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Economy

A tire that will charge your car?

August 13th, 2015
in:Economy
by:Itai Lahat
located in:Switzerland, Russia, USA, Japan
tags:electric cars, good year, high-tech tires

Slowly but surely, electric cars are carving their way up the transportation market. In 2014, electric cars sales have doubled globally, but that is far from making a dent on the market. The number one issue among people who consider to buy electric cars and don’t, is the range anxiety. May be tires will help solving that.

If you don’t have a hefty sum to spend on a Tesla that can offer you a 502 km range, you will have to deal with the fact that currently what the market has to offer in the affordable car category is limited mileage. At best a few dozen of miles on batteries.

The industry has been trying to tell urban drivers that they don’t need more. A typical daily driving range for city dwellers would not be a problem on current models like the Nissan Leaf that offers a range of 121 km on full charge.

But that’s not enough. Most people want the option to get out of town for the weekend and be able to drive a few hundred km without having to stop on the way for 4 hours of recharging. Some car manufacturers are trying to do better and solve that with bigger more efficient batteries. Chevrolet for example, just committed itself to the production of the Chevy Bolt, an EV that will be able to produce a driving range of 320 km on a full charge and will cost around 30k dollar. That’s the kind of thing the market is waiting for – an affordable electric vehicle that can give you the range you can feel safe with.

One of the most common technics in the EV world is a regenerative braking system. It uses the braking system to recover the kinetic energy when a car brakes and transforms it into electricity that is then used to recharge the battery. But what if somehow the energy of the tire would be used to magically summon more electric energy into the car? Could such a thing actually exist?

That’s exactly what Goodyear, the tire manufacturer, showed in the last Geneva auto show. Goodyear introduced last week an intriguing concept tire that would feed an electric car's batteries while rolling down the road. If such a concept will actually prove itself and go into manufacturing, it can create a serious boost to the range of EVs and solve for many the existing range anxiety.

The basic idea behind the BH03 concept tire is that it takes the heat generated while driving and transforms it into electrical energy that could be used to recharge a car's batteries. Details on the tire, which is constructed with a layer of thermo-piezoelectric material, are a bit vague. "This tire generates electricity through the action of materials in the tire that capture and transform the energy created by heat when it flexes as it rolls during normal driving conditions," Goodyear says.

The BH03 tire is also designed with ultra-black textured patches meant to absorb both light and heat. Sunlight warms up the tires on a parked electric car, adding to the heat that can be transformed into electric energy. While this tire may not reach the market anytime soon, they do give us a fascinating glimpse at the future of high-tech tires. We’ll just have to wait and see if this promise can be delivered.

Article written by:
Itai Lahat
Author
Current Map: Our coverage
Most people want the option to get out of town for the weekend and be able to drive a few hundred km without having to stop on the way for 4 hours of recharging.
Goodyear is working on a tire whose energy would be used to magically summon more electric energy into the car.
The BH03 Concept-tire.

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