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Goodyear developing tyres for EVs, autonomous

Admire my tyre: Goodyear is developing tyres, such as the BH-03, designed around reducing tyre noise and improved rolling resistance for use in future electric vehicles.

Challenges for Goodyear as it works to produce tyres for EVs and autonomous cars

4 Aug 2017

By TUNG NGUYEN in THAILAND

FOLLOWING the launch of its new premium SUV-specific tyre, Goodyear has already turned its attention to future modes of transport including rubber for electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous cars.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the EfficientGrip Performance (EGP) SUV tyre in Thailand this week, Goodyear Asia Pacific vice-president of product development, David Zanzig, revealed the unique challenges in developing tyres for the upcoming automotive trends.

“So the first thing that is important with electric vehicles is the distance that the vehicle can go, right, because of the battery charging,” he said.

“I think we’re in a great position based on some of the products we’ve developed for our fuel-efficient tyres … so with efficiency and driving distance, we think we’re in a good position.

“The other thing is that the engines is not going to be as noisy. So again, the noise factor of tyres is very important, so the technology we are developing in the EfficientGrip SUV tyre, can be applicable to electric vehicles.

“Now the third element that I think is the next challenge is the vehicle weight is going to be heavier with the battery, so we’re doing a lot of studies on the torque and the heavier loads of those vehicles, so that’s the area of research right now.”

The recently launched EGP SUV tyre makes use a newly developed QuietTred technology that reduces tyre noise thanks to the increased number of tread pitches, an optimised cavity shape and redesigned shoulders.

Goodyear Asia Pacific product director of consumer tyres Jenner Powell added that tyre noise suppression is critical in an EV, which produces little-to-no engine noise from its electric motors.

“A standard car, it’s about 30km/h when tyre noise becomes the dominant noise”, he said. “With electric vehicles it is 15km/h. So it is very, very important that we get noise down.

“And it is already moving in that direction with the EfficientGrip Performance.”

However, developing a tyre for an autonomous vehicle reveals a new set of hurdles to overcome, according to Mr Zanzig.

“With autonomous vehicles, of course we are doing a lot of studies there on what is the impact of the autonomous vehicle,” he said. “One thing that we believe is that there’s going to be more consistent driving, so there might be a shift in the balance of performance.

“The tyres might last a little bit longer there, but of course consistent stopping distance is going to be very important if you don’t have a human element there to be able to stop. So again the technology that we’re developing on stopping distance is very important.”

Mr Powell added that the autonomous tyre will need also need to be connected, able to relay important information including tread level, tyre wear, tyre pressure and temperature to a vehicle to make more informed decisions.

“Associated with electric vehicles are what you see as autonomous vehicles,” he said. “So that horizon is probably a bit further away, but today we already have to prepare and understand the requirements for those vehicles because what you will see is the autonomous vehicles will require more and more connected information.

“All the systems – navigation, maintenance, etc. – but also the tyre which is part of the maintenance. We need to look at how we put intelligence into the tyre to see how they can communicate with the systems in the vehicle.”

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