Goodyear unveils radical SUV concept tyre at Geneva Motor Show 2014
The new concept builds on Goodyear’s ongoing research into potential tyre technologies, and the company’s development of sustainable solutions for future applications.
The concept, which has not yet been named, is one of the highlights of Goodyear’s sleek, innovation-packed exhibition stand at the massively popular annual Swiss show. The 84th of its kind, the Geneva International Motor Show attracts major motor manufacturers, numerous automotive designers and all sorts of suppliers to the industry, not to mention hundreds of thousands of motoring journalists and car-crazy visitors from around the globe.
“At Goodyear we are always working to identify key opportunities for future development possibilities,” said Jean-Pierre Jeusette, Director General of Goodyear’s Innovation Center in Luxemburg (GICL). “We spend hundreds of hours discussing, analyzing, learning, designing and developing new ideas and concepts across our research and development facilities in both Europe and the United States. The result of this thinking is often moulded into tyre concepts that are then used to stimulate further developments.
“This SUV (sports utility vehicle) concept tyre provides the world with an example of our development process at Goodyear. It reflects the complexity of the tyre engineering process we go through to deliver new and innovative products to the market, today and in the future”.
Although the advanced SUV tyre is a pure concept, developed to be an inspirational and not a marketable product, its design aims to improve SUV efficiency without sacrificing capability and it has been fitted to Hyundai’s Intrado concept car. What’s more, it offers fresh ways to address rolling resistance and wet grip, both key criteria on the European tyre label.
Goodyear engineers took a radical approach with this concept, building on a standard SUV tyre with a large central groove which reduces the tyre’s physical contact with the road, thereby improving its overall rolling resistance. In essence, reduced rolling resistance means that car engines do not need to work as hard to push the tyre forward against the friction created by its contact with the ground. This, in turn, supports Goodyear’s ongoing efforts to enhance fuel efficiency and reduce vehicles’ carbon dioxide emissions. The central groove is also designed to evacuate large quantities of water and mud away from the tyre’s contact patch during wet conditions, which is a way to improve its overall grip on the wet surface.
Even more striking, the tyre is designed with two distinct rings, one for road use and for off-road traction. The outer ring comprises about two-thirds of the track width, its surface primarily slick but with cut-ins to move water and prevent hydroplaning. Different textured surfaces also enhance road grip. This outer ring makes contact with the road when the vehicle is on smooth pavement. The inner ring, with its smaller diameter, makes contact when the driving surface becomes soft, such as in mud or sand. Its more aggressive cut-ins and pebbly surfaces add traction.
As an extra benefit, this concept delivers a more lightweight product, which uses less rubber in production; the removal of a large patch of rubber from the tyre to create the groove means that its overall weight is reduced. Further features, built into the tyre, include Auto-Clean Hydrophobic textures, designed to expel mud and other solids from the tread, and advanced noise absorbing textures in the tread grooves, to reduce the noise the tyre makes when rolling over tar.
In addition, the concept tyre introduces an exciting potential mobility solution, with twin air chambers (one on each side) connected through a valve system, which allows the tyre to continue to roll even after a puncture in one of the chambers.
“Looking towards possible future solutions helps us to deliver many of the technologies of today,” explained Jeusette. “Concept tyres are an integral part of Goodyear’s development process. They help us to identify, design and deliver new technologies to improve road safety, driving comfort and sustainable solutions for our products.”