GENEVA: Auto shows are places where people go to look for exciting new cars and new concepts.
Accessories makers, tuners and customisers often play second fiddle at such shows and given a cursory look before visitors move on to the next stand.
Tyres tend to fall into this category. But Goodyear's debut of two futuristic tyre concepts at the ongoing Geneva Motor Show are intriguing enough to warrant a closer look.
The BHO3 offers the possibility of charging the batteries of electric cars by transforming the heat generated by the rolling tyre into electrical energy. The Triple Tube is able to shape-shift; it contains three tubes that adjust tyre inflation pressure in response to changing road conditions, touting new levels of performance and versatility.
The BHO3 tyre generates electricity through the action of materials in the tyre that capture and transform the energy created by heat when it flexes as it rolls during normal driving conditions. The materials used would optimise the tyre's electricity generation capabilities as well as its rolling resistance.
Goodyear sees the tyre technology as being able to eliminate range anxiety motorists may have with electric cars.
On the other hand in the Triple Tube, three internal tubes within the tyre enable the tyre to switch between three positions to enahnce the driving dynamics. The tubes are located beneath the tread and near the inboard and outboard shoulders of the tyre as well as the centre. The tyre relies on an internal pump that moves air from the main air chamber to the three individual air chambers, or tubes. The tyre automatically adjusts – on its own – to three different positions based on road conditions:
> The Eco/Safety position – with maximum inflation in all three tubes – offers reduced rolling resistance.
> The Sporty position – with reduced inflation within the inboard shoulder tube – gives drivers dry handling through an optimised contact patch.
> The Wet Traction position – with maximised inflation in the centre tube – provides high aquaplaning resistance through a raised tread in the centre of the tyre.
"These concept tyres re-imagine the role that tyres may play in the future," said Joe Zekoski, Goodyear's senior vice president and chief technical officer. "We envision a future in which our products become more integrated with the vehicle and the consumer, more environmentally friendly and more versatile."