Class C1 and C2 tires (i.e. passenger car tires and van tires, respectively), previously classified as Class E for rolling resistance and wet grip, will move to Class D, which was formerly vacant. And tires previously represented by classes F and G will be authorized to class E.
But once the system becomes familiar, it will be obvious that thanks to this innovation, the gradation of tires will be clearer and easier to interpret. However, it is this simplification that has drawn the most criticism.
QR code and the EPREL Public Database
The QR code system has finally reached the tire labels as well. In general, there is nothing extraordinary here: Consumers will be able to download additional information about each tire by scanning the QR code located in the upper right corner of the label. The QR code contains a link to the EPREL (European Energy Label Register) database, where the official product information sheet can be found.
The product data sheet shows all basic values for a certain tire model, including the inception and the end of production for that exact model. All the product information sheets, as well as the authorization of the affiliated label-class, are entered into the EPREL database individually by the tire manufacturer and contain the most complete information about the model.
Reasons for Implementing the New Euro Tire Label System in 2021
So, why and why did Europe decide to switch to a new tire labeling system? The answer, of course, is obvious, because the New Euro Tire Label is designed to help buyers in the EU to choose more fuel-efficient tires, as well as to get information about braking performance.
For both end-users and fleet operators, choosing tires with lower rolling resistance can mean significant savings in fuel costs as well as lower carbon dioxide emissions.
Ultimately, EU regulators intend that accurate wet grip information will improve road safety, and noise information will minimize noise pollution from road traffic.
Criticism of the New Tire Labeling System
There are many critics of the new Euro Tire Marking System, which was introduced in May 2021. Among them is Friedrich Eppel, an expert of the Austrian automobile club ÖAMTC, which criticized the new Euro label for its superficiality, pointing out that the most detailed information about the tires is still obtained from the results of independent tire tests:
“In independent tests, tires are rated in around 12 disciplines and the measurement results are not coarsened to a five-point scale and are often given to the nearest centimeter, fraction of a second or point.”
Friedrich Appel is also critical of the fact that it is still too easy for manufacturers to achieve high Euro labeling classes for their tires: “Appropriate tightening and creating classes above “A” such as “AA” or “A+” were planned, but in the end were not approved for the new Euro label.
In addition, there are only five classes on the label: the grades in classes A to C will remain unchanged. Therefore, car tires that were previously assigned grades “E” or “F” have moved up a notch, to classes “D” and “E” respectively. This means that the weaker models will become more attractive to consumers. Honestly, though, that’s a pretty controversial point.
Appel also says that it would be good to indicate the tire mileage on the labels because it is a very important indicator both for the user (economical aspect) and for the environment.
Equally important is the change in the characteristics of tires as they wear down. After all, all the parameters given on the euro label apply only to tires in new condition. And as the tires are used (and even stored), their characteristics change.
One way or another, consumers will still receive comprehensive information only through independent tire tests and refer to the data of the Euro Label only in case of the absence of such a model. Well, the German expert is right in many respects, but one cannot argue with the fact that compared to the previous label system, the new one gives the consumer much more information.