Goodyear is designing a new tire for electric cars. But not just an effort at even lower rolling resistance, this one is designed to handle the massive torque that electric cars provide. They're also showing off a concept tire that gathers moss and makes the air cleaner.
The new Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance with Electric Drive Technology doesn't exactly have a catchy name, but it has an interesting purpose. It's one of the first tires designed specifically to deal with the needs of powerful plug-in hybrid and electric cars.
The company found through testing that EVs wear out traditional tires up to 30 percent faster than conventional vehicles. It's a combination of the instant torque and the extra weight from lugging batteries around.
“The combination of increasing regulations to reduce emissions, the desire to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and rapid gains in battery technology is creating an ideal environment for electric vehicles,” said Chris Delaney, President of Goodyear Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We are working with automakers to introduce our Electric Drive Technology next year designed to address the unique performance requirements of this growing vehicle segment.”
Automakers are looking for more durability from the tires on electrics. They're also looking to lower rolling resistance even further, in order to extend ranges and meet emissions requirements. Quieter tires are needed as well, with the nearly silent electric motors giving more prominence to other forms of noise.
So the new EfficientGrip Performance prototype with Electric Drive Technology uses a new tread design to increase durability. A network of more but thinner sipes put more rubber on the road and allow the tires to cope with the torque. The small grooves maintain traction in wet conditions. The design also helps reduce transmitted noise.
The tire's shape is optimised to handle the extra weight of electric vehicles while maintaining an optimal tread footprint. The tread compound is a new design tuned for ultra-low rolling resistance. It delivers more range but can still handle the torque. The sidewalls have been redesigned to reduce aerodynamic drag and rotating mass.
Goodyear also showed off a concept tire. One that cleans the air and has internet connectivity. The Oxygene tire is a long way from seeing the road, if ever, but it has some interesting ideas. The Oxygene tire absorbs CO2 from the air and moisture from the road. It uses them to feed moss that grows in the sidewall. Goodyear said that in a city the size of Paris, with 2.5 million vehicles, it could generate 3,000 tons of oxygen and absorb 4,000 tons of CO2 per year.
The tire is non-pneumatic, meaning that it's not filled with pressurized air. Instead, it uses a lightweight, shock absorbing construction that is 3D printed from recycled tires. It can use energy harvested from photosynthesis to power onboard sensors including a light strip. It can also use a visible light communications system to connect to vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure data links, becoming part of the Internet of Things.
The EfficientGrip tire is expected to arrive on vehicles in Europe next year. Don't expect to see the Oxygene at your local tire store anytime soon.