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21/05/2018
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Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance

 

The first Goodyear tire specifically designed for electric vehicles is a prototype now close to production: innovative tread design and high-load-carrying-construction to optimize performance. Expected on the market next year

Massimo Condolo

Minimizing emissions and dependence on fossil fuels are the driving forces behind the automotive industry's rapid transition to alternative drive systems such as hybrid or full-electric. The greater weight of battery-powered vehicles and the torque delivered by electric motors, higher and immediately available compared to traditional petrol or diesel engines, means that tires have different requirements too. The new EfficientGrip Performance with Electric Drive Technology unveiled by Goodyear at the Geneva Motor Show goes precisely in this direction. The result of a long collaboration with several top car manufacturers the new Efficientgrip introduces features designed to enhance electric vehicles performance.

 

Lower rolling resistance and stronger

All car makers have highlighted two main requirements: lower rolling resistance and greater mileage. The first pursues the age long battle against Energy waste: an electric motor’s high torque shouldn’t be dissipated in friction, with an obvious advantage in environmental terms, but also a very practical reason: basically, to date, no country can boast a highly developed electric recharging network, therefore the greatest possible mileage should be obtained out of each tire set, thus preventing the use of larger and heavier battery packs, which would in part frustrate the benefits of electric traction. Hence, with these principles in mind, the tread’s thinner sipes allow for a larger rubber contact patch on the road surface than traditional radial grooves. With more rubber on the road, the tire can better cope with high levels of torque while maintaining high performance in wet conditions, thanks to, not just the tread design but also to a new optimized compound. On the other hand, the need for greater durability stems from the greater weight of an electric vehicle, due to which - it is calculated – traditional tires can wear out up to 30% faster on electric vehicles. Therefore, the tire cavity shape of the EfficentGrip Performance has been optimized to support the additional vehicle weight from batteries while optimizing the footprint for higher performance.

 

Fighting rolling noise

Even though durability and lower rolling resistance remain the main targets behind the design, there is more to the EfficientGrip than meets the eye. Great care was shown to the battle against rolling noise, since at low speed the noise produced by the rolling tires can overwhelm that of an electric motor. The thin sipes are entrusted with preventing sound waves in the grooves thus reducing the noise level. The sidewall, instead, has been redesigned to reduce drag, while the lower profile reduced the rotating mass reducing consumption. The first EfficientGrip will be on the market in 2019.

 

 

 

Smart management systems

By 2030, the mileage driven by shared vehicles (car sharing, carpooling and other similar schemes) will be 25% of the total journeys, compared to 4% in 2015. Making the most of each vehicle will significantly increase their mileage; with it comes the need for a proactive maintenance system for each fleet. Hence, smart tires will be needed, able to supply an increasing amount of data to the algorithms used by fleet managers. Goodyear has the solution; a smart tire prototype able to collect data on tread-wear, temperature and pressure and, through a process that uses Goodyear proprietary algorithms, send all the information, in real time, to the fleet manager via mobile apps.

 

 

Green, smart and “visionary”

Oxygene is its name, and the reason for this is that among its tasks, this visionary prototype has been entrusted with “producing oxygen”. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 80% of people who live in urban areas are exposed to harmful emissions and pollution in general that exceed WHO’s limits.  Furthermore, if we consider that more than two-thirds of the world population is expected to live in cities by 2050, smarter, greener infrastructure and transport will be crucial. Oxygene features a non-pneumatic construction that is 3D-printed with rubber powder from recycled tires. Service issues are minimized as the prototype is more resistant to damages compared to traditional tires; in addition, its open structure guarantees excellent grip on wet roads. And it doesn’t end here: Oxygene, has a unique structure that features living moss growing within the sidewall. This open structure and the tire’s smart tread design absorb and circulate moisture and water from the road surface, allowing photosynthesis to occur and therefore releasing oxygen into the air; Oxygene harvests the energy generated during photosynthesis to power its embedded electronics, and a customizable light strip in the tire’s sidewall switches colours warning both road users and pedestrians of upcoming manoeuvres, such as lane changes or braking. The processing unit uses a visible light communications system, or LiFi, for high-capacity mobile connectivity allowing the vehicle to connect to the Internet of things, as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure data exchange. 

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