Goodyear isn't necessarily reinventing the wheel, but it is attempting to improve upon tire design for a new generation of electric vehicles. The company showed off two concept tires at the 85th Geneva International Motor Show, one of which could charge the batteries of electric cars, both while in motion and when parked.
The charging tire is codenamed "BHO3" and it incorporates a number of clever technologies designed to generate electricity. Part of that entails a heat absorbing tread that consists of an ultra black texture. Underneath the tread is a thermo-piezoelectric material that transforms captured heat into electricity.
What's ingenious about the design is that the tires can absorb sunlight while parked in an open area and work its battery charging mojo while you're shopping at the mall or grabbing a bite to eat. And when the rubber hits the road (literally), the friction from driving heats up the tire, which allows the piezoelectric material to transform the tire's deformation into electricity.
"As demand for electric cars grows, this technology has the potential to significantly contribute to the solution of future mobility challenges. This visionary tire technology could eliminate the vehicle-range anxiety motorists may have with electric cars," Goodyear says.
Goodyear's second concept tire is called "Triple Lube" and is designed to automatically adjust tire inflation pressure in response to ever-changing road conditions. As the name implies, there are three lubes -- near the inboard and outboard shoulders, and in the center. An internal pump movies air from the main chamber to the three air chambers (lubes) based on the type of road you're on.
There are three modes it would choose from. One is Eco/Safety with maximum inflation in all three lubes for reduced rolling resistance. The second is Sporty with reduced inflation within the inboard should tube for drive handling through an optimized contact patch. And the last is Wet Traction with maximum inflation in the center lube for a higher level of aquaplaning resistance by way of a raised tread.