A new tyre can improve vehicle performance and reduce pollution created by the wear and tear of tyres
Spotted: Around 50 million vehicle tyres are sold or supplied each year in the UK. Wear and tear on car tyres has been found to be responsible for around 28 per cent of the microplastics found in the ocean. On top of this, there is increasing scientific concern about “the chemical cocktail” that goes into tyre manufacture, which releases heavy metals like copper, lead, and zinc into the environment. There is clearly a need for more sustainable tyres.
This is where Enso (“circle” in Japanese) comes in. Founded by entrepreneur Gunnlaugur Erlendsson, the startup focuses on developing tyres that not only reduce pollution but also improve durability, performance, and cost-effectiveness – particularly when used on electric vehicles.
Erlendsson told Springwise that, in contrast to conventional tyres, Enso’s tyres are “precisely calibrated to enhance durability and reduce particulate pollution by 35 per cent. And while most tyres are also inefficient, which can limit the range of electric vehicles, Enso’s tyres are specifically designed to increase (EV) range by 10 per cent.”
The company recently launched a series A funding round with a target of $25 million (around €22.9 million), signalling a commitment to scaling up operations. Enso intends to manufacture more than one million low-emission tyres annually by 2026 and is expanding into North America in 2024. Currently, ENSO is the world’s only certified B Corporation tyre manufacturer, and the company is also a 2023 Earthshot Prize finalist.
There has been a recent but growing acknowledgement of the impact of tyre pollution on air quality. This is spurring innovations such as a circular system for upcycling used tyres to reduce their carbon footprint and a tyre made from recycled PET bottles.
Written By: Lisa Magloff