Not to be discriminatory, but we all have known tyres to be a vital yet lifeless component of an automobile. Tyres are indeed among the most difficult organs to design, be it for passenger or race vehicles. Although materials and compounds have changed over the years, the fundamental purpose hasn’t diversified. The last big innovation done to tyres was run-flat, but it hasn’t taken off in volume segment due to high replacement cost repelling the customers.
But Goodyear has taken a step outside the box and made two concept tires that are going to revolutionise the industry. Goodyear BH03 is the first concept tire unveiled at 2015 Geneva Motor Show, that has the capability to generate electricity and keep Electric Vehicles on constant charge while running, boosting range (distance to empty). The tire uses a weave of thermoelectric fibres to convert heat energy from friction between road, into electricity. Meanwhile, embedded piezoelectric material also lends hand to improve the net electricity production, by taking pressure from continuous change in tire’s shape while rolling. Goodyear did not reveal technical specifications of this tire, especially the rate of current generation, as it is still in concept form.
Second presentation is Goodyear Triple Tube concept tyre, featured on Lexus LF-SA concept. Aiding or replacing active suspension system (continual retuning of suspension settings while on the move), these Goodyear Triple Tube tyres have the ability to adjust their grip levels to boost stability, handling and comfort of the vehicle. Well, they don’t do it themselves of course. The tyres have three tubes each and different bands of treads, both governed by a sensor based compressor system. Different regions or chambers of the Triple Tube tyres are actively inflated or deflated judging the road conditions, to provide the right amount of grip on each corner, during high speed manoeuvres. These tyres also help improve mileage / fuel economy by reducing rolling resistance whenever possible, and improves safety by reducing the risk of aquaplaning while driving in rain or snow.
Goodyear has mentioned that both concepts are not even close to being production ready. But the demonstration proves how much potential tires can unlock for the future of mobility, apart from material science.