Most people, even those who follow what is happening in the automotive industry, consider car tyres as an afterthought, at best. People think that the last advancement in tyre technology was putting air in them, but in reality the tyre industry is a very live one and pretty much all of the tyre manufacturers have serious and well-funded R&D departments which are constantly coming up with upgrades and advancements that make their tyres safer, more fuel efficient and greener.
As of recently (well, relatively recently), a number of major tyre manufacturers have come out with their future concepts and today, we will be talking about those.
Hankook and Bridgestone’s Airless Tyres
Hankook and Bridgestone are two major players in the car tyre industry and as you might have expected, their research and development teams are diligently working on solutions that will improve their tyres. Both these companies are, among other things, working on their individual concepts of airless tyres which have their apparent advantages, the most prominent of them being that they cannot be punctured and endanger the passengers in that way.
Hankook, for example, is working on a very interesting concept which will be called iFlex and whose design is enough to turn heads. One major feature of this tyre that might ensure its future is the fact that it can be mounted on existing vehicles without any troubles. Bridgestone people are also working on an airless tyre which will also be environmentally friendly thanks to smart use of new materials.
Michelin Green Tires Initiative
Michelin, another world renowned car tyre manufacturer has been pushing their Green Tire Initiative for more than five years already. As you might have guessed from the initiative’s name, it is all about making the tyres “greener” by making them more fuel efficient. They have already made their tyres 10% more fuel efficient and they show no signs of stopping.
You may not think this is very important but according to their president for Sustainable Development, Dr. Patrick Oliva, tyres and their properties make for 10% of world’s oil consumption. With their future tyres, they hope to reduce this percentage.
Goodyear’s Triple Tube and BHO3
Goodyear is definitely doing the most on this front, with not just one, but two completely different and extremely interesting concepts that are perhaps the most futuristic at the moment.
The first concept they are working on is called Triple Tube. This concept involves three independent “tubes” that can be inflated or deflated according to the needs and the road conditions. For example, if the car needs more grip, the tubes will be inflated in a certain way and if the driver requires more comfort, another setting would be employed. All in all, it is a very innovative and potentially very marketable concept.
They are also working on a concept that is supposed to make the electric car even more attractive than it is at the moment. Namely, their BHO3 concept is expected to actively produce electricity while driving, transforming the energy generated by the rolling of the tyre into electrical energy that would then fuel the battery. The science behind it is actually quite complex and we would probably be mangling it if we tried to explain it here.
When you start reading up on the various concepts and exploring them in more detail, it becomes quite obvious that the tyre industry is quite active when it comes to new technological solutions. If you want to find out even more about tyres and the future of tyres, you might want to check out this blog.