Marketing malarkey or genuine technological advance? Goodyear during the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show teased its EfficientGrip Performance with Electric Drive Technology (sic), a prototype tire for the growing electric vehicle market that will be on the road by 2019 in Europe as the diesel engine is dead and the gasoline engine is slowly dying because of regulations.
Goodyear claims testing reveals that traditional tires can wear out up to 30% faster on electric vehicles due to the powerful, instant torque from electric motors and the additional vehicle weight from heavy battery packs. Yes, but haven’t automakers and tire supplies already designed for this?
“The combination of increasing regulations to reduce emissions, the desire to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and rapid gains in battery technology is creating an ideal environment for electric vehicles,” claimed Chris Delaney, President of Goodyear Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We are working with automakers to introduce our Electric Drive Technology next year designed to address the unique performance requirements of this growing vehicle segment.”
In addition to tire durability requirements, automakers want enhanced rolling resistance on electric vehicles. Increasing range – of course – is a desire for consumers due to a scant electric recharging infrastructure. Quiet and comfort from tires is another consideration as, at low speeds, electric vehicles generate as little as half the amount of noise as traditional vehicles.
Electric Drive Technology
To address these challenges, the EfficientGrip Performance prototype with Electric Drive Technology offers these performance solutions:
- Extended Mileage from Tread Design: The tread’s thinner sipes (small channels) allow for a larger rubber contact patch on the road surface than traditional radial grooves. With more rubber on the road, the tire can better cope with high levels of torque while preserving high performance in wet conditions. The tread design also prevents sound waves from entering its grooves, reducing interior and exterior tire noise.
- High-Load-Carrying Construction: The tire cavity shape has been optimized to support the additional vehicle weight from batteries while maintaining an optimal tread footprint for high performance.
- Extended Driving Range: The material properties of the tread compound have been tuned for ultra-low rolling resistance to extend the vehicle range while coping with high levels of torque. In addition, the sidewall has been designed to reduce aerodynamic drag and the profile yields less rotating mass, resulting in reduced energy consumption.