Despite the likes of auto giants Ford, BMW and Tesla releasing electric cars, the technology has yet to become mainstream.
And a major sticking point is the number of charging stations available.
Now Goodyear has created a concept tyre that could spell the end of these stations, and ultimately petrol cars, by charging the car as it drives.
Called BH023, the tyre concept is fitted with thermo-piezoelectric materials.
When parked, sunlight heats the tyre and this heat is transformed into electricity using the thermo-electric material.
The tyre has also been designed to be ‘ultra-black’ to absorb as much heat as possible.
When being driven, the friction between the tyre and the road as well as the ‘squeezing’ and movement of the piezoelectric material as it rolls generates a small electric voltage.
This electricity is captured and directed to the car’s battery to charge it as it moves.
‘This 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,’ explained Goodyear.
‘The materials used would optimise the tyre’s electricity generation capabilities as well as its rolling resistance.
‘As demand for electric cars grows, this technology has the potential to significantly contribute to the solution of future mobility challenges.
‘This visionary tyre technology could eliminate the vehicle-range anxiety motorists may have with electric cars.’
Goodyear also unveiled a second concept called ‘Triple Tube’.
This tyre features three internal tubes located beneath the tread near the inboard and outboard shoulders of the tyre, as well as the centre.
It 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 and modes include the Eco/Safety, Sporty and Wet Traction.
Eco/Safety offers maximum inflation in all three tubes and reduces rolling resistance.
The Sporty position, with reduced inflation in the inboard shoulder tube, gives drivers more control of the car.
When being driven, the friction between the tyre and the road as well as the ‘squeezing’ and movement of the piezoelectric material as it rolls generates a small electric voltage. Goodyear said the materials used would optimise the tyre’s electricity generation capabilities as well as its rolling resistance
While the Wet Traction position, with maximimum inflation in the centre tube, stops the car from aquaplaning thanks to a raised tread in the centre of the tyre.
There are no immediate plans to release these concepts but the tyre-maker said it predicts future cars will use the technology.
‘These concept tyres reimagine 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.’