Remember the days when consumers had only two concerns in choosing tires, black walls or white walls. Today, that choice is still available, but technology in tire manufacturing has come so far that consumers can choose replacement tires that have less rolling resistance (the secret to better gas mileage). Do you want all-weather tires, regular tires or snow tires? Tires come in other options including, Longevity, such as 40,000, 60,000 and more are available – the further the distance the tires last, the more costly they are. Today, you have a choice of normal tires, or tires that run flat. Run flat tires allow for you to ditch the spare tire and getting rid of the extra weight improves mileage too. Another option are tires built with special inner liners, making them quieter when driving.
While the above list is a sampling of all the options tire-buyers have today, in March 2015, Goodyear introduced a concept tire at the Geneva International Car Show. Known as the BH-03 tire, its design lets it generate electricity for “all-electric” and hybrid cars. In addition, the show introduced a number of 2015 concept cars. To date the tires debuted by Goodyear in Geneva, have not been seen at any car shows in the United States. Currently, the biggest barrier to sales of all electric and hybrid cars is the limited distance they can travel on a charge. While charging stations are popping up all over Northern California, their distribution is spotty and parking lots have only one or two chargers. When gas-powered cars became popular they gave rise to a new industry – filling stations for drivers to use. There were days when an attendant filled your tank, checked your oil, and cleaned your windshield. Today, nearly all gas stations are self-serve and few have made accommodations for electric cars. But, with tires like the BH03, technology can help leapfrog the need for charging stations by generating electricity with your car’s tires. The concept is not that new. An article in Reddit in 2012 discussed using tires to collect electricity and transfer it to the car from underground electric cables. Of course, that would need massive and expensive infrastructure changes even on roads that have been recently laid or renovated.
How the BH-03 Tire Generates Electricity
Tires generate heat, heat is simply a form of energy that if collected, can be converted to electricity. According to Goodyear Tires, the BHO3 tires generate electricity in two ways: – The first – is by the action of certain materials in the tire that captures heat and transforms the heat energy into electricity as the tires roll and create friction. – The second – uses a new method for the tire’s construction. The tires have a layer of thermo-piezoelectric material which allows the BH03 tires to collect heat and while the car is stationary collects heat from hot asphalt and exposure to light making even more electricity. Because of the technologies used in making the tires, the treads are like no other tire you have ever seen!
Joe Zekoski, Goodyear’s senior vice president and chief technical officer said, “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. It is more important than ever for us to stay firmly rooted in our market-back innovation process, which calls on us to focus on, and anticipate, the rapidly evolving needs of our customers.” As of now, Goodyear Tires has not released many details about the BOH3 tires. Right now, Goodyear Tire is mum on how much energy the tires will produce, how the energy produced from the tires will get to the battery, when or if these concept tires will be available to the public and how much they will cost.
Triple Tube Tires
The Goodyear Tire Company also unveiled at the Geneva International Car Show 2015, another concept tire that the company calls the Triple Tube Tire. These tires have three internal tubes and an integrated pump. The reason for this tire is that it is adaptable to all kinds of road conditions and weathers, the concept tires have three settings:
- Eco/Safety is a setting that allows for maximum fuel economy and all three inner tubes are pumped up fully.
- Sport Mode reduces pressure on the onboard shoulder tube and allows for optimized handling in dry weather.
- Wet Traction is the last mode and allows for full inflation of the center tube and reduces the likelihood of the dangerous phenomena called hydroplaning.
Zekoski, speaking about both concept tires said: “These concept tires reimagine the role that tires may play in the future. We envision a future in which our products become more integrated with the vehicle and the consumer, more environmentally friendly and more versatile.”
Additional Resources related to this post: