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2014 Geneva Motor Show

Among futuristic prototypes, new generation tires for multiple market segments and hi-tech applications, the Geneva Motor Show has highlighted a strong drive towards maximum efficiency, in all its forms

Rosa Ugento

The charm of an international event played on neutral ground with the presence of car manufacturers in close ranks and a flurry of previews, 105 inedited worldwide for a total of 146 debuts, and the 84th edition of the Geneva Motor Show is served. A few adjustments to accommodate the 250 exhibitors distributed as last year over 110 thousand square meters, and the automotive industry could mirror itself in the most glamorous event on the calendar. Leaving the difficult economic situation (which is penalizing the European automotive market) outside, room was made for research and innovation exhibited by more than 900 vehicles on display. The combination of technology and design ranging from the daily use to competitions, from luxury to safety and eco-sustainability in all possible variations on four wheels, testifies to the vitality  with which manufacturers respond to the demand for mobility that explores new horizons. A liveliness  shared by the tire industry , with a strong presence in Geneva that , like last year, has been able to count on a number of innovations.


EU label in the foreground

In the development of process and product, energetic efficiency is at the heart of all choices by the leading brands, with Bridgestone , Yokohama, Dunlop and Goodyear making it their standard. Moreover, as confirmed by a recent survey by the research firm Ipsos, the American producer, now that the EU label has become a primary feature, with 36% claiming to be influenced by it in deciding the purchase (and 53% of the dealers who use it as a selling point), the values ​​of rolling resistance, grip and braking in wet conditions, cannot help being a priority for research and development. Thus, competition for the best grading, already very hot in the touring segment, flares up in the SUV and crossover segment, being aware that, selling these at a convenient price today is more vital than ever before. And it spreads like wildfire to the sports segment, that on the one hand fears to be viewed as bringing up the rear in value and volumes, and on the other must meet the demands of manufacturers already looking at 2020, when CO2 emissions of new cars cannot exceed 95 g/km; and tire contribution in this will be crucial .


Electric lightness

And here is Goodyear boasting a B classification for  rolling resistance of its new EfficientGrip SUV , 215/50 R17 tyre, the first of its range, and adding an A for grip in wet conditions: it will equip the new Nissan Qashqai ; furthermore among the Eagle F1 Asymmetric Suv there’s a new BB classified tire.

And if aerodynamics plays an important role , Yokohama, which has presently set aside its prototype with thin radial side protrusions for improved air penetration , relies on lenticular appliques placed on the spokes of the wheel housing the BluEarth Ev - (shown as a variant of next-generation electric vehicles) . Confirming on the new summer tire BluEarth -A AE50 golf-ball-like grooves on the side walls . The result of  Bridgestone’s fluid dynamic studies for immediate applications on electric cars is the ‘ologic’ technology , short for ecology and Optimized logic: which, according to the Japanese manufacturer, combines the reduction of rolling resistance,  therefore fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, with the aerodynamic shape . It is the basic design of the new Ecopia EP500 : with an increased diameter and a narrower tread ( 155/70 R19 84Q ) , it equips the new full-electric BMW- i3. For lighter battery-powered vehicles, such as golf carts, whose gross weight can be around 400 kg , there is an evolution of the Airfree wheels . It is the next generation concept seen at last year’s show, bolstered by new thermoplastic resin spokes structure encased in a tread which, in addition to increased load capacity, includes the ability to run up to 60 km/h, wasting less fuel.


Concept: always to the fore

Prototype after prototype, Goodyear’s new idea for the next generation SUV caused much surprise. More than a futuristic tire, a hub of ideas in the form of a double print tire, not unlike two motorcycle tires side by side, as in the DualQ project developed as part of the EU research CityHush to reduce rolling noise, but with two air chambers interconnected by a series of valves, as an anti-puncture system. Then, to the tread pattern that presents a dense plot of grooves in a honeycomb pattern, the corresponding task of reducing rolling noise and self-cleaning from mud and pebbles. The advantages of the double print profile being its lightness (it uses less rubber), and improved braking in wet conditions as well as lower rolling resistance. To stay on the subject of SUVs and 4x4s, Apollo Vredestein has unveiled the new Apollo Apterra H / P and announced the expansion of the Vredestein Sportrac 5 series with a dozen new sizes for compact SUVs and crossovers. If expectations for the release of the new winter tire replacing the Snowtrac 3 ( launched way back in 2008) which should arrive in the summer, were disappointed, you could feast your eyes on the new Bridgestone Blizzak LM001 , Yokohama W*drive V905 and Continental Ts850 WinterContact P.  The German manufacturer also proposes ContiSportContact5 P, a wider range of  summer tires destined to sports and high-end sedans.


