JK Tyres has been around for a long time. They have used this opportunity to establish a sense of security in the Indian ecosystem. There is also the fact that they have a huge presence in the Indian motorsport things. However, today isn’t the day to talk about all this. Rajiv Prasad, the president of JK Tyres, India operations, is in conversation with us about their new product. This one is related to tyres but isn’t a tyre. Confused? Let’s clear that for you. JK Tyres has just launched a new product which is widely aimed at two-, three-, four and even 16-wheeled vehicles. It is called the Smart Tyre. Recently JK acquired Treel Mobility, a connected technology company. They have used sensors made by Treel as part of the tyre pressure as well as temperature monitoring system.
Rajiv says that more than 1.5 lakh people die every year in road accidents. The Smart Tyre concept was developed to reduce this. Rajiv elaborates that the Smart Tyre will also reduce our fuel imports too. He explains that more often than not drivers forget to check their vehicle tyre pressure regularly. This leads to incorrect tyre pressure and hence bursts at higher speed. This was one thought which motivated JK to build and market the Treel. At any point of time, on the app (Android and iOS) one can check the tyre pressure as well as temperature in each. The app is connected to the vehicle sensors through GPS as well as Bluetooth. When one is closer to the car, say around 20-30 metres, the Bluetooth connection takes precedence. If you’re going to remote monitor this, then your phone data will be used. Every 60 seconds, the data is sent to the server and back. So you basically get the tyre related information on a real time basis.
How does all this work
The Treel can be purchased from anyone of the JK authorised stores and the company has more than 45 Truck Wheel centres across the country. In the near future, it will also be retailed online and can be fitted on tyres of any make. The cost of one unit is roughly Rs 8,000 for a car while for the truck, it depends on the number of wheels. What’s pushing it is that the spare tyre is also covered in this cost. Rajiv says that this cost will be covered within six months for a fleet operator. We will elaborate on that a bit later. The Treel sensors are fitted onto the rim of the vehicle and add a negligible weight to it. This means one doesn’t have to worry about it while doing the alignment-balancing. Coming back to the topic on hand, the kit has instructions on how to fit and more. JK also a Youtube video on how to install the sensors. Customers also have an option to go to a JK store and get these fitted.
Once fitted, customers will be prompted to download the aforementioned app, enter vehicle details and monitor the health of their vehicle tyres. The sensors display the tyre pressure in numbers as well as colours. For example, red means critical, yellow means it needs your attention but not urgently while blue indicates that the tyre pressure is perfect. If you have rotated the tyres, you can simply interchange it on the app with a swipe of the finger. The app also tells you the kilometres on the odo, distance covered from last fuel stop and more. In short, the app also monitors your overall vehicle condition. Should the customer need it, there is also an OBD display that is optional and can be retro-fitted on the dashboard. However, Rajiv says that more often than not only the Treel truck driver’s kit has this as standard and it is more helpful to them than the average 4-wheeler or 2-wheeler customer.
On the app, one can add up to 10 vehicles. One can also remotely monitor their vehicle status. This, Rajiv points out, helps truck fleet managers to locate their vehicle easily, advise the driver to head right away to a nearest Truck Wheel centre. Not only this, Truck Wheel authorities are also informed about the impending arrival of the vehicle. Sometimes, if the stops are far away, roadside assistance teams spring into action and meet the truck enroute. The app also lets the user know if a tyre has been swapped, removed or replaced thereby making it as fool proof as possible.
Benefits to the end user
There are many. Incorrect tyre pressure leads to drop in efficiency as well as compromised driving dynamics. Treel will help solve those issues. It will also help enhance tyre life by a slight margin. Moreover, tyres which are the most ignored part of the car will not have to be monitored by physically checking the condition. Instead, one can rely on the app’s pop-up alerts as well as timely interventions. The average fuel efficiency of a truck is 5kmpl. It takes more than an hour to fill air in all 10 tyres of a particular truck. Downtime is minimised and at the same time, significant amounts of fuel too is saved. Rajiv mentioned that after six months of installing these Treel sensors, fleet owners have reported an increase in efficiency of overall operations and have cut down on losses.
Since it is an app, JK tyres will add more features to it at a later date. Currently, the company is monitoring the feedback on the sensors. Moreover, these sensors will become an important part of connected car technology which is the future.
What about the replacement or how does the servicing happen?
The replacement, if it has to happen, will take place only after five years. Before that if the sensors or anything were to malfunction, JK will replace it free of cost. There is no need for the equipment to be serviced overall.