Goodyear is developing a KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) tyre for cars and motorcycles. The concept is simple – take the heat generated by the tyre as it is rolling down the road and convert it to energy. They have also figured out a way to capture the energy when a tyre deforms under load. The tyre company has mixed piezoelectric material into the compound and they also use an ultra-black compound to absorb as much heat as possible. They have also developed a heat absorbing tread pattern.
Dubbed the BH03, the idea was initially announced a few years ago and was shown at the Geneva Motor Show with an added piece of technology: “Triple Tube” – three inner tubes to allow 3 modes of travel. These are Eco, Sport and Wet Traction.
With Eco mode, all three tubes are inflated to their maximum pressure to provide a lower rolling resistance. When the tyre detects the driver pushing the vehicle towards its limits, Sport mode makes the inside tube deflate slightly to provide more grip. For Wet Traction mode, the tyre deflates the inside and outside tubes and maximises the pressure of the centre tube to help prevent aquaplaning.
All great technologies, however there are no plans to get it into production just yet, which is a pity because every idea like these two could help to reduce the carbon footprint of a vehicle and could combine to give a hybrid vehicle a trickle charge effect that for many short journeys could help reduce the fuel consumption.
I read an article this month that suggested that the market for these tyres would grow by 291% over the next four years – quite how they worked out that number is anyones guess as no industry player has any plans to get them out before at least 2025! As no tyres with this technology are available today, Goodyear or another manufacturer only has to sell three to meet that growth rate!