If you were interested in the recent tyre concepts by Goodyear, which provided a rather radical energy generation via the tyres themselves, you’ll be pleased to see Goodyear are not the only tyre maker working on special tyre types for the EV and hybrid world.
A novel tyre that features different tread areas could point the way to how drivers can enjoy both sporty handling and efficiency for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) SUVs. To date, engineers have struggled to develop tyres that offer low rolling resistance to increase the car’s range whilst offering sharp, sporty dynamics expected by sports utility vehicle (SUV) drivers.
Debuting this month on Mitsubishi’s Concept XR-PHEV II small SUV, the outer third of Falken’s concept tyre comprises a primarily low rolling resistance slick surface with cleverly placed water dispersion grooves that help prevent hydroplaning and enhance wet road grip. To offer better grip under hard cornering, the inner third of the tyre features a curved (like a motorcycle) surface that comes in greater contact with the road when the car is being pushed harder. Matt Smith, Falken’s UK Director said,
“Consumers want to have the best range with a hybrid but aren’t prepared to sacrifice an ‘involving’ driving experience with sporting dynamics. A new type of tyre is needed and this concept highlights how Falken could help SUV drivers to achieve efficiency without sacrificing a sportier driving experience.”
No production date has been set for the hybrid tyre, but Falken believes bespoke tyre technology is the direction tyre design will progress. Smith adds,
“Tyres play a critical role in the way a vehicle drives and stops. Expect to see more bespoke tyres to extract the best all round performance for a car.”