More efficient sporting range a must

Very active in this segment is Pirelli with its P Zero series , capable of doubling the mark of 380 approvals. Multiple versions resulting from a master design especially developed and expanded to a range  now extending from 17 " to 21" with a competition series from / 50 to / 25. Newly arrived, the customized P Zero  for the new Ferrari California T, Lamborghini Huracan and McLaren 650S . For the latter, a new asymmetric design of the P Zero Corsa , with an improved aerodynamically efficient side wall for guaranteed fuel savings. Striving for performance efficiency in various areas are also  Vredestein, with its Air Master, and a chip for intelligent tires by Goodyear/ Dunlop . The first is a pneumatic spoiler with variable geometry designed for the Porsche 911 Turbo : shown at urban pace, to avoid shocks over bumps, it swells at higher speed to optimize stability and aerodynamics. The second, developed in cooperation with Huf, can instantly send to the car control unit not only the pressure and temperature values, but also the acceleration data, thereby improving the Abs efficiency, for better grip and braking distance; housed inside the tire, the chip is less prone to damages than conventional Tpms sensors placed in the valve stem. Following is a brief overview of the main innovations on display at the Geneva Motor Show.


Addressed at SUVs, the new summer Apollo Apterra H / P is added to the All-terrain A / T (sizes 15 "to 17" with speed symbols ranging from R to S and T) and H / T (similar size with symbols S and T )  completing the series with strictly on-road models. According to the manufacturer, the casing withstands the loads of such models as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 and X5. With a multi-polymeric compound, a large knobby wheel with four longitudinal grooves on the tread, the brand new H / P will be offered on the market from April onwards in 9 sizes ranging from 16 "to 18" with speed ratings of H and V and EC label.


The EP500 is the newest member of Bridgestone’s low environmental impact range, Ecopia.  On its side are reported improvements in aerodynamics and rolling resistance thanks to the ologic technology that exploits narrow tread dimensions coupled to larger diameters. Intended to equip the BMW i3, is available in four sizes, 155/70 R19 84Q, 175/60 ​​R19 86Q, 155/60 R20 80Q and 175/55 R20 85Q, joined by two winter treads, the lamellar Blizzak Lm -500 ologic and the studless Blizzak Nv ologic.



Expected in autumn, the new Continental winter tire Ts850 WinterContact P is directed, with sizes ranging from 16 "to 20", to cars and SUVs of medium and high range. Compared to its predecessor, handling is improved by 5% on snow-covered roads and 2% in dry conditions. Essential in increasing grip in snowy conditions is the contribution of little rubber strips on the tread  and in the inner part of the grooves. The intermittent grooves in the middle part of the tread  benefits braking distances in dry and wet conditions, up to 5% shorter, as it is designed to increase braking force.


The makers’ latest innovation, the approved version of the Dunlop Sport Maxx Rt for the Mercedes Benz AMG Cla 45, that mounts tires  size 235/35 ZR19 91Y MO Xl, has to download the car’s 360 hp. The Dunlop Sport Maxx and Sport Maxx Race Rt tires equip other AMG cars, including the C63 AMG Black Series Coupe, the A45 AMG and the SLS AMG GT.


New sizes for the debut of the most advanced range of Goodyear tires, the Efficient-Grip Performance, destined for compact and midsized cars with wheel diameters from 14 "to 18". Equipped with Active Braking Control 3D grooves and technology, this tire can boast the BA  classification for most of its sizes. Also new is the size 215/50 R17 with the Efficient-Grip pattern for SUV, the first of its range to receive the BA marks, on the one hand thanks to the use of Goodyear’s Fuel-Saving Technology and, on the other the use of special traction resins compounds. 


The barrage of new releases by the  Bicocca firm is embodied by the 170 approvals of the Cinturato P7 and the 380 of the P Zero. Included are  the new P Zero MOExtended custom made tires for the new generations of Mercedes: A-Class, the CLA, the new C-Class, the flagship S-Class and the ML SUV. Furthermore, a new version of the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3  for the new McLaren 650S.


The latest creation of the Continental brand whose trademark has always been wet condition performance, the summer Uniroyal RAINSPORT 3 leaves for the first time it’s “V” shaped design on behalf of a new asymmetric pattern. Credited with lower noise levels and Shark Skin technology, namely an inner surface with longitudinal grooves crossed by small scales  to improve water drainage.


Vredestein new developments relies on increasing the number of sizes on a variety of summer designs: twenty more for the Ultrac Vorti, six for the Ultrac Vorti R, tires respectively dedicated to sports cars and SUVs, while at least a dozen new sizes have been added to the T-Trac 2 range for compact and medium-sized vehicles, all the way to the line 5 Sportrac dedicated to Suvs and Cuvs.


Ready to replace the 2 design, the new Yokohama BluEarth-A AE50 is credited with a better wet grip performance by over 13%, a reduction in fuel consumption and shorter braking distances in dry conditions by 3.3%, which is generally  expressed by the classification CA. Intended for medium-sized and compact vehicles, it boasts, according to the manufacturer, outstanding comfort features. Another preview, the winter W *Drive V905, coming out in autumn with a new compound and a lighter casing available in sizes ranging from 15 "to 18", replacing the V902 design.

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